Community Shootaround: Utah Jazz

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.

When it came time to choose sides in the NBA All-Star draft last week, Mitchell and Rudy Gobert were the last two picks by Kevin Durant and LeBron James.

“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.

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20 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Utah Jazz

  1. Sillivan

    Jazz need 2 more wing defenders to shut down Kawhi, George, LeBron

    Low cost guys would be Craig, Smart and Covington

    For now Jazz are 4th best team come playoffs time

    This would allow you to think about who are top 3 in playoffs

    • Steven St Croix

      Covington costs Portland 2 first round picks, how is he low cost?

  2. Mockton & Stalone

    The Utah Jazz are the real deal. The Denver Nuggets are the team that is likely to come up short in the playoffs without Grant this season. Barton, Harris, Porter is not good most of the time.

    • WallyWood

      They still have a lot to prove in the playoffs before you can say the Jazz are the real deal. They barely escaped the first round in 2017 and 2018 before losing in 4 or 5 games in round two. Then in the last 2 playoffs they couldn’t even get out of the first round, after blowing a 3-1 lead against Denver last year. But things do look more wide open in the West right now as the Lakers continue to fade, so Utah should have a decent chance of reaching the WCF.

      • Mockton & Stalone

        I am pretty sure I am allowed to observe and make a judgement call based on whatever criteria I please. This isn’t a johnny come lately rockets bandwagon fan predicting playoffs run because Christian Wood played well for 20 games. Jazz are a top 4 team in the West. Real enough for this Ute!

  3. amk1920

    No, the Jazz exist just to lose to true contenders in the playoffs. They can beat teams like them but not the Lakers with AD.

  4. Simmons>Russ

    Every team that isn’t a real threat but is good does this. The great players know that regular season means next to nothing. It’s all about the playoffs.Honestly the Jazz are reminding me of the Raptors.

    13/14 3rd in conference, out in first round
    14/15 4th in conference, swept in first round
    15/16 2nd in conference, out in ECF
    16/17 3rd in conference, swept in second round
    17/18 1st in conference, swept in second round

    They were a good team like the Jazz but when it came to the finals everyone knew exactly how they played and everyone else instead of playing 100% all year came in a little more rested and could step it up. Jazz might finish with the best record and with something to prove but I can see them doing anything in the playoffs.

    If they finish first seed they could be up against the Mavs, GSW or Pelicans in the first round which would be really tough.

    I think what they still lack is a lock down defender besides Gobert and besides Mitchell’s shooting do they have someone else that can step it up for them?

    • Noel1982

      They don’t fit the profile of a ( non mavs 11) team that beats lebron in a playoff series ! They don’t have any defender to bother him nor do they have a wing that makes him have to work hard on defense the whole game ! He can bid his time vs them

    • Cap & Crunch

      My counter to this would be…..In all those years there were 2-3 Super teams ….This year, Zero so far

      They wont have to run thru GSW or early SAS or Last years better/healthier Lakers this year

      Utahs half court offense has really taken off this year as well via the 3 ball…We all know Rudys contributions in the half court defense and playoff basketball really shrinks the court to a slower pace

      I think it will come down to can Clarkson Bogdanovic and Ingles keep this level of play up in the playoffs……if so, that’s a lotta extra firepower to deal with in a 7 game series when arguably none of those guys are even top 3 players on the team

      • Noel1982

        Even the 2014 spurs who beat lebron had the right formula ! Green and Leonard could make him work for his points and Leonard made him defend him at all times or lebron had to chase green and manu around all over the court and screens ! They where able to wear him down to some point ! Where as jaZz lebron is gonna do whatever he wants off boggy, O’Neal ingles or niang and none of them are gonna keep him from roving on defense while also resting

      • Simmons>Russ

        Cap Crunk my counter without even doing any research is that the Raptors never faced GSW or SAS in the playoffs. They got beat twice by the Wizards and twice by the Cavs.

        Just as the Raptors couldn’t make it past these guys in the playoffs I don’t think the Jazz make it far in the playoffs. I will give it to you tho 100% your right about hitting threes from those guys but come playoffs everyone steps it up. I like Clarkson but he’s untested as someone who can be reliable in the playoffs. Ingles can step up defensively but offensively idk.

        The two things I’d suggest that will be there down fall apart from the lock down guard/wing is this. 1 remember in the early part of the year when Mitchell was hitting like 30% on FGs I think if he gets cold he could fall back into a similar situation and struggle. Teams will be trying to lock him up cause without him the Jazz will struggle. Secondly because they are playing so tough right now it does mean the players come end of season will be more tired and they would’ve given away better video footage for the opponents to study and that could lead to their down fall.

  5. Cap & Crunch

    No doubt contenders.
    There’s not a cut above team in the West right now and they are in the first pack sooo…thats a contender

    Why look towards the past for cloudy answers, seems lazy, 2021 Jazz are for real, they all know their roll and are tough.

    I could write this same post about PHX and not have to change a single word

    Playoffs on both sides should be a doozy this year as well as some bloodbaths

  6. nentwigs

    Maybe if the Utah changed their team name to one that is more relevant to the state and more exciting when stated, instead of being the subject of quotations such as,
    “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.”

  7. El Don

    Shaq & Sir Charles were spot on in their evaluation of Mitchell, so far he has only been a volume shooter… about Gobert, well as we have seen against Embiid, Jokic & KAT the dude can’t defend for his life when he has a good player in front of him, so UTA must pray to not play a single round against any team with a center!

  8. formerlyz

    I picked Utah to do this last year, and they disappointed. This year, they added Favors to a spot they needed, so essentially, they added Bogdanovic to the team from a couple of years ago, which is a really big piece for them, as that team was a potential matchup problem for certain “top” teams. Theoretically, you would expect this, but it was hard to place teams coming into the season, as there were so many variables, with the turnaround, the changes, no summer league/limited training camp, health protocols, injuries, changing rotations, etc…I had them in the 2-5 range…

    I still feel like they could use another depth piece, probably someone with some size that can guard at the 4, and potentially at the wing spots, but they are very dangerous

    Admittedly, Donovan Mitchell hasnt been the defender he was his first 2 seasons. That cant be an issue that lingers

  9. KnickerbockerAl

    Jazz are legit contender. They could use a big wing defender. Like a Morris who can guard Bron, Kawhi, KD. They really should look at Faried. This is where they need most help imo. PJ is a guy that can help them too. They want to make a serious playoff run. This is what they should address.

  10. Benboy

    It’s all about confidence when it comes to the playoffs. Intensity and focus will give you that confidence and energy to beat most teams on any given night. The Jazz have shown they can lock down on defense, which fuels their confidence.

    Their depth and shooting have been topnotch this season. This gives then more energy for the second half, and at the end of the game. This has shown to be how they blow teams out. Coach Q needs to continue to use his depth and give guys rest.

    They just added Ersan, who is a big stretch 4. He can play solid positional defense and knock down 3’s. That should be very helpful when Ingles, Bogey or Conley sit out some games. They’re all getting older so it’s needed to let them rest when they’re not needed as much.

    All in all, after watching the Jazz for 35+ years, this year feels different. There’s a sense of purpose in this team that I haven’t seen since the Finals years. Everyone else just seems to be trying to survive. Some just want to knock off the best team but I wouldn’t call those teams truly locked in like the Jazz have been.

    The Jazz had a little lull but recent events have definitely added the fuel they need to lock back in. I just don’t see anyone beating the Jazz this year, based on their depth and focus.

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