For the first time in five seasons, the Warriors find themselves in new territory entering the 2019-20 season. With Kevin Durant gone to the Brooklyn Nets, Klay Thompson rehabbing his surgically repaired left ACL and eight new players on the roster, the Warriors are not the preseason NBA title favorites.
As the Warriors reconcile a new reality, the rest of the Western Conference has retooled with superstar talent. Over the next seven days, NBC Sports Bay Area will examine teams that are expected to challenge Golden State's Western Conference throne.
Monday's edition: The Utah Jazz.
A month after losing in the first round of the postseason, Utah traded Grayson Allen, Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder and two draft picks to the Memphis Grizzlies for guard Mike Conley, a move that puts the Jazz among the best teams in the Western Conference.
Conley, 32, is one of the best point guards in the league, averaging 21.1 points, 6.4 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. More importantly, paired with rising star Donovan Mitchell in the backcourt, the move gives the Jazz one of the best backcourts in the league.
In addition to Conley, Utah signed guard Bojan Bogdanovic, who averaged a career-high 18.1 points on 49.7 percent from the field last season with the Pacers, which included a career-high 42.5 percent from 3-point range. Rounding out the summer, Utah signed guard Emmanual Mudiay, forward Ed Davis and Jeff Green.
With a starting five of Mitchell, Conley, Bogdanovic, Joe Ingles and Rudy Gobert, the Jazz have one of the best first units in the league.
Last season, Utah's offense was criticized for its overreliance on Mitchell, who shot just 41 percent from the field. Conley's addition is expected to take pressure off Mitchell, while Bogdanovic will help spread the floor for the 23-year old.
Helping Utah's starting five will be its defense, which ranked second in the league in defensive efficiency last season. The unit, anchored by Gobert in the middle, was third in the league in blocks and held teams to just 45.2 percent from the field.
The Jazz had an average bench last season, but with Mudiay, Green and Dante Exum, the second unit could struggle to find scoring with any of the starting unit on the bench, which would require Mitchell or Conley on the floor for the majority of of the game.
Additionally, for the Jazz to take the next step as a team, Mitchell has to be more efficient. Over his career, he's shooting just 43 percent from the field on 18 field goal attempts per game. However, he showed promise towards the end of the season, averaging 24 points on 46 percent from the field over his last 14 games.
How the Warriors stack up
Utah's summer moves put them among the best teams in the Western Conference on paper. As it pertains to the Warriors, Utah presents a number of challenges due to their length and shooting.
With eight new players on the roster, Golden State will have little idea of how cohesive they will be through the first few months of the season. The one constant in the matchup has been the play of Steph Curry, who averaged 29.0 points on 51 percent from the field in three games against Utah last season.
If the Warriors can summon enough to make a late-season playoff run and the Jazz can live up to expectations, this could be an intriguing playoff matchup.