[thanks to Peter for today's game preview. Rose and Gasol are game-time decisions. -yfbb]
The Utah Jazz are 5-9, with an average offense and an awful defense. The Jazz have a bunch of solid young players, but no stars, and they will stay mediocre in the West Conference until one of their young players makes a leap to All-Star level production. My bet is on Dante Exum...in 3 or 4 years.
Let's see how we match up (assuming Derrick does not play, Pau does, and Kirk stays in his ever-deepening well):
PG Trey Burke vs Aaron Brooks
Trey Burke is really bad at shooting. He is currently shooting 34% and last year he shot a scorching 38%. He is undersized and not very athletic but I think he will stick in the league...as a backup. Aaron Brooks is better.
SG Alec Burks vs Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler is basically what Alec Burks hopes he can eventually turn into. I don't think he will get there, especially to this 2014 version of Jimmy Butler, but Burks is a great athlete, a good driver, and a mediocre outside shooter. And holy crap if Jimmy stays this hot the Bulls unnecessarily lost $4-5 million of salary space for the next 4 years.
SF Gordon Hayward vs Mike Dunleavy
It seems Blogabull has come around on Mike Dunleavy, and I'm supportive. But Hayward is clearly better. In fact, he's been fantastic this season. He has a 22.5 PER. I saw him up close at the Las Vegas Team USA scrimmage this summer, he's noticeably bulked up. My guess is he took a break from League of Legends to lift weights.
PF Derrick Favors vs Pau Gasol
Favors is one of those guys who's sneaky huge. He's listed at 6'10, but he has a 7'4 wingspan. His standing reach is 9'2. He's a big guy and is one of the rare power forwards who is just as long as Pau. I think he will eventually move to center, as he's big enough and he doesn't have great shooting range. For the season, he brings a 22.8 PER with solid defense and rim protection.
C Enes Kanter vs Joakim Noah
I've never really been able to figure out Kanter. I'm pretty sure he should be a backup center. He's also huge and plays big as well, but he sucks at defense and I think he'd be much more effective going against opponent's second units rather than starting. The Jazz should start Favors at center and bench Kanter. They should look for trade opportunities for him too because...RUDY GOBERT. Rudy the Frenchman is 7'2, has a 7'8.5 wingspan, to create a standing reach of 9'7. That's tall, and he actually doesn't even suck. He's got a ton of potential and should play more minutes on a bad Utah team. His ceiling is much higher than Kanter's, and maybe even Favors'.
Dante Exum is sure to get some minutes, and while I haven't seen him play much, I like him because he's Australian and athletic and lengthy. I'm actually going to the game here in Utah, so I'm excited to judge him in person.
The Jazz are the rare team that can match up to the Bulls in terms of pure size, but with our newfound shooting we should be able to spread out their defense and rain threes. I'm predicting Mirotic continues his America takeover with Taj ruled out. As long as Brooks and Jimmy can penetrate and cause the defense to collapse, the Jazz will really struggle to recover and guard the 3-point line. If Derrick Rose plays, that process becomes much easier, but I'd be surprised if he does given there's another game tomorrow in Denver. No way they'd bring him back from a muscle injury and play him back-to-back, right? Right?! Fred's gone, RIGHT?!?!?!