As we enter the 2017-18 NBA Playoffs there is a sense of fun and excitement for Utah Jazz fans. Fans all want the Jazz to win the Championship THIS YEAR, and anything can happen - that is why they play the games. But what are realistic expectations for this team in this year's playoffs?
To beat the best you must be one of the three best
The most dominant number of all - Since the merger in 1984 the only teams that have won the Championship are teams that finished with the top three records in the league. The best teams of the regular season win it all. (One exception - 1994 Houston, but they were the defending Champs). In all the other sports there are weak teams that can get hot in the playoffs and win it all. Not the NBA. The Championship teams are the ones that can bring it every night, every game. Just as Houston has done this year.
The Jazz do not have one of the top three records. They are not likely to win the Championship.
Could the Utah Jazz be an exception?
However over the past 35 games Utah is 29-6 which is the 2nd best in the league to Houston during that stretch. Of all the teams in the history of the NBA who have started off with a poor record and then turned it around... no team has done it better than the Jazz--not even close. This is a historic mid-season improvement. Is that enough to win it all in the playoffs? This is a great reason to follow these games.
The Utah Jazz are close ...
We have seen what a Championship level team looks like (mid-90's), and this year's team doesn't feel there yet. But this feels close. This feels like the year we take Houston to 7 games in the second round (before losing at least two games we should have won!) and putting everyone on notice that we could be the best team in the league next year. This current team feels eerily similar to the Jazz team that was just a 'Jeff Hornacek' away from a title run.
Melo's People of Utah
Two words: Carmelo Anthony. Utah has usually controlled Carmelo in the playoffs and that was when he was good. This year's version has got to cost them at least one game in the playoffs against the Jazz.
The Rebirth of Ricky Rubio
What to expect from this guy? This is a whole new player. Utah traded a first round pick for Rubio. Imagine if the Jazz had drafted a 1st round player who performed as Rubio has this year - I'm thinking this was a good trade. Also a personality like Rubio's belongs in Utah more than Minnesota or other less personable cities. Here he is years ago in Utah impressing the Utah fans
Utah's team chemistry
Team Ability. Utah should win this series because they are a well put together team with elite and promising talent while OKC is a somewhat underperforming team given the great talent they possess. I am guessing 6 games with us winning twice in OKC.
Utah can follow in Houston's footsteps
Three years ago Houston has a pretty good team and didn't get far in the playoffs. Last year Houston has a very good team and didn't win it all but seemed close. This year they have been the best team, and against Utah they have played at a higher level than the Jazz. Hopefully we can bring out the best in Houston as the only way to get past Utah, and in 7 games.
Utah has a small but tight-knit fanbase
We are the fans and supporters of this Utah Jazz team and we should be considered a big plus over the OKC fans, who have to worry if the other players will even stay on Westbrook's team.
[Editorial Note: The main title and header titles were added to the piece when this was selected as a Featured FanPost.]