2018-19 Season Preview: Utah Jazz

Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell was last year's Slam Dunk champion, but will not be defending his crown.

Coach: Quin Snyder (entering his fifth season, 177-151, .540).

Last Season: 48-34, lost in second round of playoffs to Houston, 4-1.

Key Returnees: Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Ricky Rubio, Joe Ingles, Dante Exum, Derrick Favors, Jae Crowder, Thabo Sefolosha, Raul Neto, Alec Burks.

Key Additions: Grayson Allen (rookie, Duke).

Key Losses: Jonas Jerebko (Golden State), David Stockton (free agent).

Outlook: The Jazz lost their best overall player, Gordon Hayward, to Boston via free agency last summer… yet, as was the case with the Indiana Pacers after losing franchise player Paul George, actually got better. Thanks to the emergence of stud rookie Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz put together a solid regular season with 48 wins, knocked the Oklahoma City Thunder out of the playoffs and had a rough-and-tumble second-round series with Houston before bowing out in five hard-fought games. Utah didn’t do much in terms of change in the offseason, choosing to build around Mitchell, defensive stalwart Rudy Gobert in the middle and Ricky Rubio at the point. Supported by the likes of guys such as Joe Ingles and Jae Crowder, both of whom thrive in Quin Snyder’s system, the Jazz look solid. They resigned point guard Dante Exum (3 years, $33 million) and forward Derrick Favors (2 years, $36 million), the longest-tenured member of the team at age 27, to contracts bigger than most expected they would receive in what was definitely a soft market for free agents this offseason. Utah grabbed shooting guard Grayson Allen out of Duke with the 21st overall selection in the draft, whose game is similar to Ingles’ in terms of his ability to shoot from long distance. The best chance for the Jazz to improve this season comes internally, specifically, keeping their key guys healthy, to give rising star Mitchell the help and support he needs.