There were so many positives from the Orlando Magics | Forum

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Joe Johnson had options of where to chase a ring in the twilight of his career and the seven-time All-Star chose to sign a two-year deal with a Utah Jazz team that hasnt reached the playoffs since 2012. NFL Jerseys Outlet .Johnson, 35, bought into the widespread belief that the Jazz will improve from young up-and-comers to a competitive playoff team.It was the talent level and knowing from talking to (coach) Quin (Snyder), they wanted some veteran guys around these young guys and help lead the way, Johnson said. That was probably the biggest part.Thats the story on the Jazz entering the 2016-17 season: a team no longer on the cusp, but one with postseason expectations.Snyder and general manager Dennis Lindsey have tried to temper those expectations, but the offseason moves to add veterans spoke volumes. The Jazz traded for George Hill and Boris Diaw and signed Johnson -- ending the slow rebuild. The league, however, wont see what this roster looks like at full strength for some time.Gordon Hayward is out for an unknown amount of time with a broken finger on his non-shooting hand. Derrick Favors played just one preseason game due to a knee issue. Key reserve Alec Burks still hasnt returned from arthroscopic surgery to his knee and ankle in June.So the Jazz didnt get to fully integrate the new veterans with the established players during the preseason.I feel like weve got a lot done in spite of (injuries), Snyder said. (Diaw, Hill and Johnson) have probably played more preseason minutes than I intended. ... It has given them a chance to get acclimated. Their roles, particularly Joes, will probably change and evolve when Gordon comes back. Outside of that, theres challenges. You just dont know. Certain players, certain lineups. ... I dont think we were able to build quite the connectivity that wed like at this point. But I felt like this was a team that was going to take a while to develop, too. Hopefully it doesnt set us back too much.The Jazz begin the season on the road against the Trail Blazers on Tuesday. Eight of their first 11 games are on the road.Things to watch as the Jazz prepare to tip off the season:STIFLING TOWER: The 7-foot-1 Rudy Gobert has already established himself as one of the best defensive centers in the game, averaging 2.27 blocks over the last two seasons, but hes shown off a little more offense this preseason. He seemed to catch and finish better than in the past and averaged 14.8 points in six games. The most notable improvement has been Goberts free throw shooting. He shot 56.9 percent last year and 74.5 percent this preseason.RETURN OF EXUM: Dante Exum is back for regular season games for the first time since tearing his ACL in the summer of 2015. The No. 5 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft is fully healthy and still an upper echelon defender on the perimeter with his 6-foot-6 frame. He looks to become more active on the offensive end with a better floater in the lane and improved 3-point shooting. The point guard showed the ability to log minutes at shooting guard next to Hill during the preseason.GROWTH AREAS: The Jazz hope the additions and another year of growth will affect three areas in particular. The Jazz were No. 28 in the league with a scoring average of 97.7 points per game. That must improve. Johnson, Hill and Diaw already improve the depth. The team also struggled in close games, finishing 14-28 in games that were within five points with five minutes or less left.IMPRESSION TIME: Not making the playoffs could not only be disappointing, but a detriment to the future. Hayward has a player-option on his contract after this season and is expected to use it to become a free agent. There will be a large market for his services, so the Jazz need to prove theyre an organization that can compete for championships in the near future. Gobert will become a restricted free agent in July if he doesnt sign an extension by Oct. 31. Favors is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2017-18 season.---Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter: ;Wholesale NFL Jerseys . With his new coach and six-time Grand Slam singles champion Boris Becker watching him during an official match for the first time, Djokovic appeared tentative early against the Slovakian player, who often appeared content to keep the ball in play. Cheap China Jerseys Authentic . -- There were so many positives from the Orlando Magics first victory of the season that it was hard for coach Jacque Vaughn to stop praising his players. . "I dont know that were close," said general manager Alex Anthopoulos. "I just think, right now, the acquisition cost just doesnt work for us right now. I dont know if I can quantify how far off or things like that that they might be but I would say we continue to have dialogue. Speaking purely in terms of college performance, are we inclined to make a little too much fuss over freshmen?Its a natural question in the wake of 2015-16, also known as the Year of the Geezer. The Wooden Award winner was a senior, the guy who hit the incredible, game-winning shot in the national championship game was a junior, the guy who tied the game for the other team before that game-winner was a senior, and the Final Four Most Outstanding Player was still another senior. Ben Simmons, we hardly knew ye.This reflects a change in my rankings since the latest verrsion of this list, and be assured, Ill be updating (or transforming completely) my picks yet again once we get some actual basketball under our belts. Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys. .Of course, past performance is no guarantee of future occurrences, and maybe this will turn out to be an instance in which Im a general still fighting the previous (analytic) war. That said, Ive given the top spot on my list to an old-timer.Meet the top 25 players for 2016-17: Cheap MLB Jerseys cheap jerseys Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping cheap nfl jerseys Cheap Jerseys USA China JerseysCheap NFL Authentic Jerseys Cheap Jerseys For Sale Cheap NFL Jerseys China Wholesale Jerseys Cheap NBA Jerseys ' ' '