Projected starting lineup: Utah Jazz
Point Guard: Colin Sexton
Shooting Guard: Jordan Clarkson
Small Forward: Lauri Markkanen
Power Forward: John Collins
Center: Walker Kessler
At this point last summer, the Utah Jazz looked as though they were going to be one of the worst teams in the NBA for the foreseeable future. After all, they had traded their two best players, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, and it appeared as though they were gearing up to tank for the number one pick in the draft.
Instead, the Jazz exceeded expectations and even finished within five games of the play-in tournament, even after trading away several rotation players at the deadline. While they didn’t make many moves this summer, they should be even better this season.
They have an offense-first backcourt featuring Collin Sexton and Jordan Clarkson. While neither are typical playmakers, their ability to score is nonetheless useful. Markkanen is coming off a breakout season and is clearly their best player heading into this season. Meanwhile, John Collins came over from Atlanta and is expected to start. He’s known as a stretch four who is also an explosive athlete.
The Jazz acquired him for surprisingly little, though he isn’t the same player he was when he earned his massive contract, so he’s definitely a flyer. Rounding out the starting five is Walker Kessler, who had a surprisingly strong rookie season, even finishing 4th in the NBA in blocked shots.
Kessler’s rim protection proved to be a solid replacement for what Gobert brought to the table. Ultimately, while the Jazz have a talented starting lineup, they may have a tough time making the playoffs this season.