2009 Utah Jazz Over 51.5 Wins

This is going to be a put up or shut up type of year for the Utah Jazz whose window of opportunity may begin to close after this year. The Jazz have been light’s out on the home floor (37-4 in 2008) but indifferent on the road where their abysmal away play has cost them home court in the playoffs the past two years despite B2B Northwest Division titles.

Mehmet Okur (14.5, 7.7), Carlos Boozer (21.1, 10.4), Andre Kirilenko (11.0, 4.7, 4.7), Ronnie Brewer (12.0), and Deron Williams (18.8, 10.5) is without question the best starting five in the NBA. Okur is a soft rebounder but can step out and nail the three. Boozer is an elite power forward and AK47 a versatile lock down stopper at small forward. Brewer is athletic type best on the run and Williams one of the top three point guards in the league.   Williams will start the year with a gimpy ankle but is ably backed up by 11 year vet Brevin Knight who rocked a 4.5 assist/turnover ratio last year.

Other than Pao Gasol, Kyle Korver was the best pickup at the trade line last year. After picking up the spot up shooter from Creighton, the Jazz promptly went 18-1. The front court is deep with La Tech’s Paul Milsap backing up Boozer. Veteran Matt Harpering spots Kirilenko and the Jazz thought enough to match CJ Miles offer sheet from Oklahoma City. In the post, Kosta Koufas is an interesting rook out of Ohio State.

Jarron Collins in good for five minutes and six fouls.   On December 9th, Jerry Sloan will begin his 20th year with the Jazz. He’s not getting any younger and this will be his best shot to get a ring since Malone/Stockton.

The Jazz were able to lock up Deron Williams to a long term deal but Boozer, Okur, Kirilenko, and Korver can all test the waters at season’s end.   It’s really simple, the Jazz have to play defense on the road where they routinely give away games.

Last year’s 17-24 record with suitcase cost them the Western Conference’s precious to seed with it’s home court through the playoffs. If the Jazz find a sense of purpose, it’s difficult imaging this team not winning 60 games and contending for the NBA title. Play the over.

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