The Jazz are currently on a road trip in the east coast, and up until late in the 4th quarter of the game against the Hornets, they have looked great so far. Before we jump into the main discussion, here is a quick look at who the Jazz have played so far:
- Lakers (4-4)
- Spurs (5-3)
- Mavericks (2-6)
- Knicks (3-4)
- 76ers (0-7)
- Trailblazers (5-4)
- Clippers (7-1)
- Spurs (5-3)
- Hornets (6-1)
So, this shows that the Jazz are only losing to the elite teams in the league, and that they have been fairly competitive through the first 9 games of the season. At home the Jazz are 2-1, and on the road they are 3-3.
But for those of you who follow the Jazz closely, you know that this year should be a breakout year for the Jazz. And there are a lot of reasons for that, so I decided to choose my top 5 reasons why the Jazz are a top team in the west this year.
1. George Hill
This guy has been unstoppable since the start of the season. He is currently averaging 20 PPG, 5 APG, and 3 RPG. So for those of you who had doubts about the Jazz giving up our 1st round draft pick this year for Hill, now you understand.
2. 3-Point Percentage
The Jazz have made some improvements from beyond the arc this year by adding Joe Johnson in the offseason, and by keeping sharp-shooters Rodney Hood, Joe Ingles, and Trey Lyles. As a team, the Jazz are shooting 38% from 3 this year, compared to 35% last year.
In defensive efficiency, the Jazz currently rank #11 in the league. Not quite as good as their last years ranking of #5, but this is because of injuries to Hill, Hayward and Favors. So I would expect this to continue to improve. Gobert has looked great this year, and with Favors playing along side him we are a tough team to face. The Jazz are also one of the tallest/longest teams in the NBA, which helps a lot from the defensive side of the ball.
4. Depth of Bench
Dante Exum, Alec Burks, Joe Johnson, Trey Lyles, and Boris Diaw. That will be the first 5 off the bench for the Jazz once all of the starters are back from injuries. That group of guys is a great combination of youth, talent and experience. The Jazz boast the best bench in the league if you ask me (but of course I am a little biased)
5. More Experience
Something Dennis Lindsey clearly made a priority when recruiting talent this last off-season was increase of overall experience within the roster. Joe Johnson has been in the league for 15 years, and has playoff experience with 3 different teams. Boris Diaw is a 13 year veteran that has been apart of 3 NBA Championship teams with the San Antonio Spurs. And George Hill has 8 years of experience in the league, and has been to the playoffs almost every year since joining the league.
With our starting 5 healthy, it’s safe to say the Jazz can land in the top 5 of the western conference rankings by the end of the season. The Warriors and Spurs will most likely end up in the top 2 spots. Then the Clippers and Thunder will most likely end up at 3 and 4. But after that, it’s a race for the 5th spot between the Jazz, Rockets and Blazers.
Even though a 5-4 record might look disappointing, let’s remember that the Jazz still don’t have their entire starting 5 healthy yet. Favors missed the first couple games and is just starting to find his rhythm, and Hayward is finally back from his 2 week absence, and now George Hill has been dealing with a thumb injury. With our main core healthy and in tact, we have the talent on this roster to be one of the top teams in the West.