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Could the Utah Jazz defense be even better?

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The Utah Jazz defense could still be improving.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Just a little over two weeks into the season, I’ve already gone through multiple highs and lows over the Utah Jazz. They’ve had a stretch where they lost three of four games and are now on a three-game win streak. Someone on the Jazz staff owes me for pain and suffering.

And that’s after just eight games. Welcome to the 2017-18 season.

League Best Defense?

As expected, the Jazz have one of the top defenses in the NBA. Per 100 possessions the Jazz are behind only the Boston Celtics in points allowed (98.1). But even that might be selling the Jazz short. David Locke gave some context to just how impressive that number is.

“Digging into the numbers and the Jazz defense looks more suffocating. Four of the Jazz eight opponents are currently ranked in the top 10 offensively. The Jazz have held three of the four substantially below their season average. The Denver Nuggets offensive rating against the Jazz was 98.7, in all their other games their offense has been a 107.3. The Minnesota Timberwolves were 5.2 pts per 100 worse against the Jazz than in all their other games. Oklahoma City whose offense is rolling at 108.1 in all games other than the Jazz was a 91.2 against the Jazz.”

Yea, the defense is OK.

Ricky Rubio’s Improvement

In other news, there should be missing person case opened in Minnesota. Because one Ricky Rubio has disappeared and been replaced by someone else. This version is averaging fewer assists, scoring more effectively and is a great shooter.

Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News wrote about Rubio’s offseason work and how it has helped.

“Utah head coach Quin Snyder credited Rubio for the hard work he’s put in since being traded to the Jazz on June 30, particularly as it relates to watching film with the coaching staff.

“‘When you’re investing that much in something, you just play,” Snyder said. “It gives you confidence. That’s what we’ve tried to instill in him, is that confidence. He hasn’t abused that in any way.’”

The fresh start in Utah seems to have lit a fire under the pants of Rubio.

WE’RE GOING STREAKING!!!

Fun fact: right now the Jazz have the longest current win streak in the Western Conference with three wins. If you include the Eastern Conference they are behind the Celtics’ six-game streak (which has reversed their 0-2 start) and tied with the Pacers, Hornets and 76ers.

The next accomplishment is to win a road game.

His name is Jonas, and he was ready to play

When Jonas Jerebko was acquired by the Jazz, the expectation wasn’t for him to play four minutes in seven games. But when asked to step up in the wake of Joe Johnson’s injury, he made his mark.

As mentioned, he played only four minutes in seven games. But he played 20 against the Trail Blazers. He had a low-key box score with 8 points and 7 assists, but his two made three-pointers were big in Utah’s win.

In an article by Kyle Goon, Quin Snyder praised Jerebko’s positive attitude.

“‘He’s been another guy who has just stayed positive,” [Snyder] said. “It’s easy to have faith in guys who keep working no matter what.’”

Unapologetic Donovan Mitchell ROY Campaign

And here’s where I shoe-horn in a Donovan Mitchell reference. He’s still hanging around the Rookie of the Year conversations, but is still the last name mentioned in every list that isn’t alphabetical.

It’s a long shot, but if Mitchell continues to ball the way he has been he’ll finally get some hype and rise above the struggling Lonzo Ball in ROY votes.