LOOK away Utah Jazz fans, bad news incoming. After months of speculation and buzz Gordon Hayward officially made his mind up that he would leave the Jazz and instead sign with the Boston Celtics. Hayward wasn’t the only free agent to flee the franchise with arguably their second best play George Hill opting to sign with the Sacramento Kings after the franchise traded for Ricky Rubio. So were exactly does this leave the Northwest division team moving forwards?

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This Really Hurts

MAKE no mistake, lose both Hayward and Hill fucking blows. Both of them were crucial parts in the Jazz recording their first 50+ win season and playoff series win since 2009-10, when Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams were the stars of the show. Without both of them it’s likely that playoff action won’t be repeated by Utah, especially after the growth other Western Conference teams have made this offseason. They have every right to be upset and hurt by the loss of two stars who bought into coach Snyder’s ‘make the extra pass’ system and starred as scorers when called upon. They will be sorely missed in Salt Lake City.

Where To Now For The Utah Jazz? 1Image from slamonline.com

But It’s Not THAT Bad

PENDING any other free agent moves so far, here is what the Utah line-up would look like come opening day 2017/18.

PG: Ricky Rubio, Dante Exum
SG: Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, Donovan Mitchell
SF: Joe Ingles, Joe Johnson
PF: Derrick Favors, Boris Diaw
C: Rudy Gobert, Jeff Withey

MOVING forward this isn’t a bad group of players to build around. Gobert has emerged as perhaps the best defensive big men in the league with other guards on the roster who have the ability to create their own offense. If Jimmy Butler, Paul George and Paul Millsap hadn’t taken their talents to the Western Conference this Utah team could potentially make the postseason still. It’s nowhere near as talented as the team that defeated the Clippers in a postseason series just a few months ago, but the majority of their core is till intact, with a high possibility that a few more relevant names join the franchise over the coming week or two of free agency.

The Next Step

DEVELOPMENT. This will be the key over the coming say 2/3 season for the Jazz. If they are able to build Donovan Mitchell and/or Dante Exum into a star along with their serviceable front court, plus Quin Snyder’s elite system then who knows, maybe Utah will still be ok. My eyes will be glued to both Rodeny Hood and Alec Burks, with the front court pair flirting with breakout potential for the better part of two years now. If one of them (or hopefully both) can find their feet in the NBA as an elite two way guard, which isn’t out of the question, then don’t be surprised if Utah remains relevant.

Where To Now For The Utah Jazz? 2Image from utah-newspapers.com

I read a very interesting fact about the Jazz recently. After the Lakers and the Knicks cratered to 60+ loss seasons in 2014-15, Utah remained the only franchise to never, EVER in their entire history suffer a season of 60 or more losses. They have only lost 50 or more games twice in the past 34 years as well. The morale of the story, Utah doesn’t lose for long periods of time, they will regroup, they will bounce they back. Regardless of the personnel at their disposal they find a way to grind it out and battle for relevance and respect and ultimately, they usually win that battle. Therefore, if you are a Jazz fan and you are reading this, be angry, be upset, be disappointed. But then brush it off, and suck it up. Utah doesn’t know any other way.

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