The Utah Jazz are the most interesting team for fantasy heading into the 2022-23 NBA season. It is a team on the downswing with plenty of veteran players to trade and young players to develop. Not to mention a talented few players who are gonna get a huge usage rate boost. The tricky part is determining which players are which, who’s gonna thrive, and who’s not gonna get any playing time at all.
To determine playing time, looking back at the previous year to see how the coaching staff used different players is the way. Who got garbage time, how tight of a rotation was it, and how much time did the stars play? But this year’s iteration of the Jazz not only had massive roster turnover, but also a new coach at the helm in Will Hardy. The Jazz of last year were a competing team that preferred to play veterans over young players. The Jazz of 2022-23 will likely be a tanking team that plays the young players and resting veterans.
If you’re drafting anyone from the Jazz, stay away from established veterans such as Jordan Clarkson and Mike Conley. If the Jazz truly are rebuilding then they will choose to develop players instead of simply playing their best players. But which players will be developed and who’s gonna actually play for this team?
Collin Sexton is the central piece to the Jazz heading into the 2022-23 season. He’s under contract until 2026, is only 23 years old, and will have the ball in his hands a lot. However, a word of caution, stay far away from him in category leagues! Last season with the Cavalier,s he averaged 24% from three, 74% from the field with 3.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
Contrary to popular belief I think Udoka Azubuike is gonna start at the center position heading into the 2022 season. He only played in 17 games last season, but he’s one of the returning few young players from last year. I wouldn’t be surprised if he only played 20 minutes and was benched in favor of Walker Kessler, and he may even lose his starting job come the third week, but at least for the start of the year he’s absolutely worth a speculative buy.
For other speculative buys on the Jazz look towards their young guards: Stanley Johnson, Jared Butler, Saben Lee, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and even two-way player Johnny Juzang. I expect veterans such as Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson to be benched or traded at some point this season so that opens up minutes at the guard position. A few injuries occur and suddenly deep bench guys such as Lee or Johnson could receive opportunities. Think of last year’s OKC Thunder, when players such as Jeremiah Robinson-Earl or Olivier Sarr got opportunities because OKC’s center depth was poor and veterans like Mike Muscala and Derrick Favors were being rested.
The Utah Jazz are a very confusing team to predict this upcoming year. With a new coach and a new direction, this team is full of speculation and mystery. With that comes opportunity for you to succeed, grab late-round steals and win your fantasy league, though6.