Reviewing the 2019-20 Utah Jazz

November 13th, 2020

by Alan Lu

The Utah Jazz’s current logo.
(Photo:
Utah Jazz/Sports Logo History)

The Utah Jazz have been a mid-tier playoff team that has perennially been stuck there for the past couple of seasons, and it seems to be versions of the same thing, every year.  They are a solid defensive team that are led by defensive ace and anchor, center Rudy Gobert, who is the two-time Defensive Player of the Year, and they are also led by superstar guard, Donovan Mitchell, who made his first All-Star team in 2020.

In the offseason, they had made a trade with Memphis to get Mike Conley, and in the middle of the season, the Jazz swung a trade with Cleveland to land Jordan Clarkson in a bid to bolster their offense.  However, the Jazz have struggled to get much scoring from their team, and while they shot the ball well this season, they ended up losing in 7 games to the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs after having won the first two games of the series.  With an early exit, the Jazz are now in their offseason, as they try to map out what would be the best moves and direction for their team moving forward.

Utah Jazz’s superstar guard Donovan Mitchell (pictured wearing #45 on the right) made his first NBA All-Star team in 2020.
(Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images, via TalkBasket.Net)

G Donovan Mitchell – A-

2020 (UTA): 69 GP, 24 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 4.3 APG, 45 FG%, 37 3PT%, 86 FT%, 34.3 MPG, 18.8 PER, 5.4 WS

Donovan Mitchell had a solid season with the Utah Jazz.  He made his first All-Star team, excelled as a shooter and scorer, and he also was active on the boards.  On the other hand, he will need to improve his defense.  He played really well in the playoffs, and Mitchell averaged a whopping 36.3 points per game in the 2020 playoffs while making over half of his field goals and threes, and roughly 95% of his free throws in the postseason.  It’s clear that Mitchell is the Jazz’s franchise player, and the tremendously athletic combo guard will be their superstar for years to come.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Franchise player/very good starter
Projected 2021 Rating: 3.5 stars (4 star potential)

Utah Jazz’s center, Rudy Gobert is one of the best defenders in the NBA, and he has helped his team consistently be a solid playoff team year in and year out.
(Photo:
Tyler Kaufman/AP, via Deseret News)

C Rudy Gobert – A-

2020 (UTA): 68 GP, 15.1 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 2.0 BPG, 1.5 APG, 69 FG%, 34.3 MPG, 21.7 PER, 10.7 WS

Rudy Gobert had a very good season with Utah, and he made his first All-Star team in the NBA in 2020.  He did just about everything well on the court, and he played his trademark stout defense.  While his team unfortunately came up short in the playoffs, Gobert is a very good player that has been the anchor for the Jazz, and will likely continue to do so next season.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Starting center on the Utah Jazz
Projected 2021 Rating: 3.5 stars

G Joe Ingles – B+

2020 (UTA): 72 GP, 9.8 PPG, 5.2 APG, 3.9 RPG, 44 FG%, 40 3PT%, 79 FT%, 29.7 MPG, 12.6 PER, 4.8 WS

Joe Ingles is an offensively skilled, point forward that excels at shooting and distributing the basketball.  He is a sharpshooter that excels at knocking down threes, and he also is a very good passer that led his team in assists.  While there’s nothing flashy about his game, Ingles has a knack for making shots and the right basketball plays, and he also is an above average defender.  He will need to improve his rebounding and he doesn’t really look to score that much, but his ability to consistently make plays has made him a valuable role player on the Jazz, and he will likely earn a lot of playing time with the Jazz for the upcoming season.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Starter/solid bench player
Projected 2021 Rating: 2.5 stars

F Royce O’Neale – B-

2020 (UTA): 71 GP, 6.3 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.5 APG, 43 FG%, 38 3PT%, 76 FT%, 28.9 MPG, 9.5 PER, 4.3 WS

He is a tough, physical swingman that plays a 3 and D role on the Utah Jazz.  Much like P.J. Tucker, O’Neale is a spot-up shooter that can guard multiple positions, and he has very good strength that allows him to defend interior players in a limited capacity.  While it’s not ideal to have a 6-4 power forward, O’Neale has defended very well for the Jazz.  He’s not really a scorer and he will need to be much more assertive on offense, but O’Neale has been a key contributor for his team, and will likely earn plenty of minutes on the Jazz in 2021.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Rotation player
Projected 2021 Rating: 2.5 stars

