2022-23 Kia Season Preview

2022-23 Season Preview: Utah Jazz

After parting ways with franchise cornerstones Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, Utah moves to a rebuilding stage in 2022-23.

Jarred Vanderbilt (right) and Malik Beasley are 2 of the many new faces in Salt Lake City this season.

Utah Jazz CEO Danny Ainge offered biting criticism about the team’s 2021-22 campaign that began with a respectable regular-season finish (49-33, fifth in the Western Conference) and ended with a first-round loss to Dallas. “What I saw during the season was a group of players that didn’t believe in each other,” he said in early September.

And when Quin Snyder voluntarily stepped down as coach after eight seasons that entailed three playoff exits (both in the first and second rounds), Ainge and Utah GM Justin Zanik began the process of tearing down the franchise’s foundation entirely. The Jazz hired Will Hardy, a respected former Boston Celtics assistant coach to oversee a rebuilding project. And after Utah traded Royce O’Neale to Brooklyn for a 2023 first-round pick, the Jazz then spent the remainder of the offseason parting ways with their two franchise cornerstones — Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell.

In a move that arguably set the market for any blockbuster deal of the 2022 offseason, Utah dealt its three-time All-Star and three-time Kia Defensive Player of the Year center Gobert to Minnesota for a handful of rotation players (Jarred Vanderbilt, Walker Kessler, Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley) and four future first-round picks. After sending Beverley to the Los Angeles Lakers for two young role players (Talen Horton-Tucker, Stanley Johnson), the Jazz canvassed the league in hopes of extracting maximum value for Mitchell.

The All-Star guard Mitchell was sent to Cleveland in a sign-and-trade deal with young and dynamic point guard Collin Sexton, two rotation players (Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji), three unprotected first-round picks and two future pick swaps (2026, 2028). And less than a week before training camp began, the Jazz then traded veteran forward Bojan Bogdanović to Detroit for Kelly Olynk and Saben Lee.


Are the Jazz done overhauling their roster? Never discount Ainge’s opportunistic nature. Just like during his time as a Celtics executive, Ainge currently wants to collect as many assets as possible for a successful rebuild. Short-term, Utah’s remaining veterans (Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson and Rudy Gay) are all serviceable. Long term, any combination of those players could be part of future deals. Should that happen, it appears uncertain whether the Jazz would make those moves before training camp, leading into the trade deadline or next summer.


Utah won’t measure its success this season by wins and losses. The Jazz will evaluate other variables. How many more assets did Utah collect? How well did the Jazz develop their young players? Given Ainge’s track record, Utah appears likely to meet both objectives this season. The Jazz already control 18 first-round picks between now and 2029, suggesting they could become a title contender the same way the Celtics did following Ainge’s departure. In the meantime, it seems safe to presume the Jazz will end their six-year playoff streak. Projection: Draft Lottery


3, 2 — The Jazz are one of two teams — the Milwaukee Bucks are the other — that rank in the top five in both points scored (112.4, third) and points allowed (106.9, second) per 100 possessions over the last five seasons.

— John Schuhmann


Mike Conley: Although he remains a positive influence with his work ethic and leadership, Conley must prove he can stay healthy and productive.

Collin Sexton: He hardly can fully replace Mitchell, but Sexton has become a proven scorer and a decent playmaker.

Lauri Markkanen: He can partly offset Bogdanovic’s absence as another proven shooter and floor-spacer.

Kelly Olynyk: He has adapted well on new teams in recent seasons with frontcourt toughness, outside shooting and passing.  

Walker Kessler: He obviously won’t fully mitigate Gobert’s departure, but the rookie Kessler appears primed for a starting spot because of his defensive awareness at the rim and on rotations.


Jordan Clarkson: The former Kia Sixth Man of the Year can score consistently, but can he play more efficiently?

Jarred Vanderbilt: After having a break-out 2021-22 in Minnesota, Vanderbilt could set new career highs again this season with his new team.

Malik Beasley: He has a chance to rehab his reputation with a new team by overcoming last season’s disappointment with his poor play and off-the-court behavior.

Udoka Azubuike: If he can stay more durable, Azubuike could land more minutes to further develop as a defender.

Rudy Gay: He might face a greater reduced role after logging a career low last season in minutes (18.9), but Gay still has some game left in him and could be a positive veteran presence for his young teammates.


How the Jazz have fared stats-wise over the last 5 seasons …

Season W L PCT OffRtg Rank DefRtg Rank NetRtg Rank Playoffs
2021-22 49 33 0.598 116.2 1 110.0 10 +6.2 3 X
2020-21 52 20 0.722 116.5 4 107.5 3 +9.0 1 X
2019-20 44 28 0.611 111.8 9 109.3 13 +2.5 9 X
2018-19 50 32 0.610 110.3 14 105.3 2 +5.0 4 X
2017-18 48 34 0.585 107.4 16 103.0 1 +4.4 5 X

OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

* * *

Mark Medina is a senior writer/analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.