Another week, another late Power Rankings round up -- seems like this is the new norm. C'mon Amar, stop slacking! Okay, well, these rankings are for the Week where the Utah Jazz played two games before the All-Star break. The Jazz beat the New Orleans Pelicans, and lost to the Dallas Mavericks. A 1-1 week against two strong Western Conference teams isn't bad, but it's also what we expect of the Jazz at this point. For a bit more context, this is what the team did the previous week: they barely lost to the Portland Trail Blazers, lost again in a tough one to the Memphis Grizzlies, dropped another to the Phoenix Suns, and then finally beat a team -- the Sacramento Kings. So at the All-Star break the Jazz were 2-4 in the month of February. Looking at the schedule that's not bad. And the 1-1 week they just had didn't make me feel bad about the team.
But that's just me, what did the national writers think? (Be aware, these are really dated because they were before the Trade Deadline!)
|Site:||ESPN||Record:||19-34||The Jazz are in a weird place: Not bad enough to draw the ire of the anti-tank brigade, but not good enough to get in the mix for No. 8 in the West. Yet they remain must-see if only for Rudy Gobert and his two sensational nicknames: Stifle Tower and French Rejection. (Adam Reisinger, ESPN.com)|
|Author:||Marc Stein||This Week:||#24|
|Site:||SB Nation||Record:||19-34||The Jazz have a frontcourt logjam that became even more apparent with
fantastic Rising Stars game outing:|
Maybe Enes Kanter will get a ticket out of Utah before Feb. 19 after all.
|Author:||Drew Garrison||This Week:||#24|
|Site:||Yahoo! Sports||Record:||19-34||Guard Trey Burke and center Enes Kanter could be on the move; guard and center Rudy Gobert make them expendable.|
|Author:||Marc J. Spears||This Week:||#19|
|Site:||CBS Sports||Record:||19-34||They've improved in net points-per-possession every month of the season. There's real, sustainable growth there. Utah just needs time and good fortune.|
|Author:||Matt Moore||This Week:||#20|
|Author:||Matt Dollinger||This Week:||--|
|Site:||NBA.com||Record:||19-34||Pace: 92.8 (28) OffRtg: 102.9 (15) DefRtg: 106.1 (27) NetRtg: -3.1 (21)
It's too bad that there are restrictions on trades. If Enes Kanter wants out of Utah, it would be best if he just kept moving to whatever team the Knicks were playing next, because he can't guard pick-and-rolls and New York doesn't run them. But if Kanter's going to be the guy to force Quin Snyder to play and Rudy Gobert big minutes together, so be it.
|Author:||John Schuhmann||This Week:||#22|
Yeeeeaaaaaaaahhhh, this is fun to read now that Kanter did, indeed, get traded. Also, I don't know why SI didn't have an updated power rankings for the Week after the All-Star Break. I guess Matt D took a week off just like I did. So I can't fault him. Overall, we're seeing some stability here. The Jazz went -1, 0, 0, 0, and +2 that week. The idea we see here is that Utah isn't the worst (thanks), but is indeed approaching those doldrums of not being quite good enough to talk about regularly.
The difference between THESE doldrums and the one the team was in back in the/ days is that a) the players will individually get better, which b) will upgrade the roster and team organically. Sap and Big Al weren't going to improve from what they were, and the team was similarly not likely to get better. When your core group is a bench of 22 and 23 year olds, with "old guys" like Derrick Favors and it's obvious that the team is going to get better. Utah is not likely to be in these doldrums for much longer. And the power rankings will reflect that.