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Utah Jazz Power Rankings Round-Up: Week 18

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Power Rankings from CBS, ESPN, FiveThirtyEight, SB Nation, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo!, and NBA.com

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Past Rankings! Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8, Week 9, Week 10, Week 11, Week 12, Week 13, Week 14, Week 15, Week 16, Week 17

The Utah Jazz are on a roll finishing February 6-5, and more specifically, going 3-1 last week with wins against the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets (on the road), and the playoff bound Milwaukee Bucks. Their only sin was a lost, at home, to the hapless Los Angeles Lakers. Now, I do get it, LA is also playing better. But there's no way our guys should have lost when they were playing without Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Nick Young, Ronnie Price, and so forth. Anyway, despite that poor game I think our team has turned the corner as a franchise.

We're winning again. And it's almost as if we don't expect to ever lose.

But that's what I think. What did the National Writers have to say?

1 Site: CBS Sports Record: 23-35 Jazz players said this week that coach Quin Snyder's message has included numbers that show they've improved, even if it hasn't felt like it. The Jazz have won three of four. It's starting to feel like they've improved.
Author: Matt Moore This Week: #21
Date: 3/2/2015 Last Week: #22
2 Site: ESPN Record: 23-35 Ed. Note: Computers don't talk, but they can love.
Author: Hollinger This Week: #13
Date: 3/2/2015 Last Week: #15
3 Site: ESPN Record: 23-35 You can debate whether the Jazz have gotten enough back for the three quality big men they've surrendered since July 2013: Al Jefferson , Paul Millsap and Enes Kanter. What can't be debated is that their Rudy Gobert -anchored team D was as good as we saw from any club in February.
Author: Marc Stein This Week: #17
Date: 3/2/2015 Last Week: #22
4 Site: FiveThirtyEight Record: 23-35 Related to the previous point, it’s worth mentioning that the Utah Jazz have a zero percent probability of making the playoffs despite ranking 12th in talent. What happened? Utah’s record has undershot its Pythagorean expectation by three wins, but the team has also improved its talent rating recently (granted, by too little and too late) by jettisoning Enes Kanter and his -2.5 RPM in a three-team trade with Oklahoma City and the Detroit Pistons.
Author: Neil Paine This Week: #12
Date: 3/2/2015 Last Week: #15
5 Site: NBA.com Record: 23-35

Pace: 92.9 (29) OffRTG: 102.6 (15) DefRTG: 104.4 (23) NetRTG: -1.8 (18)
It might not be a coincidence that the Jazz had the league's best defense in the month they traded Enes Kanter. Their 4-1 mark since the All-Star break includes wins over three playoff teams (Portland, San Antonio and Milwaukee) in which Trey Burke averaged 21.7 points off the bench. He's averaged more points and shot better as a reserve than as a starter.

Author: John Schuhmann This Week: #16
Date: 3/2/2015 Last Week: #19
6 Site: SB Nation Record: 23-35 Utah is 4-1 since the trade deadline, including wins over the Bucks, Spurs and Trail Blazers. Their lone loss to the Lakers was especially painful because L.A. didn't have Nick Young, but for a team that's been flirting with the bottom five for much of the year, they might actually be turning a new page with Enes Kanter moving out of town.
Author: Drew Garrison This Week: #22
Date: 3/2/2015 Last Week: #22
7 Site: Sports Illustrated Record: 23-35 The Jazz—yes, the Jazz!—lead the NBA in defensive rating since the All-Star break (87.1) and have allowed just one of five opponents to top 82 points. Utah has won six of its last eight games, including wins over the Blazers and Spurs, and is playing the most surprising basketball of the season outside of the Pistons’ post- Josh Smith turnaround.
Author: Matt Dollinger This Week: #19
Date: 3/2/2015 Last Week: #22
8 Site: Yahoo! Sports Record: 23-35 Fantasy basketball alert: Guard Trey Burke has averaged 18.2 points while shooting 47.8 percent from 3-point range since the All-Star break.
Author: Marc J. Spears This Week: #20
Date: 3/2/2015 Last Week: #22

Please note we've added some more, and I've alphabetized the list by outlet and author. The good news is that the team went up by a combined +16 spots this week that's an average of +2.29 for each National Writers. The bad news is that the average spot is still only 17.5. It's a team outside the playoffs, but when you look at where the team is now from where they were at the start of the season it's hard to deny the progress.

The bad news is that the people who appreciate the Jazz the most are computers or numbers driven algorithms like the Hollinger ratings for ESPN, or FiveThirtyEight's Neil Paine. The most subjective cats have us still on the down and down, despite having a really solid week. I guess SB Nation's Drew Garrison, the Amar for the Lakers, puts a lot of stock in the Lakers loss, as he didn't have the Jazz move up at all despite beating the Spurs, Nuggets, and Bucks in the same week.

Anyway, I'm not upset. Everyone, on the whole, seems to recognize the Jazz' ascent. Watch out world!

This Week: @ Memphis Grizzlies, @ Boston Celtics, @ Philadelphia 76ers, @ Brooklyn Nets