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In its first full season since the departures in February 2011 of longtime coach Jerry Sloan and All-Star point guard Deron Williams, the Jazz sneaked into the playoffs with a 36--30 record. This year much-improved teams such as the Timberwolves and the Warriors will make the competition for the final postseason berth in the West even stiffer.
Utah should be able to protect that playoff turf, though, thanks to the off-season addition of two new Williamses, Mo and Marvin. Mo, a steady 29-year-old veteran, will take over the point from Devin Harris, who was never more than a placeholder since he arrived as part of the trade that sent Deron Williams to the Nets. And Marvin, a steady small forward who was acquired from the Hawks for Harris, will thrive even more now that he's outside the shadows of Joe Johnson and Al Horford. If free-agents-to-be Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson can dominate down low, Utah's quest for a postseason berth won't be nearly as nerve-racking as last year's.
COACH: Tyrone Corbin (3rd season with Jazz)
2011--12 RECORD: 36--30 (3rd in Northwest)
OFFENSE: 99.7 ppg (4th)
DEFENSE: 99.0 ppg (23rd)
PICK-AND-ROLL OFFENSE: 14.7 ppg (30th)
PROJECTED STARTING FIVE
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