G Mike Conley – C+

2020 (UTA): 47 GP, 14.4 PPG, 4.4 APG, 3.2 RPG, 41 FG%, 38 3PT%, 83 FT%, 29 MPG, 14.1 PER, 2.5 WS

In the 2019 offseason, Mike Conley was acquired in a trade from Memphis, but the Utah Jazz had to part with four players, two of which were Jae Crowder and Kyle Korver, and they also traded a first round pick to get him.  In hindsight, the Jazz gave up way too much to get Conley.   Conley didn’t play nearly as well for Utah during the regular season, and he also missed time due to injuries.

During the regular season, it seemed as if Utah had trouble to find their stride with Conley.  Utah was 26-21 with Conley on the court, but they were a staggering 18-7 without him playing in games.  On the plus side, he played really well in the playoffs.  He and Joe Ingles didn’t play together much during the regular season, as they had brought Ingles off the bench.  In the playoffs, Bojan Bogdanovic was injured, so Conley and Ingles started together, and they found chemistry there.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Starter/solid bench player
Projected 2021 Rating: 2.5 stars

F Bojan Bogdanovic – C+

2020 (UTA): 63 GP, 20.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.1 APG, 45 FG%, 41 3PT%, 90 FT%, 33.1 MPG, 15.6 PER, 4.2 WS

Bojan Bogdanovic is a skilled, sharpshooting wing player that can shoot and score the basketball.  He did a very good job of knocking down shots for his team, but he will need to improve his rebounding and defense in the meantime.  He didn’t play in the Orlando bubble because he had a season-ending wrist surgery.  Still, he is a solid offensive player, and he will likely get a lot of playing time with the Jazz for the upcoming season.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Rotation player
Projected 2021 Rating: 2.5 stars

G Jordan Clarkson – B (B with both Cleveland and Utah)

2020 (TOT): 71 GP, 15.2 PPG, 45 FG%, 37 3PT%, 84 FT%, 24 MPG, 17.3 PER, 3.4 WS
2020 (CLE): 29 GP, 14.6 PPG, 44 FG%, 37 3PT%, 88 FT%, 23 MPG, 18.6 PER, 1.5 WS
2020 (UTA): 42 GP, 15.6 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.6 APG, 46 FG%, 37 3PT%, 78 FT%, 24.7 MPG, 16.5 PER, 1.9 WS

Jordan Clarkson did a good job of shooting and scoring the basketball, and he was a solid acquisition that was acquired in a midseason trade from Cleveland.  He will need to improve in the other facets of the game, but his scoring skills and athleticism will allow him to earn plenty of minutes on the Jazz next season.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Rotation player
Projected 2021 Rating: 2.5 stars

Side note: Will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2019-20 season.

C Tony Bradley – A-

2020 (UTA): 58 GP, 4.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 67 FG%, 11.4 MPG, 21.7 PER, 3.3 WS

Tony Bradley played very well off the bench for the Jazz this past season.  He finally received some extended playing time as a rotation player for his team, and he excelled as an inside scorer, rebounder, and interior defender for his team.  He didn’t get much run in the playoffs, but Bradley could be in line to see plenty of minutes in 2021.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Rotation player
Projected 2021 Rating: 2 stars (2.5 stars potential)

G Emmanuel Mudiay – B-

2020 (UTA): 54 GP, 7.3 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.1 APG, 46 FG%, 34 3PT%, 76 FT%, 15.7 MPG, 13 PER, 1 WS

He is an athletic combo guard that did a good job of scoring off the bench this year for the Jazz, and he also showed off some playmaking and rebounding skills.  On the other hand, he will need to improve his outside shot and cut down on turnovers, as well as on his defense.  Still, he had a fairly solid year, and he could end up being on an NBA team’s rotation in 2021.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Rotation player
Projected 2021 Rating: 2 stars (2.5 stars potential)

Side note: Will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2019-20 season.

