The NBA season is here. With that in mind, it is time to flip through the book on the 2012-13 season and to take a look at what the season might have in store — especially when it comes to the Magic. Be sure to look out for more of these team capsules and to check out all the blogs taking part in this year's NBA Blog Preview (don't worry, I will be linking to all of them in the next few weeks … months … this preview IS never-ending, afterall).
Last Year/This Year: 36-30/14-13
Magic Connection: None
The Previews: AllThatAmar/Salt City Hoops
The Utah Jazz always seem to be an anachronism. Jerry Sloan was the head coach for 20-plus year with the most job security in the history of NBA basketball. While coaches were fired left and right, he remained. His system, built on defense and that deadly pick and roll with John Stockton and Karl Malone lived on forever.
The Jazz have evolved… some. They have a new coach and actually did not run that many pick and rolls with Deron Williams at the point two years ago. Tyrone Corbin though has carried over that same kind of work ethic and commitment to detail that Sloan brought.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
But this is a different NBA. The stretch-4 is king and the game is about spreading the floor and hoisting up 3-pointers at record rates. That is not the Jazz though.
Utah is a bastion still for the traditional two post lineup. And when it comes to front lines, there still may not be a team as burly and as physical as Utah's. That is very much in the Jerry Sloan tradition.
Al Jefferson absolutely torched the Magic in the first meeting with his ability to score in the post and step out for that deadly mid-range jumper. There was often not a lot Nikola Vucevic could do to defend him. Paul Millsap has slid over to the three, but is capable of playing the four and, yes, stretching teh floor some with his shooting ability.
And Orlando did not even get to see Derrick Favors and his shot-blocking ability in the first matchup, something the team is sure to see in the second matchup. This is a big group and is a team you have to be ready to physically fight as these three players tend to show.
Of course, that does not mean the Jazz will get tot he Playoffs once again. Or get past the first round and start movign the franchise forward.
The questions of where this Jazz team is going have already arisen and we are sure to hear Paul Millsap rumors and possibly Al Jefferson rumors spring up as we get closer to the deadline.
Utah's success or failure will rest on the play of their guards — Mo Williams and Marvin Williams. And then it will come down to a young bench that has had plenty of ups and downs already this year.
The Jazz are tough enough and strong enough to defend and play against anybody. The question is whether they can score enough points and score consistently enough to get back to that level. Big questions indeed for a team that has really run the same type of game for several decades.
How the Magic Will Beat the Jazz: The most success Orlando had in the first matchup with Utah came when the team was able to get on the run and get things moving offensively. The Jazz are a very disciplined defensive team and will try to muddy up the game and make it a slow slog fest. They will not give up many fastbreak points. This means the Magic have to take advantage of any and every fast break opportunity. The start of any good fast break is a strong rebound. Not easy to do against a big front line like the one Utah has.
How the Jazz Will Beat the Magic: Glen Davis' absence will be a big one for the Magic. Davis had a solid game in Utah working to keep Jefferson and Millsap off the glass. I would suspect Utah will once again try to attack the paint and attack the offensive glass in this game. The big thing that ended up winning the game for the Jazz in the end was they were finally able to hit shots. Mo Williams' late 3-pointer was a back breaker and Al Jefferosn drained one right in front of Nikola Vucevic that just proved to be the backbreaker. The game really came down to who could make the better run of shots. So if Utah can keep the ball moving inside-out, the team could get the sweep in this series.