Make sure you're sitting down for this. Well, you likely are if you're reading this. John Hollinger has projected the Jazz to have the best record in the Western Conference. From his column,
Add it all up and the Jazz, perhaps a bit surprisingly, came out with the top record in the West when I projected each team's outcome -- beating out the Lakers by a single game. L.A. has the higher ceiling, and arguably so does Houston, but the Jazz have a far better likelihood of getting close to their roof.
Taking things a step further, picking the Jazz to have home-court advantage by virtue of the best record in the West means one almost has to pick them to win the conference, too -- between the altitude and the crowd's impact on the zebras, this team is nigh unbeatable at home. It's a crowded race and they're one of three teams I see as having roughly equal odds of making it out, but if I have to pick a horse out West, this is the one.
Their biggest weakness, he states, is their interior defense. Surprise. This led to the highest hack rate in the league and cost the Jazz between 5-6 games last year. If the offense remains the same, and the hacking goes down, look for the Jazz to have the edge in the conference.
He's spot on in almost all of his statements. In some of my pre-season predictions (for other sites), I put the Jazz at about 57 wins. Hollinger has them at 58. If that's the case, we would have home court throughout the playoffs.
It's looking good.