The team with the best record in the NBA gets precious little respect.
The Jazz reached the All-Star break ahead of the pack in the rugged Western Conference but no one seems to take them seriously. Back in January, TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal refused to give Donovan Mitchell the superstar label, claiming that Mitchell doesn’t impact the game beyond scoring.
“There’s no slander to the Utah Jazz,” James claimed. “You guys got to understand, just like in video games growing up, we never played with Utah. Even as great as Karl Malone and John Stockton was, we would never pick those guys in video games. Never.”
Mitchell was not pleased by the perceived insult.
The best way for the Jazz to respond is to finish what they started. The Jazz have been a playoff team the last four seasons. They got knocked out in the first round the last two years after getting eliminated in the conference semifinals in back-to-back seasons.
Last season, Mitchell tried to will his team past Denver, averaging 36.3 PPG in an epic seven-game series, but the Jazz came up just short in Game 7.
Utah didn’t have Bojan Bogdanovic in that series due to a wrist injury. Otherwise, the Jazz have virtually the same rotation as they did at the end of last year. Their chemistry makes them tough to beat in the regular season but the postseason is a different animal, when the biggest stars shine.
That brings us to our topic of the day: Can the Jazz finally overcome their recent history and make a deep playoff run? Or is the team with the best record in the NBA destined for another early-round flameout?
Please take to the comments section to weigh in on this topic. We look forward to your input.