Utah JazzThis year’s NBA has been one of the most exciting seasons in recent times, with a host of competitive sides, making considerable statements in the various divisions and conferences every week. It is, therefore, clear to say that this season has been unpredictable at best. Since the start of the New Year, a host of top NBA teams have made the headlines for their incredible performances on the court, which has propelled most of them to the summit of the various divisions and conferences. Others have also carried the great form from the end of 2019 to this year. Amongst these notable sides are Utah Jazz, who are currently the hottest team of 2020 so far. Their recent 10-game winning run was perhaps one of the longest winning streaks in the NBA recently before it came to an end in an overtime loss to New Orleans Pelicans.
Behind these recent successes are both internal and external factors that have them Utah Jazz, one of the “A” teams of the NBA in 2020. Here is a look at some of these factors.
Utah Jazz Season in Perspective
The season began on a good note as Utah Jazz claimed an impressive 100-95 victory over Oklahoma City Thunders. The win represented a winning start for the Jazz. However, their great start ended when they headed to Los Angeles for their second game of the season against LeBron James’ Lakers side. The game ended 95-86 in favor of the Lakers. Utah Jazz, however, recovered from their first disappointment of the season by going on a three-game winning run, which saw them claim vital wins over Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, and NBA title favorites Los Angeles Clippers in what was a good month of October which saw them lose only one game. Their start this season was similar to the start they endured in the same month of the previous season, where they won 4 and lost two of their opening six NBA games. However, they could not transfer that impressive October forms into the start of November as they lost their second fixtures against Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Clippers in consecutive matches. Inconsistencies began setting in despite the Jazz winning their next four games. The team started losing games frequently, which saw them stay adrift of the leading pack. Their form at that stage, though, was, however, a significant improvement in comparison to the start of the previous season. Their fortunes began turning in the month of December, which saw them put together consistent results, which started with the 127-116 win at Minnesota Timberwolves. In all, they have lost just six games in 22 games since the start of December 2019. At this rate, they could be sure to become a mainstay in the fight for the playoff spots.
Collective Performances of Influential Players
The recent rise of the Utah Jazz can be measured based on the impressive performances of a collective group of players. Shooting Guard Donovan Mitchell, Center Rudy Gobert, and Small Forward duo Joe Ingles and Bojan Bogdanovic have all been key to the team’s recent success. Donovan Mitchell has averaged 24.8 points per game, 4.3 rebounds per game and 4.4 assists per game. Center Rudy Gobert has also averaged 15.0 points per game, 14.5 rebounds per game and 1.9 blocks per game. Joe Ingles is also the top assister in the team so far, averaging 4.7 assists per game and even 11.2 points per game. Bogdanovic has also averaged 21.1 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game and 2.1 assists per game. These are impressive numbers from a group of players, not considered amongst the best players in the NBA. Their performance from these players is a testament to the hard work and the connection between these players on the court in victory and defeat. The one thing that is synonymous with this season’s Utah Jazz team is the readiness of every player to step up. As such, there is no over-reliance on a specific player to always win games for them in contrast to most of the teams in the NBA. For instance, Point Guard Emmanuel Mudiay stepped up from obscurity this year when he recorded 20 points to secure a 128-104 win against New York Knicks. He has only started a basketball game once in 38 appearances this season.
What’s next for the Jazz?
The winning streak might be over, but they will, however, find comfort in the fact that they lost in overtime against the Pelicans, a strong indication of their toughness and mental strength heading into the next round of fixtures. Utah Jazz now has an opportunity to return to winning ways and perhaps put together another massive streak when they host Sacramento Kings this weekend. No matter what the results are, it will be difficult to dispute the assertion of Utah Jazz, perhaps being the best team in 2020 so far.