F Georges Niang – C+

2020 (UTA): 66 GP, 5.9 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 0.7 APG, 44 FG%, 40 3PT%, 83 FT%, 14 MPG, 11.7 PER, 1.8 WS

Niang is a skilled combo forward that excelled at knocking down shots to space the floor for his team.  He especially did a good job of making threes to help his team on offense, but he will need to improve in the other facets of the game.  Most likely, he will fight for a spot in his team’s rotation next season.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Rotation player
Projected 2021 Rating: 2 stars

F Juwan Morgan – B

2020 (UTA): 21 GP, 1.7 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 58 FG%, 38 3PT%, 75 FT%, 6.4 MPG, 10.1 PER, 0.3 WS

Juwan Morgan was a rookie combo forward that projects into a 3 and D role in the NBA.  He excelled at knocking down shots, and he also is a capable defender.  He will need to continue to hone his game, but he could in line to get much more playing time in his second year in the NBA.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Fringe rotation player, backend roster player
Projected 2021 Rating: 1.5 stars (2 star potential)

Side note: Will be a restricted free agent at the end of the 2019-20 season.

F-C Ed Davis – C-

2020 (UTA): 28 GP, 1.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 48 FG%, 10.8 MPG, 9.5 PER, 0.6 WS

Ed Davis didn’t play very much this past season, but he excelled as a rebounder when he was on the floor, and he played some solid interior defense.  However, he didn’t make as many shots as he should have, nor play that much, and he just had an all-around disappointing season in 2020.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Fringe rotation player, backend roster
Projected 2021 Rating: 1.5 stars

G-F Miye Oni – C

2020 (UTA): 10 GP, 3.5 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 38 FG%, 37 3PT%, 80 FT%, 10.9 MPG, 9.7 PER, 0.1 WS

Miye Oni didn’t play much this past season, but he showed that he can knock down outside shots in limited minutes.  He will need to hone his overall game, but there’s hope that he can crack an NBA team’s rotation one day.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Fringe rotation player, backend roster player
Projected 2021 Rating: 1 stars (2 star potential)

G-F Jarrell Brantley (Two-Way) – D+

2020 (UTA): 9 GP, 2.7 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 1.2 APG, 36 FG%, 23 3PT%, 50 FT%, 10.7 MPG, 8 PER, 0 WS

He didn’t play that much this past season, but he showed that he can pass, rebound, and defend on the court.  Still, Brantley will need to significantly improve his shooting and scoring ability in games.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Depth swingman, fringe roster player
Projected 2021 Rating: 1 star (2 star potential)

G Nigel Williams-Goss – D

2020 (UTA): 10 GP, 1.4 PPG, 0.6 APG, 0.6 RPG, 31 FG%, 29 3PT%, 100 FT%, 5 MPG, 8.1 PER, 0 WS

A 2017 second round pick that was thought to be a potential sleeper pick back then, Williams-Goss just now came over to play in the NBA, but he didn’t play much nor play very well in his rookie season in 2020.  He did show off some passing skills in limited minutes.  If he ends up carving out a long career, he could project into a backup point guard role in this league.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Depth guard, fringe roster player
Projected 2021 Rating: 1 star (2 star potential)

G Rayjon Tucker – D

2020 (UTA): 20 GP, 3.1 PPG, 47 FG%, 18 3PT%, 93 FT%, 8.1 MPG, 9.7 PER, 0.2 WS

He is a 6-5 swingman that excelled at attacking the basket and was also a very good free throw shooter, but struggled to do much else well at the NBA level.  Next season, Tucker will try to latch on with Utah or another team in the NBA next season.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Depth swingman, fringe roster player
Projected 2021 Rating: 1 star (2 star potential)

Side note: Will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2019-20 season.

G Justin Wright-Foreman (Two-Way) – D

2020 (UTA): 4 GP, 4.8 PPG, 1.8 APG, 35 FG%, 20 3PT%, 75 FT%, 11.3 MPG, 8.8 PER, 0 WS

He is an agile, skilled combo guard that played in limited minutes for Utah this past season.  He didn’t play particularly well, but he was able to excel as a facilitator and rebounder in limited minutes.  Wright-Foreman will need to show that he can make shots at the NBA level, and he will need to show that he can effectively run the point to get more minutes on Utah’s team next season.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Depth guard, fringe roster player
Projected 2021 Rating: 1 star (2 star potential)

