Jazz Training Camp Starts This Week
September 22, 2009 -
First of all, Hallelujah! We’re finally just a few days away from Jazz basketball. Is it just me, or did this summer seem to last forever? (That last sentence sounded suspiciously like a Bryan Adams song.) I guess getting knocked out in the first round of the playoffs does actually make the offseason longer.
Barring a surprise eleventh-hour deal, the Jazz will begin training camp this weekend with essentially the same roster they finished with last season. I don’t know anyone who expected that to happen. If we want to get technical, the Jazz did make a few trivial changes. They drafted Eric Maynor and Goran Suton, but neither should see significant playing time this year (and Suton may not even make the roster). They also elected not to bring back Morris Almond, Brevin Knight, or Jarron Collins from last year’s squad. Still, these moves amount to the equivalent of replacing the floor mats rather than overhauling the engine. I was at least hoping for some new custom rims.
The pessimist in me is frustrated and concerned that the Jazz did nothing to address obvious deficiencies like their lack of interior defense and outside shooting. I also worry about the impact Carlos Boozer’s unanticipated return will have on team chemistry. That said, there is cause to be optimistic as well:
• Deron Williams is arguably the best PG in the league and will be vying for his first all-star invitation
• The much-maligned Boozer will be highly motivated to perform in a contract year
• Kosta Koufos is poised for a big improvement after showing promise as a rookie
• Paul Millsap will be out to prove he is worthy of his new contract
• CJ Miles is rumored to have worked extremely hard in the offseason and may finally be ready for a breakout year
• Kyle Korver is healthy after wrist surgery and may show the deadly shooting touch we know he is capable of
• Memo and AK both opted out of international play to rest and prepare for the season
Just a sec while I remove my rose-colored glasses…
The Jazz could easily once again find themselves fighting for the final playoff spot in the West this season. Conversely, if everything falls into place they could push the Lakers and Spurs for the top record in the conference. I’ll reserve my official prediction until after training camp. At this point, I’m just ready for the season…come what may.