2017-18 Record: 48-34 (fifth in the Western Conference)
Players Added: Grayson Allen (draft), Jairus Lyles (free agency), Naz Mitrou-Long (free agency)
Players Lost: Jonas Jerebko (waivers), David Stockton (waivers)
Projected Team MVP: Rudy Gobert
A few months from now, this could look silly if Donovan Mitchell makes the leap to uber-elite status. For now, though, Rudy Gobert is the best player on the Utah Jazz roster and, to take things a step further, is clearly the most indispensable. Yes, Mitchell will lead the team in scoring and carry the heaviest offensive workload, but Gobert almost single-handedly bolsters one of the league’s best defenses and there is immense value in that.
Gobert is on the very short list of best defensive players in the league and, even if there are potential weaknesses for him on that end during a playoff series against an elite team, his regular season impact is off-the-charts. That baseline brings immense value but, on the offensive end, it isn’t as if Gobert is a zero. He is incredibly efficient (65.7 percent true shooting last season) and, while Gobert doesn’t space the floor as a shooter, he brings vertical gravity as a dynamic lob threat that can’t be left uncovered.
For Utah to reach its ultimate ceiling in the future, Mitchell needs to be “the guy” but Gobert is the team’s centerpiece at the moment and the Jazz are very good.