Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Jazz trying to go from plucky to powerful

Memphis Grizzlies v Indiana Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 17: Bojan Bogdanovic #44 of the Indiana Pacersis defended by Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on October 17, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Getty Images

NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman is grading every team’s offseason based on where the team stands now relative to its position entering the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team is in similar standing, with notches up or down from there.

The Jazz have been repeatedly underestimated.

They topped their preseason over-under each of the last three seasons. They also won two playoff series as underdogs in that span.

But they’re tired of exceeding low expectations.

They’re ready to meet high expectations.

In a wide-open Western Conference, Utah pushed forward with a rare double dip of quality veterans. The Jazz traded for Mike Conley and signed Bojan Bogdanovic – showing clear emphasis on the present.

Conley, 31, posted 8.0 win shares for the Grizzlies last season. Bogdanovic, 30, posted 6.8 win shares for the Pacers last season.

This was just the third time a team in the same offseason acquired two 30+ players who each posted so many win shares the prior season. In 2003, the Lakers signed Karl Malone and Gary Payton. The Nets also added Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan this summer.

Most teams either can’t acquire that level of production and/or care more about youth. Utah wanted to make its move now and had the means to do so.

Conley and Bogdanovic should make the Jazz more dynamic offensively while allowing them to maintain their defensive identity. The scoring burden on Donovan Mitchell should be more tolerable. Utah is now a trendy pick to have the West’s best record.

The additions came at a cost, though.

The Jazz sent the Grizzlies the No. 23 pick, a future first-rounder, Jae Crowder, Grayson Allen and Kyle Korver for Conley. Utah also effectively let Ricky Rubio walk in the upgrade at point guard.

Bogdanovic got a lucrative four years, $73 million contract from the Jazz. To clear the cap room, Utah traded Derrick Favors to the Pelicans for two second-rounders.

But there were diminishing returns with Favors and Rudy Gobert, anyway. Plus, Ed Davis (two years, room exception) brings excellent value as Favors’ replacement.

Jeff Green (one year, minimum) is another value signing who should contribute in the rotation. No. 58 pick Miye Oni looks like a potential steal.

Emmanuel Mudiay (one year, minimum) was a more interesting addition. Perhaps, the Jazz can rehab his value.

Utah wants to remain similar – developing players, playing hard, playing together. Conley and Bogdanovic fit that vision.

Mitchell (No. 8 on our list of top 50 players in 5 years) and Gobert (No. 32 on our list of top 50 players in 5 years) had the Jazz ascending regardless. But the Warriors’ decline opens an opportunity now. The Jazz gave themselves a better chance of becoming elite more quickly.

Offseason grade: B+