As it is, the Utah Jazz They have twenty active players on their roster, which is the maximum an NBA team can carry during the holiday season. Within 10 days, the Jazz should trim that number down to the regular season cap of 15 slots, with two additional two-way contracts bouncing between the NBA and the J-League. Currently, Johnny Guozang stands as the only player in Utah in two directions, and given the unpredictability of two-way contracts, we will exclude these two locations from our forecasts. Further, we will divide the predictions into three categories: (1) lockouts, (2) in the bubble, and (3) we just missed the cut. I will present my logic to each player.
So, let’s take a look at the prediction for the Utah Jazz’s final roster for October 17th:
This group of players is almost on Utah’s roster by the time the season begins. Taking into account talent, contract states, and trade value, these are the players I consider to be fixable:
- Mike Conley: The market has closed in on a potential deal with Mike Conley this season for a long time. The 34-year-old has the perfect opportunity to help build a positive team culture and possibly play his part in a deal through the All-Star break. At this point, he will probably start at the guard post in Utah on day one.
- Colin Sexton: Sexton has a strong argument for standing as the player with the most potential on this Utah roster. At just 23 years old and coming off a knee injury, Sexton has had a lot to prove this season. However, it’s the closest Utah star to a potential star (at least for now).
- Lauri Markkanen: Like Colin Sexton, this upcoming season presents a perfect opportunity for Markkanen to prove why he deserves to be the seventh pick in the 2017 draft. Markkanen has the potential to be part of Utah’s next competing core, or at least part of a future trade.
- Jordan Clarkson: Similar to Conley, if a trade involving Jordan Clarkson had happened in the off-season, it would have already happened. The 30-year-old stands as one of the hottest Utah veterans and will definitely be a hot commodity on the trade deadline.
- Owner Beasley: Trying to trade the owner of Beasley at this point would simply be a poor trading decision on the part of Utah. Entering his eighth season, Beasley has a chance to correct the unpleasant image on the court and prove to the league that he is an influential player. I expect him to play a lot of minutes this season
- Jared Vanderbilt: This season, Vanderbilt has the potential to truly develop into an All-Defensive level player. During pre-season so far, Vanderbilt has shown his ability to influence many different aspects of the game and I believe he could be part of the core of the future Utah.
- Kelly Olinick: Just for the fact that the Jazz replaced Bojan Bogdanovic (their best asset at the time) for Olinick, I’d be shocked if he wasn’t on the shortlist. Olenik also provides strong veteran leadership and much-needed support at the center position.
- Walker Kessler: As one of Utah’s entry-level additions to the organization, it wouldn’t make sense to exclude Kessler from the shortlist. In addition, the rookie player has shown some promise with his first couple of pre-season games.
- Ochai Agbaji: Agbaji should be a staple on the list as the only lottery pick in a jazz team that isn’t looking to win a large number of games. I definitely hope he gets more playing time during the regular season.
After that long list of shutdowns, we only have 6 official list spots left. All players listed below have roughly equal statuses of being kept or separated from the team. But, given the current conditions on the roster, here are the final players I think would make the cut:
- Simone Fontecchio: Given Fontecchio’s great playing during the FIBA EuroBasket, I think it makes sense that Jazz would keep him on the list. Fontecchio will have to prove he can make the move to the NBA, but the guy can turn off the lights and that should help him make a place on the roster.
- Taleen Horton Tucker: After trading Patrick Beverly with Los Angeles Lakers For Horton Tucker, I expect the Jazz to take a flyer on it at least this season. THT has some amazing physical gadgets and has shown flashes during his three seasons in the league. In my opinion, it deserves a place on the list.
- Nickeil Alexander-Walker: Like THT, Alexander-Walker has physical tools that make him an interesting potential. In his final season with Utah, the NAW didn’t necessarily get a fair chance to show his skill set, but he should find an ample opportunity to prove his worth in the league this season. At the very least, it’s worth sticking with until the deadline.
- Rudy Gay: If it were up to me, I would have released the Gay to the Free Agency before bootcamp. Given his odd fit on this young roster and his unconvincing veteran leadership, I don’t see his value in the team. However, like Conley and Clarkson, if Jay had been bought or traded, it would have already happened. I expect Utah will keep him on the list hoping they can turn him over on the trade deadline.
- Leandro Bolmaro: In a team that can’t compete, shooting the ball for Polmaro makes sense. He has size and length and has shown an incredible ability to break paint from dribbling. For a player like Polmaro, the risk of keeping him on the roster is nothing, but the reward can be enormous if he develops well. Keep an eye on that quick shot of him.
- Udoka Azubuike: For the last place on the list, hardly check out Udoka Azubuike. Entering his third season, Azubuike’s NBA career is on the line. Due to injuries and stacked center rotations, Azubuike has failed to see much NBA action thus far. But since he was infamous in the first-round pick of Utah over the likes of Desmond Bean and Jaden McDaniels, I think the Jazz should give him one last look this season.
- Jared Butler: Putting Butler out of the round of 15 was a tough (and probably unpopular) choice. But to be perfectly honest, Butler didn’t give us much to get excited about. Excessive dribbling, resignations, and poor shooting defined Butler’s lackluster performance in the Summer League. Furthermore, at 6’3″ and 190 pounds, Butler doesn’t have many physical gadgets that could raise his ceiling as a player. If Jazz find a way to buy Rudy Gay, that spot will go to Butler. But for now, he’s a weird guy Outside.
- Sabine Lee: Listed on the Bojan Bogdanovich trade as a paycheck, Lee failed to make any progress on the Utah training camp roster. He couldn’t break the rotation in the Detroit youth roster and I don’t think he would do anything different here.
- Stanley Johnson: That was hard. I really enjoy Johnson’s game and I think he will benefit the Utah roster as a veteran. But unfortunately, I’m not sure where it fits. However, I see him as a potential black horse for a spot on the list.
- Cody Zeller: Like Johnson, Zeller can have a strong veteran presence in the organization. But since he’s on contract in Exhibit 9 and isn’t fully guaranteed, I find it hard to see him take a place on the roster from a younger player.
Who do you think missed the final registration on the Utah roster? Share your predictions in the comments below!