The bottom line following an offseason that saw the Utah Jazz roster undergo significant change is how those changes will affect the team’s overall record over the course of the 82-game regular season, and whether or not that record will be good enough to qualify them for the playoffs again.
Of course, there are a number of factors at play when determining whether a team will win or lose. Some of those factors, such as whether a given game is at home or on the road, can be easier to project before the regular season begins, while others, such as potential injury at a given time of the year, are impossible.
Here is a month-by-month breakdown of the Jazz’s 2017-2018 season, including factors that could contribute to wins and losses.
Graphic by Aaron Thorup, Deseret News
October: 7 games (4 home, 3 away)
Utah’s first seven games will all be played against Western Conference foes, with just two coming against teams that made the playoffs a year ago. The Jazz will play in two sets of back-to-back games, with neither of them being two straight home games.
November: 15 games (9 home, 6 away)
This month will be one of big swings, as the Jazz will have a four-game homestand from November 7-13, followed immediately by a four-game road trip, which is immediately followed by another three-game home stretch. That last trio of games at Vivint Arena will be the final time until February that Utah has more than two consecutive games at home. It will have four such road trips in that span.
December: 15 games (6 home, 9 away)
The final month before the calendar moves to 2018 looks to be a tough one for the Jazz, particularly the last half of it. December 15 will be Utah’s first reunion with departed All-Star Gordon Hayward in Boston, followed by a date with LeBron James in Cleveland the next night and games in Houston and Oklahoma City in the four days after that (the Jazz and Thunder will play three times total in December).
The very next night after the Dec. 20 game in Oklahoma City (which caps a whopper six-game road trip), Utah will play San Antonio at home. The Thunder will be in town on the 23rd, followed by back-to-back road games at Denver and Golden State and a home game against the Cavaliers. In all, the Jazz will play three back-to-back sets in December.
January: 13 games (5 home, 8 away)
Utah will open the new year with a home game against New Orleans, followed by another road trip, this one a four-gamer. The Jazz will have another three-game road trip near the end of the month and then finish things off with a home game against the Warriors.
At that point, Utah will have played 50 games, with 24 having come at home and 26 on the road. The Jazz will play just one back-to-back set in January, with both games being at home (New York Knicks, L.A. Clippers).
February: 11 games (6 home, 5 away)
All-Star break will take up a week-and-a-half of February. Before that, Utah will play five games on the road and three at home in the month, including a four-game road trip. February ends with three home games against Western Conference teams (Portland, Dallas and Houston). The Jazz will play two back-to-back sets in the month, with neither being home-and-home.
March: 15 games (8 home, 7 away)
In the last full month of the regular season, Utah will finally play more at home than on the road. The middle seven games will feature a four-game homestand followed by a three-game road trip. Immediately following that trip, Hayward will return to Vivint Arena for the first time on March 28. The Jazz will play two back-to-back sets in March, with neither being home-and-home.
April: 6 games (3 home, 3 away)
Utah’s push for the playoff seeding will begin in earnest in March, but April’s games will likely have significant importance. Minnesota (road game April 1) is expected to be much improved over last season, and two home games against the Clippers and Warriors will likely prove to be challenges as well.
After the Golden State game, the season finale is the second leg of a back-to-back on the road against Portland, which leaves two games against the Los Angeles Lakers (one home, one road) as the ones at this point the Jazz are most likely to win down the stretch.