The Jazz’ future will be predicated on the development of young players like Trey Burke, Dante Exum, Enes Kanter and Rudy Gobert. Kanter is doing his best to develop a corner three but has only attempted three threepoint shots in his career to this point. If Kanter can establish himself as a legitimate threat to make shots from distance, it can go a long way towards opening up the Utah offense and making life easier for Hayward and Favors. Utah’s best hope for an offensive revival likely comes from young guards Burke and Exum. Burke struggled to finish shots as a rookie but is likely to improve in his second year in the league. The Jazz have high hopes for Exum, but he remains a mystery at 19 years old and is unlikely to contribute in a meaningful way this season. Overall, the Jazz are simply missing the key ingredient to a successful offense: a superstar. There are reasons to think Utah’s offense will improve, but until they can find a genuine All- Star talent to anchor the offense, the Jazz will continue to have difficulty scoring points. Outlook It’s probably going to be another difficult year to be a Jazz fan. The team made no significant upgrades to its roster, leaving a starting lineup of Burke, Alec Burks, Hayward, Kanter, and Favors. They spent the fifth overall draft pick on Dante Exum, a lottery Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE/Getty Images pick with a lot of upside but a long way to go before being ready for NBA action. Their top free-agent acquisition was three-point specialist Steve Novak. The reality is that the Utah front office has no intention of winning this season. Improvement is possible if a year of development for Burke, Kanter, and Favors ends up helping the team. However, the Jazz still lack an All-Star level player and have gone out of their way to avoid making free-agent bids for players who could help win games. Utah is the overall favorite to finish dead last in the Western Conference again. SPOTLIGHT: Enes Kanter It might have sounded familiar to Jazz fans when they selected Exum with the fifth overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft. Exum was a player hailed as having tremendous potential, but his lack of a track record made him a high-risk, high-reward pick. The same could have been said of Kanter when the Jazz selected him with the third overall pick in the 2011 draft. While Kanter had some experience playing for Fenerbahce in Turkey, he was unable to play college ball for Kentucky as the NCAA ruled him ineligible due to receiving benefits on Fenerbahce. That meant Kanter never got to show what he could do at the college level, making him a high-risk, high-reward pick, just like Exum. So far, Kanter hasn’t paid the Jazz off with the potential high reward. After two seasons as a part-time player off the bench, Kanter was a regular contributor for the first time last year. However, his offensive production wasn’t quite what Utah was looking for. Kanter made a respectable 49.1 percent of his field goal attempts but didn’t draw many fouls and didn’t shoot threes. The good news is that Kanter will be just 22 years old this season, his fourth in the League. It’s still likely that Kanter will take a step forward and improve as an overall big man. However, Kanter has a long way to go on both sides of the ball, and will need to start rewarding the Jazz for their faith in him very soon if he wants to remain a significant rotation player.
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