So another week in the books, and another set of data to look at. The Utah Jazz lost to the Los Angeles Clippers, beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, then lost to the Atlanta Hawks, and then beat the Minnesota Timberwolves again. 2-2 for the week, and 1-1 at home, and 1-1 on the road. Or, 0-2 against good teams, and 2-0 against the Wolves. Last week the Jazz got bumped up by everybody for their wins against the Memphis Grizzlies and Philadelphia 76ers. I think our team is playing better and deserves another bump in the standings. But what did the rest of the National media think?
|Site:||ESPN||Record:||12-22||We're starting to get those increased doses of Rudy Gobert next to Derrick Favors in support of Gordon Hayward. And we're starting to see these kids, in a conference the brochure says will devour its young, scratch out a few W's. Six in the past eight games, to be exact, with only a couple of cupcakes in that stretch.|
|Author:||Marc Stein||This Week:||#19|
|Site:||SB Nation||Record:||12-22||Alec Burks is out for the rest of the season, so why not give Dante Exum some time at shooting guard for the rest of the season? The Jazz have a lot of "figuring out" to do still, and learning more about both Exum and Trey Burke -- and discovering if they can play together -- is something that should be high on the list for Quin Snyder.|
|Author:||Drew Garrison||This Week:||#23|
|Site:||Yahoo! Sports||Record:||12-22||Utah is awaiting word on the severity of guard Patrick Christopher’s dislocated knee to determine the direction of its 10-day-contract move, a source said.|
|Author:||Marc J. Spears||This Week:||#22|
|Site:||CBS Sports||Record:||12-22||The hard part with teams like Utah is that you can't look at progress as a game-by-game concept. It's over time, with lots of inconsistencies. The Jazz had a net rating of minus-4.1 in November. In December, that was cut to minus-2.8. They're improving. Slowly.|
|Author:||Matt Moore||This Week:||#22|
|Site:||Sports Illustrated||Record:||12-22||Trey Burke had two of his best games of the season last week, dropping 26 and 28 points respectively. Unfortunately for the Jazz’s starting point guard, wedged in between those two games was a horrific 2-of-19 effort, including an 0-of-11 showing from three-point range.|
|Author:||Matt Dollinger||This Week:||#23|
Pace: 92.5 (28), OffRtg: 104.0 (13), DefRtg: 107.7 (27), NetRtg: -3.7 (24)
The Jazz have been beating the teams they're supposed to beat with what's been a top-10 defense over the last 2 1/2 weeks (though that's somewhat skewed by a game against Philly). Increased minutes for Rudy Gobert, the league's best rim protector, has been a factor. With injuries in the backcourt, we're seeing more of the Trey Burke - Dante Exum combo.
|Author:||John Schuhmann||This Week:||#19|
I'm okay with this. And I think National writers are feeling more okay about the Jazz as well. It's not as a big jump across the board as last week, but this is what a 2-2 week gets you. The Jazz are coming to the point now on the national attention where simply beating the teams they should beat isn't going to bump them up in the standings or rankings anymore. And in the big picture, that's what we want.
What's a 19-23 rank? Well, the Top 16 teams (in theory) make the playoffs. So on one hand the Jazz are approaching the doldrums where they can fight some of the good teams and win some of the time, but it's a huge step forward compared to LAST season where the team won only 25 games. This Jazz team is 48% of the way to that total already, and we're not even a week in to January yet. This is a team on the rise.