It’s hard to get too excited about the preseason, but this year there are several interesting position battles that should make tonight’s tipoff with the Nuggets and the rest of the preseason interesting.
1. Who will start at power forward? Millsap and Boozer both have starter talent and are being paid starter money. Millsap signed a contract that makes him an essential part of the future of the team, and Boozer will likely be playing for another team by the time the trade deadline rolls around. But Boozer’s offensive game is more developed, and Paul has shown the ability to contribute off the bench. I’m not sure how Boozer and his me-first attitude would adjust to being a 6th man, and my guess is that Carlos will get the start.
2. Who will fill the HUGE gap left by Jarron Collins? The battle for playing time at the back up center spot between Fes and Kosta begins tonight and could possibly last well into the season. Fes has been around longer, has a bigger body, and has a new girl friend, but he has never shown the focus or grasp of the offense that Jerry demands. Kosta seems to be a quick learner, is active on defense, and has an underrated shot. My guess is that Kosta will win the spot, and I would love to see him give the Jazz a solid ten to fifteen minutes a night.
3. Who will back up DWill? Although DWill plays a lot of minutes, the Jazz need a capable backup point guard to keep the momentum going during the last two minutes of the first quarter and when DWill is in foul trouble. Price has shown flashes of being an effective change of pace PG, but, for the last two season, he has endured long stretches when he couldn’t seem to get off the bench. Enter Eric Maynor. The Jazz passed on several promising players to take Maynor in the first round of the draft and are obviously very high on him. Judging from the summer league, he seems to know how to get a team into the offense and is good at getting to the basket. Price has the edge going into the season, but Maynor will be given opportunities to prove himself, especially during the preseason. I could see this going either way but would bet on Price seeing the lion’s share of the backup PG minutes.
And finally, according to Ross Siler at the Salt Lake Tribune, the Jazz will break the huddle this year with "1-2-3 Defense." Whether that means that they will actually play solid defense remains to be seen. Sloan has really emphasized defense during the teams early practices, and it will be interesting to see how that translates on the court.