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Revisiting our Utah Jazz player rankings from the start of the season

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How well did the staff of SLC Dunk rank this year’s roster?

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Before the 2017-2018 started, we ran through the Utah Jazz roster and ranked them one at a time. We started at the bottom and worked our way up to the most important player on the team. It was a fun exercise to put all of you Dunkers’ heads together to come up with the list.

Now that this incredible season has come to a close, I think it’s only fitting that we revisit our rankings to see how well they were according to each player’s performance this year. Here’s the recap of the ranking:

  1. Rudy Gobert
  2. Ricky Rubio
  3. Rodney Hood
  4. Derrick Favors
  5. Joe Ingles
  6. Joe Johnson
  7. Donovan Mitchell
  8. Dante Exum
  9. Thabo Sefolosha
  10. Alec Burks
  11. Jonas Jerebko
  12. Ekpe Udoh
  13. Raul Neto
  14. Tony Bradley
  15. Eric Griffin
  16. Joel Bolomboy
  17. Royce O’Neale
  18. Nate Walters

Wow. Let’s just say it’s a good thing that Dennis Lindsey is the general manager of the Utah Jazz and that Quin Snyder is the head coach. While I think we did a decent job overall, some of the rankings were as bad as a James Harden flop.

First off, Rudy Gobert is undoubtably the most important player on this Jazz team in regards to winning. When he went down, so did Utah. The Jazz were dead in the water at 19-28 and were statistically unlikely to make the playoffs. Rudy didn’t care and he wanted nothing to do with probabilities or chances.

Turns out he was right. The ship was righted and the Jazz went on to win 29 of their final 35 games to crash the Western Conference playoff party. That wasn’t enough, however, as they proceeded to send the supposed Super Team of OKC home early in the first round. Gobert was a huge reason for that and the statistics show it. That’s why he is this year’s Defensive Player of the Year.

But boy did we get some of these rankings wrong. Had it been up to SLC Dunk, Royce O’Neale wouldn’t even have made the roster. Instead, the undrafted rookie out of Baylor worked his way not only onto the roster, but into the rotation. In fact, he played nearly 22 minutes a game during Utah’s season turnaround and ended with the 6th most minutes on the team this year. He was also the starter when Ricky Rubio got hurt in the playoffs, averaging 10.4 points and 4 rebounds while playing great defense on James Harden. This guy earned every minute he played and dollar he was paid this year.

The next most under ranked player in my opinion would be true rookie Donovan Mitchell. We pegged him as the 7th most important player on the roster coming into the season, but I could not be happier about us being so wrong. He broke record after record this year, both for the franchise and the league. He put the entire league on notice and took them by storm. From 40+ scoring nights, to spin-cycle dribble drives, and dunk contest champion, this kid had a rare rookie season. I couldn’t believe how he could continue to surprise me with his talent and highlight-worthy plays night in and night out. He isn’t just one of the best players on the Jazz, he’s one of the best players in the NBA. And did I mention that he’s a rookie? I’m a little terrified for the rest of the league when he has a full offseason with Utah’s development staff.

We also highly ranked a couple guys that are no longer even on the roster in Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson. Arguments could certainly be made that we were fairly off with their rankings as well, but in the opposite direction as Royce O’Neale and Donovan Mitchell. The rank is missing mid-season addition Jae Crowder, and seeing where he fits in will be really interesting.

This really was one of the most enjoyable Jazz seasons of my lifetime. It’s only day 3 of the offseason for the Utah Jazz, and I already cannot wait until next season. For now, we’ll have to settle for discussions about offseason directions, draft options, and free agent targets. I look forward to re-ranking this roster before next season starts!

At the end of the rankings last year, Alec Burks was voted as most likely to be considered the most inaccurate rank by season’s end. I ask the same question again here:

Poll

Who was the most under ranked player this season?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    1. Rudy Gobert
    (10 votes)
  • 2%
    2. Ricky Rubio
    (45 votes)
  • 0%
    3. Rodney Hood
    (7 votes)
  • 1%
    4. Derrick Favors
    (27 votes)
  • 3%
    5. Joe Ingles
    (64 votes)
  • 0%
    6. Joe Johnson
    (1 vote)
  • 44%
    7. Donovan Mitchell
    (869 votes)
  • 0%
    8. Dante Exum
    (13 votes)
  • 0%
    9. Thabo Sefolosha
    (9 votes)
  • 1%
    10. Alec Burks
    (31 votes)
  • 0%
    11. Jonas Jerebko
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    12. Ekpe Udoh
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    13. Raul Neto
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    14. Tony Bradley
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    15. Eric Griffin
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    16. Joel Bolomboy
    (1 vote)
  • 43%
    17. Royce O’Neale
    (836 votes)
  • 0%
    18. Nate Walters
    (6 votes)
1932 votes total Vote Now

And for the other side of things:

Poll

Who was the most over ranked player this season?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    1. Rudy Gobert
    (33 votes)
  • 1%
    2. Ricky Rubio
    (18 votes)
  • 75%
    3. Rodney Hood
    (1285 votes)
  • 1%
    4. Derrick Favors
    (24 votes)
  • 0%
    5. Joe Ingles
    (6 votes)
  • 12%
    6. Joe Johnson
    (213 votes)
  • 0%
    7. Donovan Mitchell
    (11 votes)
  • 2%
    8. Dante Exum
    (37 votes)
  • 0%
    9. Thabo Sefolosha
    (15 votes)
  • 0%
    10. Alec Burks
    (13 votes)
  • 0%
    11. Jonas Jerebko
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    12. Ekpe Udoh
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    13. Raul Neto
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    14. Tony Bradley
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    15. Eric Griffin
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    16. Joel Bolomboy
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    17. Royce O’Neale
    (9 votes)
  • 0%
    18. Nate Walters
    (8 votes)
1697 votes total Vote Now