SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz will unveil the schedule for the upcoming 2022-23 NBA season this week.
The team will look markedly different as the season begins, with new head coach Will Hardy replacing outgoing Quin Snyder, a slew of new players from the Rudy Gobert blockbuster, and possibly more unforeseen turnovers ahead of opening night.
With the busy schedule on the horizon, here are the top five games for the 2022-23 Jazz season.
Soon… ☝️🤨☝️ #Note something pic.twitter.com/bHOckueL3U
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) August 12, 2022
Jazz presenter Gobert, Timberwolves
There will be no greater night for Jazz next season than when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves and welcome Rudy Gobert back to Utah for the first time.
Unlike the return of Deron Williams or Gordon Hayward, Gobert should be given a warm welcome by jazz fans, and for good reason he’s one of the best players to ever play in Utah.
Rudy Gobert said goodbye @utahjazz Fans in a heartfelt message after being traded to the @Timberwolves. #Note something https://t.co/XQ5Jj4yhQK
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) July 2, 2022
Not one to take a night off, Gobert will no doubt return to his former home with a chip on his shoulder, trying to show the Jazz they made a mistake selling it, regardless of the price the Minnesota paid to get it.
It’s going to be a bittersweet night for jazz fans, but it’s the top game on the jazz schedule.
It would be foolish to look past opening night with the number of new faces making their jazz debut.
Regardless of who the jazz face opens the 2022-23 schedule with, there are strong opportunities for newcomers like Walker Kessler, Leandro Bolmaro and Simone Fontecchio to prove their worth.
Jared Butler will also get a chance to show he can value jazz after being buried deep on the team’s bench for most of last season, as did Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
The new look @utahjazz will make their debut in Canada in 2022-23. #note something https://t.co/Ku9U0vO8uf
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) August 3, 2022
Alongside the new players, fans will get their first glimpse of how coach Will Hardy decides to use his new squad when the games really matter.
Quin Snyder favored a three-point heavy offense, which proved to be a primary weapon in the regular season but fizzled out in each of the last two postseasons.
Hardy’s coaching style will take time to develop, but opening night will give Jazz’ss its first real indication of what the future of jazz holds.
Jazz Face Knicks at MSG
Playing at Madison Square Garden is always a treat as jazz only visits the basketball mecca once a year, but this season will take on a whole new feel.
If Donovan Mitchell has taken jazz to the New York Knicks, this will be your first chance to see him play jazz on the streets outside his hometown.
If Mitchell is still on the jazz list, it’s a chance for him and the front office to show exactly what the Knicks are missing by securing the blockbuster trade.
The Knicks aren’t the only team chasing Donovan Mitchell.
Here are six more trades for the @utahjazz to explore that could compete with the Knicks offering.#Note something https://t.co/Nn3qUKjGU5
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) July 28, 2022
Mitchell put on a show the last time he was in Manhattan, scoring 36 points, catching eight rebounds and dishing out six assists in a stunning 108-93 Jazz win.
Knicks fans will have them know that regardless of which team he qualifies for, he appreciates it when jazz travels to New York.
Jazz Welcome Ingles, Bucks To Utah
While the loudest cheering for a returning player this season will be for Gobert, Joe Ingles won’t be far behind.
The longtime jazz guard didn’t get the send-off he deserved after tearing his cruciate ligament in a road game against the Timberwolves in Minnesota last season, just before he was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers for Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Juancho Hernangomez.
Sources very close to the free agent @Joeingles7 can confirm he has agreed to a one-year contract with the Milwaukee Bucks.
House CEO Renae Ingles is thrilled for Joe and her family.
Joe himself is said to be very keen.#nba #nbanews pic.twitter.com/4yra9gQst3
— Renae Ingles (@RenaeIngles) June 30, 2022
Jazz fans, however, will show their appreciation for the Aussie veteran who gave Utah a warm welcome and became one of the great success stories in franchise history when he returns to town with the Milwaukee Bucks.
It doesn’t hurt that Milwaukee also has Giannis Antetokamidy, the world’s greatest player, in the midst of his prime.
Zion Williamson and Pelicans travel to Utah
Until we know what Jazz’s definitive roster looks like, it’s difficult to know how competitive they’ll actually be.
The huge asterisk hanging over the season makes it difficult to narrow down the top games of the season. However, if jazz fans want to guarantee themselves a show, the New Orleans Pelicans are a safe bet on the schedule.
The Pelicans made a strong push late in the season to qualify for the Western Conference Play-In tournament, where they defeated the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers to secure the eighth-place finish in the West.
Zion Williamson scored 32 points and 5 rebounds at 73.9 FG% last night against the Utah Jazz. 💪 pic.twitter.com/yvxe8sdAK6
— NBA UK (@NBAUK) January 20, 2021
New Orleans was even more impressive in the playoffs when they pushed the top-seeded Suns to six games in the first round of the postseason.
Oh, and they did it all without Zion Williamson missing the entire season with foot surgery.
Williamson should be back in form next season and has already shown Jazz fans what made him the top pick in the 2019 NBA draft.
During the forward’s first two visits to Salt Lake, he averaged a staggering 29.5 points as he faced Gobert, the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year.
The Pelicans are a team that could make significant noise in the playoffs and will be worth the price of admission in Utah.