Our Utah Jazz had a lovely weekend. It’s always so much more fun to write downbeats when we are on a winning streak. It’s also nice to be on a win streak when it seems like everyone in the Western Conference is always winning (except for the Lakers haha).
Let’s look at the standings:
With 13 games left we still have no idea where we will be when the playoffs start, really only that 1st and 2nd are out of reach for us. Home-court is still a strong possibility in the first round. It seems like these standings have been what they are for the last month or so, with a little variance between 3-5 and then 6-8; no team has really hopped up or gone down from those ranges.
I would love to have home-court. We haven’t had home court since we faced the Golden State Warriors in 2007, 12 years ago! It’s been 12 years since we have had home court in the playoffs and that was only because the We Believe Warriors shocked the world and beat the #1 seed Dallas Mavericks (I wasn’t shocked, I had that dream that Dirk came to my house to play Skip-Bo and when I asked why he said you know why Diana, you know we are out of the playoffs thanks to the Warriors).
Anyway, before 2007, the Jazz last had home-court in the 2001 playoffs when the Jazz were the 4th seed but lost to the Dallas Mavericks in dramatically sad fashion. After going up 2-0 on the Mavs, the Jazz lost three straight to lose the series.
Since the 1999-2000 season- Utah Jazz playoff summary:
- First round series appearances: 11
- First round series wins: 6
- Second round series appearances: 6
- Second round series wins: 1
- Conference Finals appearances: 1
- Conference Finals wins: 0
- NBA Finals appearances and wins: 0
Assuming we make it into the playoffs this season, we will have made it at least to the first round 12-of-20 years. How do we feel the Jazz have done in the post season the last 20 years? Yes, we were spoiled with making the playoffs for 20 straight years (1984-2003). Only making it 60% of the time doesn’t feel that great when you compare it to 20 straight years. 60% doesn’t seem too bad however, when you have had three different coaches, an owner who died, two different GMs, and changes in the CEO.
What about now? What about now that our franchise is stable once again? I don’t know if it’s realistic for a small market franchise to have the success our Jazz team had in the 80’s and 90’s. I don’t know if it’s realistic to expect Quin Snyder to stay in Utah to provide the stability that Jerry Sloan brought to the bench. I don’t know if it’s realistic to expect Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert to stay for nearly twenty years like our hall-of-fame players, John Stockton and Karl Malone. What should we realistically expect from a smart and innovative yet conservative small market team like the Utah Jazz?
I don’t know the answers. I do know we are lucky to have the owner we have in Gail Miller. The CEO we have in Steve Starks. Dennis Lindsey as the GM and Quin Snyder as head coach. We are set up nicely for the near future with them at the helm and Donovan and Rudy on the court.
What do you expect this season:
If we finish 7th where we currently sit, I would be disappointed if we didn’t beat the Denver Nuggets. As Jazz fans we know as well as anyone that regular season success as a team against another team does not automatically guarantee success in the playoffs against the same time. In 2016-2017, the Jazz lost the regular season series to the LA Clippers 1-3. In 2017-2018 the Jazz lost the regular season series to the OKC Thunder 1-3. We know the Jazz went on to beat those two teams in the playoffs. This year we have shown that we can’t beat the Nuggets, we can also beat them in Denver. Rudy Gobert also has played Nikola Jokic very well. Rudy and Nikola have played 10 games against each other. Rudy leads 7-3. This season Nikola has only averaged 17 points against the Jazz. In his career he averages just 13 ppg against Rudy and the Jazz. In his career he averages 16.1 ppg and this season he is averaging 20.3 ppg. The Jazz have played great defense against Jokic! Also how nice would it be to go against former Jazz players Paul Millsap and Trey Lyles!
If the Jazz do beat the Nuggets (again I recognize that regular season success does not always indicate playoff success) I do not expect them to beat the Rockets. The Rockets seem to have another gear in the playoffs. It was super impressive to get 1 win against the Rockets last playoffs with Ricky Rubio out the entire series and Dante Exum out the last game. Look at us getting use to playing without most of our point guards. With our scoring droughts it might be hard to beat James Harden and the Rockets in the playoffs. Our defense though, always gives us a chance!
What do you expect for this season? What will make it successful to finish the regular season and what will make it successful in the playoffs?