The Utah Jazz roster is full of young talent, and the national media is taking notice.
Sports Illustrated lists five Jazz players in their annual ranking of the NBA’s Top 100 players. Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, George Hill and Rodney Hood all enter the 2016-17 season on the list.
Each player ranks higher this year than last, including three members of the Jazz who easily made the list. Favors and Hayward rank at 28 and 27 respectively, with Gobert coming in shortly behind at 33.
Favors has been a staple in the Jazz organization for nearly his entire career. He was a key part of the Deron Williams blockbuster trade in 2011 and has improved each season since.
Although known mostly for his defense, his scoring average doubled from his first season with the Jazz to a career best 16.4 points per game last season.
Over his six seasons in the NBA, Hayward has become the de facto face of the Jazz. No, not for his hair style, but his style of basketball. He led the team last season in scoring, averaging 19.7 points.
Another Jazz youngster, Gobert, is a giraffe in basketball shorts.
“Put Rudy Gobert anywhere on God’s green Earth, and he’ll improve the local team’s defensive rating considerably,” Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated said. “Long doesn’t even begin to describe the 7-foot 1-inch Gobert, who has ranked in the top five in block percentage and the top six in rebound percentage in each of the last two seasons.”
The two other players making this list are Hill, who ranks at 56, and Hood, who secured the 85 spot.
After being traded to the Jazz from the Indiana Pacers during this off season, Hill has already begun making an impact in the community. He recently posted on his Instagram account pictures of him feeding Wendy’s food to Salt Lake’s homeless.
With his skill and veteran experience, Hill could be the starting point guard that Utah needs to get themselves back into playoff contention.
Hood is making his top 100 debut this season — and for good reason. After surprisingly falling to the 23rd pick in the 2014 draft, Hood has made those teams who passed him up regret it.
Hood’s unique skill set makes defenses scramble and gives opposing coaches headaches. Not only can he score, but he also has significant ball handling skills.
With five players in the top 100, the anticipation for the Jazz season is boiling over.
The NBA preseason begins for the Jazz Oct. 3 against their northwest rivals the Portland Trailblazers and will be televised on Root Sports.
The regular season begins on Oct. 25 and is also beginning against Damian Lillard and his ‘Blazers. Hopefully, with five players in the top 100, the season will not end in April.