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Scouting the Enemy: Utah Jazz

This is going to be weird.

NBA: 2019 NBA Awards Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Over the next several weeks, we’re going to be “scouting the enemy,” as we’ll be covering the outlook for the 29 other teams in the league ahead of the 2019-2020 season.

UTAH JAZZ

Chicago Bulls v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Former Grizzlies: Mike Conley, Ed Davis, Jeff Green.

Offseason in Review:

The Utah Jazz made several outstanding moves this summer to transition from a tough out to a Finals contender.

They kicked off their offseason by trading for Mike Conleywhich is bittersweet for every Memphis Grizzlies fan out there. Though the team lost some depth in the form of Jae Crowder and Kyle Korver — as well as a first-round pick in this year’s draft — Conley is a hand-in-glove fit with Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz. He takes some of the playmaking pressure off of Mitchell, while also serving as another outside weapon when playing off ball. In addition, he gives the Jazz another scoring punch when Mitchell has an off shooting night.

They followed up that strong trade with stellar free agency moves. They managed to sign Bojan Bogdanovic to a four-year, $73 million deal. The swingman shouldered the majority of the scoring and playmaking load when Victor Oladipo went down, helping the Pacers stay alive in the playoff race. His game fits as the perfect fourth man next to Mitchell, Conley, and Gobert, as he’s a great outside shooter that can put the ball on the floor and create.

The Jazz also did a tremendous job fixing their depleted depth. They signed Ed Davis, who’s one of the most underrated backup centers in basketball. They also signed Emmanuel Mudiay, who could be a great backup for Conley, as well as an eventual successor. Most Grizzlies fans will laugh, but the Jeff Green addition wasn’t terrible either. He’s a good multi-positional forward/big to have off the bench; there’s nothing wrong with him as the 9th or 10th guy on the roster.

Overall, the Utah Jazz had quite the offseason, which is huge as the Western Conference is even more of a bloodbath.


Team Outlook

Yes, the Utah Jazz made some awesome moves this summer. The question remains, was it enough?

Getting Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic was massive to this team — I’m geeking at the thought of Conley, Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Bogdanovic, and Gobert sharing the court together. However, are those moves ones that could really move the needle in the Western Conference?

The Los Angeles Lakers added Anthony Davis alongside LeBron James. The Los Angeles Clippers brought in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George without sacrificing Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, or Patrick Beverley. Houston basically swapped Chris Paul for a younger, better Russell Westbrook. Denver’s young core just got some valuable playoff experience. Could that experience and the underrated addition of Jerami Grant help this team take another leap? I don’t want to ever sleep on a team that has Steph Curry, Klay Thompson (eventually post injury), and Draymond Green either.

Utah’s moves raised this team’s ceiling, but after this wild offseason, will it even matter? They’re counting on Gobert no longer being a non-factor in the playoffs, bad breaks in the conference, and Mitchell to take a huge third-year leap to have a shot at coming out of the West alive.

I love the construction of this Utah team, and I would be happy to see Conley get a ring. Given the construction of this conference though, it’s hard to imagine it.

But hey, you never know. Maybe, Captain Clutch would be the final piece that helps Utah win their first ring.

Follow @sbngrizzlies for further “Scouting the Enemy” posts.