Utah Jazz’s head coach, Quin Snyder has been a solid NBA head coach, and has led his team to the playoffs in the last 4 seasons, including this one in 2020.
(Photo:
Chuck Cook/USA Today Sports, via SLC Dunk)

Head Coach:
Quin Snyder – B
2020 (UTA): 44-28, 3-4 in the playoffs
Head Coaching career: 271-211, 13-21 in his playoff career

Quin Snyder is a solid head coach that manages to get his teams to exceed their expected win totals in the regular season, and his teams have tended to be strong defensive teams over the years.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t had much playoff success though, and his teams have never gotten out of the second round in any season.  He will hope that will change next season, but there is a lot of competition out in the Western Conference.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Head coach of the Utah Jazz

Projected 2021 Rating: 2.5 stars

The 2020 Utah Jazz, season grade: B

The Utah Jazz won more games than expected out of them this season, and they were able to take the Denver Nuggets to seven games in the playoffs, but they still lost in their first round series, as they have had trouble getting far in the postseason.  Still, the Jazz generally excelled as a shooting and defensive team, but they will need more scoring from their other players to help Mitchell and Gobert out for next season.

The Utah Jazz’s Projected 2020-21 NBA Rotation

Projected Starters:
C Rudy Gobert
F Royce O’Neale
F Joe Ingles
G Donovan Mitchell
G Mike Conley

Key Reserves:
F Bojan Bogdanovic
G Jordan Clarkson* (UFA)
C Tony Bradley
F Georges Niang
G Emmanuel Mudiay* (UFA)

Others competing for a spot in the rotation next season:
The 23rd overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft
F Juwan Morgan* (RFA)

Other players that are currently projected to be on their next season’s roster:
C Ed Davis
G-F Miye Oni
G Nigel Williams-Goss
G Rayjon Tucker* (UFA)
G-F Jarrell Brantley (Two-Way)
G Justin Wright-Foreman  (Two-Way)

Players that will be Restricted Free Agents:
Juwan Morgan

Players that will be Unrestricted Free Agents:
Jordan Clarkson
Emmanuel Mudiay
Rayjon Tucker

Projected Players Cut from Next Season’s Roster:
Rayjon Tucker

2020 NBA Draft Picks:
#23

Projected Offseason Plan for the Jazz:

The Utah Jazz have been a mid-tier playoff team, and they will continue to build their team around their superstars, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.  They are a bit thin up front, and they are currently playing a 6-4 player (Royce O’Neale) at power forward, who played valiantly there, but is still vastly undersized to play that position.  Most likely, they will probably target a player in the draft that can play the four, but also shoot and defend well on the court. 

They have one pick in the 2020 draft, and the Jazz could use some size and athleticism at the power forward position to help further improve their defense, but it would also help if this player can also shoot and move the basketball in addition.  In case if they don’t re-sign Clarkson or Mudiay, they also could look to draft a point guard in this draft as well.  The Jazz are also capped out, so it would be expected that they would try to bring back most of their players, as well as sign undervalued players for the minimum.

Expected Regular-Season Record in 2021*: 40-32, 4th seed in the Western Conference

The 2021 Utah Jazz would be poised to play against the 5th seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the 2021 NBA playoffs.

Expected 2021 Season Outcome:  The Jazz will likely be a mid-tier playoff team out in the West, assuming that they keep most of their team together, but will likely end up losing early in the postseason in 2021. (* – The asterisk denotes that the expected regular season win total is adjusted for the 72-game schedule that the NBA will play for the 2020-21 season.  The initial projection for the Jazz was for them to get 46 wins in an 82-game season.  Also, the projected record does not take into account for the NBA draft or free agency, as those events have not happened yet.)

In case if you need the rubric for my player rating system of projecting NBA players for the 2020-21 season, here is the link. In addition, Basketball-Reference, RealGM, and Spotrac were vital information sites that I used to look at player and team statistics, as well as contract information.

Side note: Also, the letter grades attached to the player name was my grade for their 2019-20 season, as it is my judgment of their performance and whether or not they met or exceeded my expectations, and didn’t have much bearing on my projection of how they will perform for the 2020-21 NBA season.

Thank you for reading my grades and review of the 2019-20 Oklahoma City Thunder. There will be two important dates to keep track of. The 2020 NBA Draft will take place on November 18th, and free agency will begin on November 20th. Thanks for reading.

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