[UPDATE March 10th: Added the info from 538 and NC]
The Utah Jazz are on a roll for reals. They are a 1 point loss to the Boston Celtics and a 3 points loss to the Los Angeles Lakers away from having won 9 straight games. That is remarkable. I'm using that word a lot on the site lately, but what the team is doing is truly that. Anyway, the last week had the Jazz play at the Memphis Grizzlies (W), at the Boston Celtics (L), at the Philadelphia 76ers (W), and at the Brooklyn Nets (W). Beating one of the best teams in the West, and going on a tour of some of the largest media markets in the East Coast Bias-y parts of America should help the team get some shine, right? I think the team is doing great. But that's just me. What did the rest of the world have to say?
First up, there are now 10 different rankings we are interested in. I've added NBC and Nylon Calculus to the mix. Of course, two do not yet have rankings up today -- NC being one, the other being FiveThirtyEight. Let's go numbers guys, Hollinger's stuff is automatic!
|1||Site:||CBS Sports||Record:||26-36||Utah is stealth good. They're ninjas at being good. They look like a really terrible team and then you show up and all of a sudden they're everywhere.|
|Author:||Matt Moore||This Week:||16|
|3||Site:||ESPN||Record:||26-36||What has to excite The SLC as it soaks up Gobert Fever -- beyond the fact that Monsieur French Rejection has anchored the NBA's stingiest defense since he became a starter -- is that Utah came within a second of a 4-0 road trip without even seeing Alec Burks. Quin Snyder and Dennis Lindsey are building something.|
|Author:||Marc Stein||This Week:||15|
|4||Site:||FiveThirtyEight||Record:||26-36||+0.2 OFF RTG, +1.4 DEF RTG -- +1.6 TOT RTG|
|Author:||Neil Paine||This Week:||12|
Pace: 92.7 (30) OffRtg: 102.5 (15) DefRtg: 103.7 (17) NetRtg: -1.2 (18)
The Jazz are in the middle of a stretch where they're playing eight of 10 games against Eastern Conference opponents. And by the end of it, they may have a record that would be good enough to make the playoffs in the East. Starting point guard Dante Exum has more than three assists in just one of his last 10 games, but hit four threes in Sunday's win in Brooklyn.
|Author:||John Schuhmann||This Week:||15|
|6||Site:||NBC||Record:||26-36||Quin Snyder was brought in to develop talent ant that is happening — the Jazz have found their defensive identity. They have a run of games against the East and should rack up some win is that stretch.|
|Author:||Kurt Helin||This Week:||17|
|7||Site:||Nylon Calculus||Record:||26-36||The Jazz are not only still in the top ten, but they’ve climbed! The Jazz are legit, as is Rudy Gobert, and even if we expect them to slow down by the end of the year they’re a threatening team now behind a stifling defense, and they’re gonna be a sneak threat to the Western playoffs next season with another draft pick in their belt.|
|Author:||Hal Brown||This Week:||8|
|8||Site:||SB Nation||Record:||26-36||The most definitive piece written on the Jazz right now? The great Paul Flannery dove into how great Utah's defense has been with Rudy Gobert taking the reins:
|Author:||Drew Garrison||This Week:||22|
|9||Site:||Sports Illustrated||Record:||26-36||Utah’s defense has only allowed one team to score 90 points over its last 10 games, leading to a 7-3 record. The difference has been Rudy Gobert, who has been inserted into the starting lineup and is averaging 9.6 points, 13.2 rebounds 2.8 blocks since the All-Star break. Utah's defensive rating jumps from 110.4 to 102.8 (-7.6) with The Stifle Tower on the floor.|
|Author:||Matt Dollinger||This Week:||17|
|10||Site:||Yahoo! Sports||Record:||26-36||Utah has surpassed last season’s win total and is 7-3 when starting Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Dante Exum and Joe Ingles.|
|Author:||Marc J. Spears||This Week:||20|
Secondly, most everyone seems to recognize the team is playing better. Furthermore, almost everyone has the team getting better. Marc Spears does not, and SB Nation's Drew has the Jazz at #22 for three straight weeks now. That's just nuts, and I will call him out on that.
Overall, the team is up +14 spots with two more power rankings to drop. That's not bad. What was once thought off as a Bottom 5 team by some is now in the mid teens. (Average rank is 16.75) In a playoffs where the Top 16 make it we're almost a playoff team in the eyes of the National Media right now.
Thank you Based Gobert. (Why am I among the first to use that phrase, if not the first?)