Zach Lowe ranked the Utah Jazz 20th in his Annual NBA League Pass Rankings. The rankings are based on these factors:
PLAYOFFS/ZEITGEIST: A rough estimate of a team's place in the national barroom debate. This naturally favors good teams, controversy and teams that might drive the trade marketplace.
INDIVIDUAL HIGHLIGHT PRODUCTION: We're looking for players who make Twitter explode and force everyone not watching them to change channels. Curiosities such as Joel Embiid and (sigh) Ben Simmons pump up a team's score here.
STYLE: Fast breaks and fancy passing are more fun than plodding iso-ball. Starless teams, such as the peak Mike Budenholzer Hawks, can gain ground in this category.
LEAGUE PASS MINUTIA: Instead of looking at your spouse, you'll be gazing at the court and the uniforms. Instead of hearing about his or her workday, you'll listen to announcers yapping about the action. On some level, these things define the look and feel of an NBA game.
UNINTENTIONAL COMEDY: This was Bill Simmons' pet category, back when we started this at Grantland. The silly, stupid and Vine-worthy get you points here: Dion Waiters' forlorn pleas for the basketball, everything JaVale McGee has ever done, Kendrick Perkins taking 17 steps without dribbling, teammate feuds, Nick Young's shot selection, Tom Thibodeau's bellow and much, much more.
Here’s what Zach Lowe said about the Utah Jazz:
We're all excited about the Jazz, but can they speed it the hell up already? Utah ranked dead last in pace, and their possessions after snagging defensive rebounds -- opportunities to run! -- were egregiously slow, per the tracking site Inpredictable. Utah frittered away the first 10 seconds of every possession with rote sequences of passes and cuts before getting to the real stuff.
The Hawks and Spurs go through similar rituals, but with more vigor -- and heightened awareness for openings to abort and attack. Quin Snyder has talked about ditching the prelude more often, and that would help a middle-of-the-road offense that grinds amid cramped spacing when Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert share the floor.
We saw that pairing in only 49 games last season, after they went Godzilla on the league in the last two months of the season. The Jazz need to see more of it, against top competition, before declaring Favors and Gobert the $50 million long-term frontline -- especially with Trey Lyles looking like a stretchy playmaker who could play alongside either.
Utah sussing all of that out ahead of Gordon Hayward's free agency makes for a juicy subplot. Boris Diaw is a one-of-a-kind trickster, the new court puts that perfect jazz note logo in a more prominent position, and Snyder makes the best coach faces.
I can only imagine that Boris Diaw raised the Utah Jazz’s ranking. After last night however with Rudy Gobert putting up 21 and 10 and Dante Exum looking Dante-mite, this ranking should be much higher next year.
To read the rest of Zach Lowe’s rankings go here: The Annual NBA League Pass Rankings.