After getting swept out of the playoffs by San Antonio in the first round, the Utah Jazz made some off-season moves that might give them a shot to go a little farther in the playoffs this coming season. The Jazz are certainly no threat to make a run at the Larry O'Brien trophy anytime soon, but they do have a solid nucleus of young players that can grow together and maybe some day turn into a contender.
The marquee move for the Jazz this summer was shipping out guard Devin Harris to Atlanta in return for forward Marvin Williams, who will slide in right away and start for Utah at small forward. Williams, the former 2 overall pick in 2005, never lived up to his billing and has had a so-so career thus far. Williams averaged 10 points and 5 rebounds a game for Atlanta last season.
Utah also acquired guard MoWilliamsfrom the L.A. Clippers in a four-team trade. Williams can play point guard and has a sweet stroke as he averaged 13 points a game with L.A., helping the Clippers get to the second round of the playoffs last spring. Williams has one year left on his current contract so this could be an audition of sorts for him.
In fact, eight players on the Jazz roster enter the final year of their contracts,includingthe team's best player, center Al Jefferson, who averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds a game. Forward Paul Millsap is another key player in the last season of his deal. Millsap averaged16 points and 8 rebounds for the Jazz.
Forward Enes Kanter is back for his second season and the Jazz still have high hopes for the 3 pick from the 2011 draft. Kanter had an underwhelming rookie season,averagingjust 4pointsand 4 rebounds in 13 minutes a game.
Utah added more shooting to the roster by inking free-agent guard Randy Foye to a one-year, 2.5 million deal. Utah already has young shooters in Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward but Foye adds some depth coming off the bench.
The Jazz signed Slam Dunk champ Jeremy Evans to a three-year deal worth 5.5 million and he will likely back up Williams at forward. The 6'-9" Evansaveragedonly 2 points and 2 rebounds in his second year with the Jazz but the team hopes that he can blossom.
The Jazz didn't have a first round pick in the NBA draft but they did have the 47th overall and with it took another shooter in Kevin Murphy out of Tennessee Tech.
Utah went 36-30 last season and earned the eighth and final playoff spot in the western conference in coach Tyrone Corbin's first full year. Expect the Jazz, with the new additions of veteran guards and the return of a solid front court, to certainly be fighting again for a playoff spot.