Last year the Jazz hit a few wrong notes down the stretch of an injury plagued season that ended in a fourth straight season without a playoff berth.
That won’t be the case this season.
With three proven veterans added to the promising young roster, Utah is weathering the NBA storm better than their local snow plows weather the Greatest Snow on earth.
George Hill is the leading scorer for the Jazz in Hayward’s absence at 20 PPG. Boris Diaw is thriving with his fellow French native Rudy Gobert. Joe Johnson is proving to be the long range sniper the Jazz need as he is leading the team at 52% from beyond the arc.
Hayward has missed the first six games due to a fractured finger. Derrick Favors is playing the lowest minutes of any starter due to injuries of his own. Injury reserve regular Alec Burks just underwent ankle surgery and is out indefinitely.
The Jazz have started the season at a 3-3 clip by beating San Antonio on the road for the first time since Jerry Sloan was coach, spoiling Dirk’s return to the Dallas lineup, and beating a Laker team coached by young basketball Jedi Luke who was a big reason the Warriors won a record 73 games last season.
The Jazz will keep having rough spots as always, but it is the veteran leadership that will get this team into the playoffs this year. With older players teaching the young bloods how to hit the right notes, this might just be a recital that won’t require ear plugs.