by Daniel Olsen
The Utah Jazz received four finalists for NBA Awards: Rudy Gobert for Defensive Player of the Year, Quin Snyder for Coach of the Year and Jordan Clarkson/Joe Ingles for Sixth Man of the Year. That’s not a bad showing even for the team with the best record in the NBA. It’s time to see what other people involved with the Jazz organization could have made an outside case as a finalist for an award.
Georges Niang: Most Improved Player
While it doesn’t seem as impressive on paper, Niang has excelled for the Utah Jazz. He has improved in most statistics this year. He has averaged one point higher per game this year while shooting two percent better from downtown and a sizzling 95 percent from the free throw line.
He may not be the most improved in the NBA which is why he’s not a finalist. However, the fact that fans are more positive about Niang’s game than they’ve ever been means he’s doing something right. He was an easy scapegoat in the past when the Jazz were struggling. If he doesn’t deserve this award, then someone should at least buy him a minivan to reward him for having one of the coolest nicknames in the NBA. He is the most improved player at least on the Utah Jazz.
Donovan Mitchell: Comeback player of the year
In an interview recently, Donovan Mitchell confessed he has never missed this much time since his sophomore year of high school. While the injury was more serious than it appeared at first, Mitchell has the goal to be ready for Game 1 of the NBA Playoffs on Sunday evening.
While it might be a stretch to give this award to someone who was relatively healthy last season, it would be amazing if Mitchell picks up right where he left off and cruises through the playoffs. In that case, every Utah Jazz fan would pick Mitchell for this award.
After the scare of the birds crashing into their airplane earlier this year, perhaps the whole Jazz team has a case for this award. They literally were snatched from the jaws of death so they could shock the world. That is the hope at least. If the Jazz win the NBA championship, then they are the comeback team and Mitchell is the comeback player.
Ryan Smith: Executive of the Year
New Jazz owner Ryan Smith has done everything possible to enhance the customer experience. One would expect nothing less from the owner of a multi-billion dollar company in Qualtrics that specializes in this area.
One way he has truly made a difference is donating a scholarship to an underrepresented student of color for every Jazz win. This made headlines and is giving others a chance to continue their education. One need only look at this video to see the happiness that Smith his helping young Jazz fans experience. If the NBA Community Assist Award could go to an executive, it would have to go to Smith as well.
Although individual accolades are nice, the ultimate goal the Jazz have is to win a championship. The winner of the Golden State vs Memphis game tonight will decide the opponent this title quest will start against. The Jazz are ready so the rest of the NBA should take note of what’s about to happen.
Featured image courtesy The Gazette