What’s in Utah? It’s a fair question. Aside from Mormons and Mountains, it’s been hard for most NBA fans to identify what the state has to offer. But this year’s version of the Jazz is on the verge of adding one more tourist attraction to the list.
Admittedly, there hasn’t been much to celebrate in Salt Lake City recently. The Jazz haven’t made the playoffs since 2012, when they were quickly dismissed by the San Antonio Spurs. Since then Utah has been stockpiling talent. Only center Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward remain from the 2012 starting lineup.
Last year the Jazz were finding their way under head coach Tyron Corbin. Guards Trey Burke, Alec Burkes, and Gordon Hayward were the focus of the team’s offensive attack. But Utah amassed the worst record in the Western Conference, and Corbin was promptly swapped out for Quinn Snyder over the summer. Snyder brings a high-profile collegiate resume with him to Utah.
Snyder is the perfect choice to work with this team. His results as an assistant with the Atlanta Hawks show that he’s had success in turning around struggling franchises. Look for him to bring a motion offense that makes the most of his guard-laden lineup. Snyder gain accolades for developing players in Atlanta. He will look to do the same with rookie Dante Exum, the fifth selection in this year's draft.
Exum, a big gifted point guard from Australia, spent the summer playing in the FIBA World Cup of Basketball for his native country. This experience should help him hit the ground running. Cat-quick and 6’6”, Jazz fans can look for the young Aussie to develop into a force over the next few years. His potential, combined with the flashes shown by Burke as a rookie last year, show that the future is bright in Utah.
Burks is a dead-eye shooter, and Hayward is fast developing into one of the standout players in the league, as indicated by his selection for the U.S. National team tryouts.
There’s every reason to think that the playoffs will be returning to the Energy Solutions Arena in the near future.