Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
The race to win the Western Conference could be between the Thunder, Spurs and Lakers. But in the future, the Jazz might reign supreme in the west, according to Utah Jazz 360.
Forget contending in the west. The Jazz might be the team to beat before too long, according to Utah Jazz 360. In August, the Jazz ranked No. 4 in the future power rankings.
Recently hired Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey wasn't too sure about the rankings.
"We are a long way from No. 4 right now," Lindsey told Utah Jazz 360. "I can understand on the future ratings why there's reason to be optimistic — with the cap flexibility Kevin has created and the young players that we do have — but cap room doesn't win you games. Young players, almost by definition, don't win you games."
Factors such as injuries, cap rules and changes with luxury taxes can almost instantly change a team's future, according to Utah Jazz 360. However, the Future Power Rankings called for the Indiana Pacers to rise long before the team finished with the third-best record in the Eastern Conference last season.
Mo Williams, Marvin Williams, Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are the best players on the Jazz, but none are superstars, according to Utah Jazz 360. But third-year big man Derek Favors and third-year wing Gordon Hayward are coming off of good sophomore seasons and second-year players Alec Burks have a lot of potential.
Of the five categories used in the Future Power Rankings, "players" account for 50 percent of a team's score. And there are some talented players in Utah, especially big men, according to SLC Dunk.
Enes Kanter, Jefferson, Favors, Millsap and Jeremy Evans call all block and change opposing player' shots, according to SLC Dunk. But the big men can do more than just block, they can control the glass too. The Jazz are outrebounding opposing teams by an average of 47.83 to 40.17. So far this preseason, Millsap is averaging 7.5 rebounds per game, Kanter is averaging 9.5, Jefferson is averaging 5.8, Favors is averaging 4.4 and Evans is averaging 1.3. Those numbers are all with limited minutes as well.
Other teams don't have enough size to deal with the Jazz, according to SLC Dunk. All-Star big men such as Amare Stoudemire, Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Love are all suffering from injuries one week before the beginning of the regular season. But Utah's big men are currently healthy and ready to go.
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