The Jazz fight off injuries to start the season

The Jazz basketball team began this season with high expectations, including thoughts of making the playoffs for the first time since 2012. With an excellent off season and some young developing players, the team, led by coach Quin Snyder, was picked by many experts to be a top ten team in the NBA. So far the Jazz have put forth mixed results. Sitting at a 15-10 the Jazz are currently 7th in the western conference, good enough to make the playoffs, but not by much. The biggest obstacles facing the Jazz this season have been a series of major injuries to key players. It all started in the preseason when Gordon Hayward broke his finger, resulting in him missing the start of the season. Since then other players have been plagued by injuries as well.  Starter Derrick Favors has barely played at all this year due to knee trouble. On top of that two other starters, Rodney Hood and George Hill have missed the majority of games this year due to injury. In fact, the Jazz have only been able to play one game this season with all five of their preferred starters on the court. The only starter that has not been hurt for an extended period of time this season is Rudy Gobert.  When the Jazz are healthy they look like one of the best teams in the NBA. When they have injuries, not so much. Despite the injuries the Jazz rank top ten in the NBA in both offensive and defensive ratings, one of only three teams do so (the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors being the other two). Gordon Hayward is putting up all star level numbers when healthy while center Rudy Gobert looks like a candidate for defensive player of the year. Veterans George Hill and Joe Johnson, both off season pick ups, add much needed experience and leadership to a young team. Success this season is key as the Jazz are likely to lose some of their players to free agency this off season unless they can convince them that the team is capable of winning a championship. With much of the season still left to play the Jazz will look to get healthy and prove that they are not just a playoff team, but one worthy of competing for the championship as well.