All that Jazz

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Michael Angelo S. Murillo

Give And Go

National Basketball Association free agency opened frenetically on Monday, July 1 (Manila time), with a lot of players on the move and set to join new teams come the 2019-20 NBA season.

And as has been case during this time of the year in The Association, there were winners and losers amid all the dealings.

One of the teams that this space believes won on the first day of free agency was the Utah Jazz.

The moves they made may not be as jaw-dropping as the other teams’ but they were able to get players who can help them improve, which at the end of the day primarily is the reason for all these maneuverings.

To date, Utah has sharpshooting forward Bojan Bogdanovic and rebounding big man Ed Davis.

Bogdanovic, who played last season with the Indiana Pacers, reportedly agreed to join the Jazz for four years in a $73-million deal while Davis, who played for the Brooklyn Nets, is in for two years in a $10-million deal.

Bogdanovic stepped up well in the absence of injured Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo for much of last season. He proved himself as a solid source of offense, averaging 20 points per game, and at times were clutch for Indiana.

Davis, meanwhile, was a key cog off the bench for the Nets, tallying averages of 5.8 points and 8.6 rebounds in 81 games.

Apart from the skills set they bring to the Jazz, what makes them good acquisitions is that they fit in well with the direction that Utah seemingly wants to take — which is still to be defensively sound and steady while improving their offense.

The two are a good add-on to the pre-draft acquisition of veteran guard Mike Conley from the Memphis Grizzlies.

Together, the new guys, along with staples Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles and defensive player of the year Rudy Gobert, can surely make up for the departure of guys like Derrick Favors, Ricky Rubio, Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver, Thabo Sefolosha and Grayson Allen.

Ingles and Bogdanovic should stretch the defense of the opponents with their ability to hit long bombs, allowing Mitchell and Conley to do their thing with their penetration and playmaking.

Then Gobert will still be the center of defense with Davis providing quality minutes off the bench both as a four or five.

On paper, the Jazz are pretty good, and league talk of them being a legit contender is not without reason. It now boils down to making things happen and going for it.

All that Jazz. Utah fans should be excited.


Michael Angelo S. Murillo has been a columnist since 2003. He is a BusinessWorld reporter covering the Sports beat.