Tomorrow night kicks of the preseason for the Utah Jazz! They are immediately put to the test with the Golden State Warriors. I will try to highlight a few keys to the game.
The first thing we need to remember is it will be the first game that our "Core 5" will play together. There will be bumps for sure. The coaching staff is will want to see how they react to different situations, all while evaluating everyone they have on the roster. I do not envy the staff at all right now.
It will be interesting to see how much pick and roll is run and from what points on the floor. I believe the Jazz will try to push the ball and let their athletes make plays. Also look for the corner 3 from the Jazz. I noticed that they shot a number of them in the scrimmage and they all seemed to come in the context of the offense.
There are more than a few good match-ups here. Burke-Curry, Burks-Thompson, Hayward-Iguodala, Favors-Lee and Kanter-Bogut. In my opinion, the match-ups to watch will be Kanter-Bogut, Burks-Thompson and one that is not on the list, Jefferson-Barnes. I look for Kanter to try to play "bully ball' with Bogut, who is a solid defender. If Kanter can be efficient inside it could be a good night for the Jazz. Burks-Thompson match-up needs to be looked at from a defensive stand point. How does Alec do chasing Klay of screens all game long? This is one of the things that Alec has struggled with in the past. Klay has the green light, but if Alec is able to stay with him off the screen and contest shots we should be in good shape. Lastly, Richard Jefferson has a bit of a chip on his shoulder. He has been injured the last couple of seasons and wants to prove that he can still be an effective player in the league. Look for Jefferson to try to teach his young protege Barnes a thing or two.
This will be what the staff will evaluate the team and each player on the most. The Jazz have changed their philosophy some, now instead of forcing an offensive player to the middle, they will force the player to the sideline or baseline. Also, watch the bigs on the pick and roll. Do they hedge effectively and make Curry give the ball up? The Jazz rotations and 3 point contests will have to be solid. Golden State will put up any open 3 they get, transition or half court. So players will need to identify shooters early in transition. Lastly, the defensive boards. Are the wings crashing the boards helping Favors and Kanter out? Golden State is a good rebounding team and the Jazz will need a team effort here. Does Gordon get more than 3 boards? If he has a 5-6 board night I think the Jazz will have a chance.
Its an early measuring stick and a good one at that. I look forward to seeing if the Jazz are starting to put it together. The Jazz will need to play an efficient game, limit turnovers and win the battle of the boards if they look to come out on top in this one. Good luck and Go Jazz