According to the latest SB Nation Reacts survey, 93 percent of Jazz fans are confident the team is headed in the right direction. That’s down from 97 percent last week but up from 88 percent two weeks ago.
This consistent belief in the Utah Jazz parallels the consistency of the Jazz this season. Jazz fans have no reason to not believe in the Jazz based on everything they’ve seen this season. The Jazz ended the season with the best record in the NBA because of a consistent execution of a winning system.
Surrounding Rudy Gobert, the presumptive DPOY for this season, is always 4 players that can shoot the ball. And amongst those 4 players are always multiple ball handlers. So no matter what combination is on the floor, the Utah Jazz are able to attack defenses from multiple angles. When a defense has a weakness, Utah is always able to exploit it. There’s a reason the Jazz have a COY, DPOY and multiple 6MOY candidates on one team.
On the defensive end, the Jazz have Rudy Gobert and that’s all that really needs to be said about that. Rudy Gobert is a walking top 5 defense and has allowed the Jazz to sacrifice perimeter defense and replace it with shooting. It will be interesting to see how the Jazz system works in the playoffs. Can Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell transcend the system come playoff time? We’ll find out soon.
Every team still playing for the NBA championship has their season on the line in some capacity each game. However, some teams are backed into a corner more than others. Wednesday night the Western Conference plays its first two play-in tournament games with one team advancing to the NBA playoffs and one team having its season ended.
Fans around the NBA think the Golden State Warriors have the best chance of advancing beyond the play-in tournament, with 81 percent believing the team will win one of their games. They are followed by the Los Angeles Lakers, who have 80 percent of fans that believe they will win a game.
One of those top two teams will punch their ticket Wednesday night when the Warriors and Lakers play against each other. While it’s not quite a win-or-go-home game, the loser would be put into an extremely dangerous position. Fortunately for LA and Golden State, they have two of the best players in the game in Stephen Curry and LeBron James.
However, if forced to pick between the two, nearly three-fourths of fans believe Curry is more dangerous in an elimination game than James.
The first of the Eastern Conference play-in tournament games were played Tuesday night with the Boston Celtics earning the first bid into the playoffs after beating the Washington Wizards. 61 percent of NBA fans believed the Celtics would advance, falling only behind the Wizards team they beat, which took 78 percent. The Indiana Pacers received the least amount of votes, with only 24 percent, but lived to fight another day after beating the Charlotte Hornets.
The Hornets loss ended their season, but it’s not the end of exciting times in Charlotte. Point guard LaMelo Ball was picked by 52 percent of NBA fans as the player who should win the Rookie of the Year award. Ball beat out Minnesota Timberwolves’ top pick Anthony Edwards 36 percent and Sacramento Kings rookie Tyrese Haliburton who earned 12 percent.
The Lakers beat the Warriors and will play the Phoenix Suns in the first round. Whoever wins between the Warriors and the Grizzlies will face off against the Jazz and center Rudy Gobert. The Jazz star was the top pick among fans, with 49 percent of the vote, to win Defensive Player of the Year.
This will be Rudy Gobert’s 3rd DPOY award. He’s had an all-time season and shows no sign of slowing.
To vote in the Reacts surveys and have your voice heard each week, sign up here.