Monday, 22 Jul 2024

2021-22 Season Preview: Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz, known for their regular-season dominance, are eager to make a deeper playoff run and build upon their success from last season. With a roster that boasts remarkable chemistry and stability, the Jazz are well-positioned for continued success. Donovan Mitchell, the team’s All-Star guard, leads both on and off the court with his skills, competitiveness, and leadership qualities.

Having learned valuable lessons from their elimination in the Western Conference semifinals, the Jazz are determined to apply those experiences this season. Mitchell, Mike Conley, Rudy Gobert, and Jordan Clarkson are all key contributors who earned recognition for their performances last season. With the exception of Conley, who continues to develop, this talented group remains intact. The team’s depth, expert coaching from Quin Snyder, and a well-managed organization, including the recent addition of Dwyane Wade to the ownership group, further solidify the Jazz as a formidable force in the league. Anything short of 50 wins and a conference finals appearance would be seen as a disappointment.

BIGGEST QUESTION

Can the Jazz rely solely on their 3-point shooting? While this team excels at the deep shot, their heavy reliance on it proved to be their downfall in the postseason. To avoid predictability, Utah would benefit from diversifying their offensive approach by incorporating more mid-range shots, as demonstrated successfully by the Phoenix Suns, who reached the NBA Finals in 2021.

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SEASON PREDICTION

There is much to admire and little to criticize about the Utah Jazz. Their depth, exceptional ball movement, sharpshooting, and solid defense make them a standout team in the Western Conference. Their consistent performance and clear identity make them a favorite to reach the NBA Finals. However, falling short of this goal would not be entirely surprising, given the competitive landscape. Predicted finish: 50-32.

PROJECTED STARTING FIVE

  • Donovan Mitchell: A rising star in the league, Mitchell’s scoring and playmaking abilities have established him as one of the league’s top guards.
  • Mike Conley: After a return to form last season, Conley earned his first All-Star nod. He provides valuable leadership, assists, and 3-point shooting.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic: A reliable offensive threat, Bogdanovic consistently contributes points and shooting efficiency at the small forward position.
  • Royce O’Neale: Despite being undersized, O’Neale excels as a rebounder and reliable defender, making him a valuable asset for the team.
  • Rudy Gobert: Widely recognized as the best rim-protector in the NBA, Gobert’s presence on both ends of the court is instrumental to the Jazz’s success.

KEY RESERVES

  • Joe Ingles: Runner-up for the Kia Sixth Man Award last season, Ingles brings reliable shooting from beyond the arc and valuable contributions off the bench.
  • Jordan Clarkson: The reigning Kia Sixth Man had a breakout season, providing a much-needed scoring punch for the team.
  • Eric Paschall: Joining the Jazz after a successful stint with the Warriors, Paschall brings energy and hustle around the basket.
  • Rudy Gay: A seasoned veteran, Gay adds scoring versatility and invaluable leadership in the locker room.
  • Hassan Whiteside: Known for his shot-blocking abilities, Whiteside provides crucial support for Gobert in protecting the rim.
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LAST 5 SEASONS

Here is a breakdown of the Jazz’s performance over the past five seasons:

Season W L Win pct. OffRtg Rank DefRtg Rank NetRtg Rank
2020-21 52 20 .722 116.5 4 107.5 3 +9.0 1
2019-20 44 28 .611 111.8 9 109.3 13 +2.5 9
2018-19 50 32 .610 110.3 14 105.2 2 +5.0 4
2017-18 48 34 .585 107.4 16 103.0 1 +4.4 5
2016-17 51 31 .622 109.0 12 104.7 3 +4.3 5

OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

STAT TO KNOW

Last season, the impact of Rudy Gobert on the court was undeniable. The Jazz had a staggering on-off differential of 17.9 points per 100 possessions when Gobert was playing (+15.9) compared to when he was off the floor (-2.0). This marked the largest difference among all players who played at least 1,000 minutes for a single team.


In summary, the Utah Jazz embody consistency, depth, and a strong team identity. With their formidable roster, exceptional coaching, and a commitment to success, the Jazz are primed to make a significant impact in the Western Conference. Keep an eye on this talented and cohesive team as they strive to reach new heights. For more information and updates, visit Osceolagarage.com.