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Utah Jazz: Title race ‘Dark Horses’ and Most Improved Team this season

A lot of teams have enjoyed a lot of successes in the NBA so far this season in what has so far been one of the most competitive ones in recent years. In what has been a thrilling and unforgettable season so far, Utah Jazz has shown its capabilities as a thorn in the flesh of many sides. Utah experienced a promising 2018-2019 season with a strong finish, which saw the team end their campaign with a 50–32 win-loss record to earn the fifth seed in the Western Conference playoffs. They eventually failed to make it past the Western Conference First round after losing 4-1 after five games against Houston Rockets. Since that disappointment in the postseason, Utah Jazz has gradually transformed into perhaps the Most Improved team in the NBA this season. With a roster of pure young talents combined with experience, Utah Jazz have managed to step up their game this season. This season, Utah Jazz occupies the fourth position of the Western Conference and second in the Northwest Division with a 41-23 win-loss record. The team is still on course to make the playoffs and hopefully take their first step to claim a first-ever NBA title if the season resumes from its break.

Here is a look at Utah Jazz’s season so far and highlight the key factors behind their successes and transformation into an elite team this season.

 

Utah Jazz’s season so far

Utah Jazz began this season with a comprehensive 100-95 win at home against Oklahoma City Thunder in the opening game of the season. A defeat in the second game on the road at Los Angeles Lakers followed before the team recovered to record three consecutive victories to hand them a 4-1 win-loss record after the opening five games. After the decent return from the opening five games, Utah Jazz went on a little slump as they lost two consecutive games on the road at Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Clippers. The two defeats proved to be a catalyst for a great run as Utah Jazz won four consecutive games against some of the toughest opponents in the early stage of the season in the shape of Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors, and Brooklyn Nets. The great run of results came to an end after Utah Jazz succumbed to two consecutive defeats against Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves. However, three successive wins followed once more as the team got back to winning ways. Afterward, Utah Jazz went through a rough patch as they recorded only two wins from the next eight games. Both victories in that period came against Memphis Grizzlies. It had become evident that inconsistency had begun to creep into the team during those run of poor results and that Utah Jazz had to step up their game or risk losing grounds in the chase for the playoff spots. That period turned out to be the turning point for Utah as they won seven out of their last eight games in 2019. Utah Jazz began the New Year, just like how they ended the previous year with seven consecutive victories to get back into the playoff qualification picture. The wins also stretched Utah Jazz’s unbeaten run to ten games, dating back to the end of December 2019. The excellent run ended in a 138-132 overtime loss at New Orleans Pelicans before Utah Jazz recorded four consecutive victories to return to winning ways. Since then, Utah Jazz has endured an indifferent spell which has seen them win nine and lose 10 of their last 19 games before the suspension of the season. The problematic results in their recent games have done little to overshadow the impressive season Utah Jazz has experienced so far this season.

 

Factors behind their successes this season

The success of any team hinges on the performances of the players. Over the years, some teams have relied on the individual brilliance of certain vital players, while others have been able to build teams that play as a collective unit.

In their history, Utah Jazz has always found ways to build a team that does not rely on a big star but instead plays as a collective unit to help the team progress. This season has been no exception as the likes of Shooting Guard Donovan Mitchell, Center Rudy Gobert, Small Forward Bojan Bogdanovic, Point Guards Mike Conley, and Jordan Clarkson and Shooting Guard Joe Ingles have all made meaningful contributions to the progress of the team this season.

Donovan Mitchell has averaged 24.2 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game, 4.2 assists per game and 1.0 steals per game. Rudy Gobert has also averaged 15.1 points per game, 13.7 rebounds per game and 1.5 assists per game.

Bojan Bogdanovic has averaged 20.2 points per game, 4.1 rebounds per game and 2.1 assists per game.

Mike Conley has also averaged 13.8 points per game, 3.2 rebounds per game and 4.3 assists per game in his first season with Utah Jazz after his trade from Memphis Grizzlies last summer. Jordan Clarkson has also averaged 15.6 points per game, 2.9 rebounds per game and 1.6 assists per game in 34 appearances from the bench since joining Utah Jazz from Cleveland Cavaliers in the midseason trade.

Joe Ingles has also averaged 9.8 points per game, 4.0 rebounds per game and 5.2 assists per game this season.

This season has seen Utah Jazz record some crucial results from significant encounters with some of the top teams in the NBA. This season, Utah Jazz has claimed significant victories against the likes of Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Miami Heat, and Boston Celtics.

The team also has a good record at home this season. In 31 home games, Utah Jazz has won 21 of them with just ten defeats, handing them a 21-10 win-loss home record. Six of those defeats have come since the beginning of this year.

 

 

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