For the third straight year, it looks like Utah will again be in the middle of the Western Conference pack. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Utah Jazz have given their fans something to cheer about in recent years. After 4 seasons without a playoff berth and 6 without a playoff win, the #5 seed Jazz beat the Clippers in 7 games in round 1 before getting swept by Golden State in Round 2.
In 2018, despite losing their star Gordon Hayward in free agency, the Jazz made a comeback for the ages after a rough start. Again, they won Round 1 as a five seed by stealing a game on the road at Oklahoma City and protecting their home court en route to a series clinching Game 6 victory.
Let’s see what 2019 is looking like. Can someone say déjà vu? The Jazz started the season a little better than last year but were still around a .500 winning percentage ball club thanks to the toughest ranked schedule for the first half of the season. On the back half the Jazz have mostly beaten the teams they should beat and even upset a few they weren’t projected to beat (Hello Denver). However, they can’t win them all. They have an average record against winning teams which is fine since they beat the teams they should beat most of the time.
However, when they lose to below average teams in the friendly confines of Vivint Smart Home Arena (looking at you New Orleans Pelicans) then that means they need to win more of the coin flip games. With an easier schedule the Jazz should win enough games to jump up in the standings but not by much. Currently they would be the 6 seed in the West if the playoffs started today but currently it’s looking like we will see another scrappy 4 vs 5 showdown featuring our Utah Jazz.
The way the Jazz are playing right now it looks like they will turn it on for the rest of the season for their “Playoff Push”. Quin gets them ready at the right time of the year. It’s better to climb than freefall (looking at you OKC) but if the Jazz are going to be a championship team then they will have to win more games all season.
There are 30 teams in the NBA so not every team can win a championship that often. We are seeing a Golden State dynasty that currently has a stranglehold on the NBA. If Apple, Amazon and other top companies in the Fortune 500 viewed themselves as failures because WalMart was the top dog in 2018, then we wouldn’t have competitive markets that create entertaining products at affordable prices.
As the smallest market in the NBA, fans of the Utah Jazz should be happy that they get to see a sporting event at the highest level. Some markets the size of Salt Lake City are lucky to have a double A minor league baseball team. For example, Salt Lake City is ranked as the 116th most populous city in the United States. Two spots down is Montgomery, Alabama. They have a Double A minor league baseball team called the Montgomery Biscuits. When the association you play for can be mistaken for the type of batteries you put in your XBox controller, you’re better off playing a pretend professional game on your video game console.
The Jazz have been close to an NBA title before and they will try to inch close to that milestone again with a new group and mastermind coach. They are too honest to the game to tank but haven’t accumulated enough talent to be the favorite. They currently have a one percent chance to win an NBA title this season.
It’s a long shot but the Jazz will do their best to prove they aren’t your average team.