Updated: October 29, 2010, 2:45 AM ET

Expert Predictions: Utah Jazz


J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: Has Deron Williams been that good or has Al Jefferson been that unlucky? Deron has won four playoff series in four years. Big Al's never won a playoff series. Williams' way will win out. Oh, and can we get a coach of the year award for Jerry Sloan?

Chris Broussard, ESPN The Mag: They lost one of the top bigs but shouldn't miss a beat. Al Jefferson cancels out the loss of Carlos Boozer. Mehmet Okur's health is a huge key, and Paul Millsap should step up to the challenge of replacing Booz. They'll miss Kyle Korver's shooting. Will a contract year spark Andrei Kirilenko?

Tim Legler, ESPN: Paul Millsap steps up as a 20-10-caliber player, and may be more productive than Carlos Boozer. Deron Williams is the best PG in the NBA -- a better defender than Steve Nash, and better offensively than Chris Paul.

Click here to read the rest of our NBA experts' outlooks for Utah.

NBA Roundtable: East Challengers

Hollinger's Forecast: Washington Wizards

By John Hollinger

The Wizards have been given a bit of a reprieve. Winning the lottery and earning the rights to John Wall should make the rebuilding a less painful process than it might have been. Washington also took quick action to dump payroll once last season went off the rails by dealing Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and Brendan Haywood before the trade deadline.

The only toxic contract remaining is that of Gilbert Arenas, who still has four years left on a ridiculous six-year, $111 million deal. (Amusing side note: Articles at the time stated, without a hint of irony, that Arenas accepted less money than he could have in order to help the Wizards.) His contract is so unpalatable that it appears the Wizards are stuck with him.

Overall, Washington has hit the restart button fairly successfully. New owner Ted Leonsis purchased the team from the family of Abe Pollin and appears to be taking a much more realistic approach to building it. The Wizards stayed out of the free-agent market despite having cap space, notably eschewing the quick-fix mentality the team employed the previous few seasons. The only eyebrow-raiser was his decision to retain general manager Ernie Grunfeld, whose serial mistakes got Washington here in the first place.

Click here to read of Hollinger's outlook on and projections for the Wizards. Insider


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