The offseason for the NBA has slowed substantially. For die-hard fans, there is still some free agents to sign and some USA basketball camp to watch, but the summer activity has cooled down substantially for the Utah Jazz. With that I have begun to think about what the key player rotations will be for the Jazz. Below I am going to take my shot at predicting Coach Ty’s rotation. I recognize that, according to Ty, my coaching experience in a rec league is not good enough to say what I think, but he isn’t going to come stop me.
The typical NBA teams has 14 – 15 players on the roster during the season. However, there are so many ways people look at lineups; some care about the starters, who is the first guy off the bench, who is getting starter minutes, and the list goes on. For me, I don’t care who the starters are. I care about who is playing the most.
Last year showed more than ever that the Jazz were in a tough situation with too many free agents and the young guns itching to prove themselves. Last year there were 12 players with an avg. minutes/game of 15 or more. Looking at the table below you can see that a team with an identity has 8 rotational players.
|# of players w/avg >15mins/game|
Based on this and my hope for the Jazz to gain an identity that will lead to being a contender, I am going to assume a complete rotation of 8 players.
Trey Burke – John Lucas III – Yet to be named PG
Most fans are not too interested in this player rotation as long as Trey Burke is getting starter minutes. I am not too far behind them, but I don’t want Burke playing too many minutes. Going from a college season of 30+ games to 82 is a big change and I prefer not to see Burke light it up early and burn out late. My hopes are that the PG yet to be named above is Mo Williams. Then Corbin can split the minutes a little more evenly. This would allow Burke to learn, Mo to beat up on the bench of other teams, and Corbin to have a warm fuzzy security blanket knowing there is another veteran on the team. As for Lucas? He will sit on the end of the bench just incase there is an injury or suspension.
Shooting Guard / Small Forward:
Alec Burks – Gordon Hayward – Brandon Rush – Marvin Williams – Richard Jefferson
Corbin haters are going to see this group of players and fear that Burks is going to lose some minutes. However, Marvin is injured and Jefferson doesn’t have the explosive moves that he used to be known for. This is going to be a three-player rotation for these two positions. The one coming off the bench will be considered the Jazz’s 6th man. I am very torn on this position. Based on the fact that Rush is coming into the season off of an injury, I think he will be the guy coming off the bench. The other thing that may throw a wrench in this three-man rotation is Mo Milliams. If he comes back to the Jazz there will be times he moves to the SG position with Burke running the point. Mo Williams resigning would take the Jazz to a 9 player rotation.
Either way, my prediction is a rotation of Hayward, Burks and Rush at this position. Hayward and Burks as starters with Rush off the bench until we see how good Rush’s conditioning is. If Rush is in good shape, may the best player win. I don’t care which one as long as the Jazz are improved.
Power Forward / Center:
Derrick Favors – Enes Kanter – Andris Biedrins – Rudy Gobert – Jeremy Evans
The starters in this group of players are obvious. Kanter and Favors will be starting, but how many minutes they play will be up to them. Favors loves to commit charges and fouls on the pick and roll defense. If he continues that trend he will not be playing as many minutes as we are hoping for. Also, what kind of shape is Enes Kanter in? I am not seeing the twitter photos of him working out anymore. (Jazz brass why did you silence your most entertaining player on twitter?) If he comes back to the team healthy and ready to go, these two big guys are going to wreak havoc. I keep envisioning Kanter in the post with the ball, passing it to Favors making a cut to the basket from the free throw line to throw it down for some poster worthy dunks. The 3rd guy in the rotation is Biedrins if he stays healthy. The remaining minutes will go to Gobert. However, I doubt Gobert or Evans will average over 10 mins/game.
As I put this rotation together I get pretty excited for the season and the opportunity the “young” guys have to prove themselves. What do you think Coach Corbin’s rotations will be?