Welcome to the holidays everyone! Christmas is this week, Star Wars is out, and all is right with the world.
The Jazz finally ended their losing streak last week to the Nuggets and currently sit at 8th in the West but only 1 game ahead of the 12th place Kings. The Jazz's margin of error is dangerously slim as they continue to push through this stretch of games where they are down their best defensive guard and big in Exum and Gobert.
As repeated ad nauseum by me before, if the Jazz can stay afloat while Gobert is out, they will be well set up to take the West by storm for the 2nd half of the season and maybe even finish higher than a token 7th or 8th seed.
Trey Lyles is doing his part in the community and took some time to see one special Jazz little one at the hospital yesterday.
Yes, that is the same JP Gibson that played in that Jazz scrimmage before last seaosn.
So where do the Jazz sit within the league after this recent slump?
Well, they are still the slowest team in the league by pace/possessions per game. It may be counter-intuitive for such a young team to play so slow, but as a team that is meant to specialize in defense, at least there is some reasoning.
Currently the Jazz have the 5th lowest assist ratio, are in the middle of the league in turnover ratio, 8th in the league in rebounding ratio, 17th in Offensive Efficiency, and tied for 18th in Defensive Efficiency (I've heard they were top 5 before Rudy went down, and bottom of the league ever since).
If you wish to see other teams' sortable stats check it out over at ESPN here.
Despite being 3 games under .500 currently, fret not (at least not yet), the Jazz are still overly projected to finish in the playoffs this year.
Here are some BPI Playoff Odds over at ESPN:
And here is what Basketball-reference currently projects:
Holy (expletive) (expletive) (expletive) (expletive)!!!!!!!!!
Do you all see that?! That says we have a 0.2% chance of winning the finals this year, and only 1 of 6 teams in the West with a shot this year!
It baffles me that both of these projections show that the 7th team in the West will have a losing record this year. It's had to have been around 25 years since that happened last.
In recent seasons, 48-win teams were missing the cut in the West.
What's the cause of this bizarro NBA season?
Does the West suck now?
Are the Warriors and Spurs hoarding all the wins in the conference?
Is the East getting better finally?
Are teams mailing it in due to the Warriors and Spurs just looking insurmountable this year?
What do you all think? Why in the world does it look like the 7th team in the West is going to have a losing record this year?
Well regardless of the reason it gives me and the Jazz franchise a new hope that Gobert's return and a weak West this year will lead to the Jazz having good odds of making some noise this postseason!
The Jazz play 3 games this week.
Home game vs. the Suns tonight at 7 PM.
At the Warriors on Wednesday at 8:30 PM (you may want to skip this one if the Jazz getting blown out upsets you)
Home vs. the Clippers on Saturday at 7 PM.
How do the Jazz fare this week?
One last bitter tidbit to conclude today's downbeat:
Kobe Bryant is playing his 16th Christmas Game this week.
The Jazz have not played a Christmas Game since 1997 and only 6 in history. Crazy.