Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NBA. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged in Utah Jazz fans, and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.
According to the most recent SB Nation Reacts survey, 94 percent of Jazz fans are confident the team is headed in the right direction. That’s up from 88 percent last week.
This is interesting considering this coincides with the Jazz losing Donovan Mitchell to an ankle injury a few weeks ago. Had that injury been more severe, this might have been different.
But even with Donovan Mitchell missing multiple games, Jazz fans have seen some encouraging signs recently.
The best sign in recent games has been the offense of Bojan Bogdanovic emerging. In the last 7 games, Bogdanovic has shot 44% from three on 7.7 attempts per game. Considering that coincides with Mitchell going down with injury, and Bogdanovic getting more focus from opposing defenses, you can assume that production will continue when Mitchell returns. Of all the variables this season, Bogdanovic’s production has been the most inconsistent. But if that consistency is back, something Jazz fans grew accustomed to last season, there’s reason to get very excited.
The other thing that Jazz fans can tentatively get excited about is the shooting of Royce O’Neale. O’Nelae is possibly coming out of a major slump recently. O’Neale has shot 38% from three in his last five games and he’s shooting it with more confidence. You can see him taking it and expecting to make the shot. It’s small sample size, but in the 33 games before that, O’Neale shot 31%. If O’Neale can get back to the 40+% 3-pt shooter he was the first half of the season, the Jazz have zero weaknesses offensively and can punish teams from the 3-pt line like they did when they went on their huge tear earlier in the year.
As teams prepare for the final push of the season, more teams than ever have an opportunity to see some form of postseason play. Because of a rule change for just the 2020 season, two more teams from each conference will have a chance to chase a title.
This season, seeds seven through 10 will participate in a play-in tournament with two advancing to the regular postseason. The seven and eight seeds will need to win only one game to advance, while the bottom two seeds would need to win both games.
According to a majority of fans around the country, the play-in tournament is having the desired effect. Nearly two-thirds of fans believe the new format is keeping more teams engaged and preventing at least some teams from tanking for a draft pick.
More than that, a nearly identical percentage of fans find the concept of a play-in game exciting.
For now, the playoff format is in place just for this season. However, if the league finds success with the play-in, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see it tried again.
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