The Utah Jazz offseason may not have plugged every hole or answered every question. But the one thing it did ensure is that the Jazz will still be really, really good.
By resigning Mike Conley and reshuffling some of the cast members in the 8-10 spots of the lineup, the Jazz will once again be vying heavily for the top spot in the West and one of the league’s best records.
That means Jazz will be winning a lot of games. One Jazz Twitter stalwart put together a visual on the schedule and their 10 game rolling average of win probability:
The Jazz schedule this season is interesting. It's super front loaded with games the Jazz should pick up fairly easily, then turning the new year it drops to a pretty average schedule, then the last month or so is one of the toughest in the league. pic.twitter.com/kOr2BR0yNG— Riley (@rgiss11) August 21, 2021
In summary, there’s A LOT of green there, meaning the Jazz are projected to have a win probability of greater than 50% in over 3⁄4 their games. A ton of wins means a ton of happy Jazz fans, especially those who attend in person.
The NBA shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic reminded everyone how special in-person events can be. With the precautions being taken by the NBA, the Jazz organization, and Vivint SmartHome Arena, there’s ample confidence in a safe and jubilant atmosphere for this season.
In that spirit, it’s never too early to prepare and plan for which games to attend. We picked 6 games to consider when planning your Utah Jazz nights at the arena.
This list IS NOT just a compilation of the projected best teams. There are budget, taste, and scheduling motivations for picking a game and we wanted to balance those factors as well.
Before we get to our list and in an effort of full disclosure, we tried to avoid matchups that fit the following:
- Injured stars: we purposely avoided teams like LAC who will miss Kawhi Leonard most of the year. Often we found that such games still sported wild prices despite the absence of big names.
- Load management: we also avoided teams, like LAL, who are likely to rest star players. The Lakers only visit to Utah takes place in the final 6 games and is the first night of a B2B. We don’t want you to spend $72+ in the lower bowl and $311+ in the upper only to be shafted.
- Back-2-Backs: the Jazz are going to be good but also have some health in Conley and playing time in Ingles, Mitchell, and Gobert to worry about. Surely on some of these B2B’s we’ll see a limited roster...not what we want fans to see.
With that said, let’s get into the 6 Jazz games to which you should consider attending:
Milwaukee Bucks, March 14th
The Bucks only come to Utah once a year and you won’t want to miss the Jazz face the defending NBA Champs. Antetokounmpo, Middleton, and Holiday leave no shortage for big names to see in this one!
Not only have the past several bouts been filled with incredible performance’s like Donovan’s 46 points or Bogey’s game winner, the Jazz are 18-1 at home against Milwaukee since 2001. Jazz have a good chance at walking away with a “W”!
Furthermore, Utah is likely to be on their last big winning streak of the season, having played just 3 teams in their last 8 games who are projected to be above 0.500. The atmosphere in this one with just 15 games left until the playoffs could be epic.
Also, it’s incredible friendly on the wallet. Tickets are starting at just $30 for the upper bowl and $132 in the lower bowl. This game may be the best value of the season!
Houston Rockets, January 19th
Perhaps close games aren’t you’re cup of tea. Maybe you prefer blowouts or want to see some of the league’s young talent or would rather relax at the arena. Look no further than the Rockets in late January.
Their three young rookies, Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, and Josh Christopher, dazzled at Summer League and should provide some excellent highlights. They’ve also got exciting young players in Christian Wood and Kevin Porter Jr. to watch out for.
Houston is likely to struggle out of the gate trying to find their footing. By January they should be at their best, which is a sizeable step down from our Utah Jazz.
While there’s a high likelihood of a blowout, this game has promise for excitement and a competitive feel early.
This game is the perfect pairing to another game throughout the season with prices this friendly: upper bowl starting at $18/ticket, lower bowl starting at $86/ticket.
Toronto Raptors, November 18th
Some of the best games are those against good teams who test the Jazz and force them to be at their best late. A prime example for this season is the Toronto Raptors who sport a nice mix of young players and veterans.
Last year was brutal for the Raps. Now they’re back in Toronto, equipped with the #4 pick, and appear motivated for a run at the playoffs. They’re full of athletes and length, two characteristics that force the Jazz to be crisp.
This is one of the most sneaky competitive games on the schedule. The Jazz wrap up a long home stand having just played ATL, IND, MIA, PHI. We should get the Jazz best in this one!
Furthermore, tickets are a steal at the moment with the upper bowl starting at $23/ticket and the lower bowl starting at $98/ticket. Sitting in the lower bowl these days for under one-hundred bones is about unheard of against a team projected to be as competitive as the Raptors.
Dallas Mavericks, December 25th
Christmas Day game...’nough said, right?
Not too often Jazz get a Christmas Day game. Their last Christmas day game back in 2018 vs the Trailblazers was a full out beatdown.
Just like last time, tipoff takes place at 8:30 pm meaning everyone, fans and players, get basketball and family on Christmas Day.
Furthermore, Jazz play the Mavs and Luka Doncic. Luka is coming off the Olympics loss to Rudy Gobert and France. This will be their first, regular season matchup since. Talk about box office.
Oh, and Luka is the oddsmakers favorite for MVP so he should be going bonkers!
Tickets are a bit pricey but hey, call it a stocking stuffer. Upper bowl starts at $56/ticket while lower bowl starts at $211/ticket. Ask any of your Jazz fan buddies if they’ve gone to Christmas Day Jazz game. You might be the first of your circle!
Charlotte Hornets, December 20th
Now if you’re like me and want a Christmas-esque game without paying for it...this is it!
Charlotte has just about everything you want: shooting, athletes, youngins, veterans, and enough recent success pointing to a competitive game. LaMelo Ball’s sophomore season is the headliner but James Bouknight’s rookie year could be special.
Also, you may not want to pass up a chance to boo Hayward if that’s your thing or relish in his no show should it turn out as such.
Also, Jazz should definitely walk out with a win. Only ORL and CLE had a worse shooting advantage to the Jazz last year. In fact, you’ll remember the Jazz hitting a franchise record 28 three’s last year in Vivint Arena.
Another game with a high likelihood of a win but with higher competition than the Rockets. Oh, and this one is even cheaper than the Houston game. Tickets starting at $16 in the upper bowl and $65 in the lower bowl.
Golden State Warriors, February 9th
After two years of the Warriors dredging the bottom third of the NBA, they look poised to make the playoffs again and to fight tooth and nail. The last time Utah saw the Splash Bros in person was 12/19/2018...over 3 years!
While you could see them on New Year’s Day, Klay Thompson is targeting a Christmas Day return so he’s likely still easing into things come the fist of the year. Instead, wait until February when he’s much more likely to be in a groove and ready to splash on National TV.
GSW will be relying on their Hall of Fame vets and a bunch of young pieces. They should be good and wildly entertaining but with enough weaknesses that you should be enjoying a win by night’s end.
You’ll definitely be paying for the allure that is the Warriors and the Splash Bros. Though at $40/ticket in the upper bowl and $173/ticket in the lower bowl, I’d imagine these prices only tick UP as February approaches.
From stars to up-and-comers, blowouts to nail-biters, and storylines to holidays, these 6 games give every fan a fantastic mix without breaking the bank.
While from our vantage point these are the games you’ll want to attend this season, the truth is no matter which game you stop in for you’ll be having a blast watching our Utah Jazz.
The key takeaway is to get out there and make memories. Who knows, maybe this is the year we all look back on as “the year”! Who’d want to miss out on experiencing THAT in person?