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Jazz hold firm in NBA Power Rankings

A 40-point win was enough to redeem the week that was for some media members.

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NBA: Utah Jazz at Orlando Magic Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz were in danger of a winless week entering Orlando Saturday night. They’d lost three in a row, including two games against the mediocre New York Knicks and the hapless Brooklyn Nets. Utah responded with its best performance of the season, as Rodney Hood scored 31 points in 26 minutes and Derrick Favors continued his role filling in for Rudy Gobert with an admirable 26 points and 11 rebounds in 25 minutes. The defense held the Magic to 85 points and it was the Jazz’s biggest road win since a 131-91 drubbing of the Los Angeles Clippers on December 7, 1985 (H/T In the end, a 1-3 week was good enough to hold Utah’s place in most subjective NBA rankings. Worth noting, the statistical models (USA Today’s Sagarin Ratings and FiveThirtyEight) remain the highest on this team, with the only rankings above 20.

How the Utah Jazz were ranked.

Publication Preseason Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9
Publication Preseason Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 12 11 18 13 20 20 19 15 16 18
CBS Sports 18 18 21 12 23 22 17 11 13 18 18 15 18 22 24 26 21 15 18 20 12 9 14 14 20 23 19 12 15 17
Rotoworld - 11 18 17 22 20 19 16 17 19
USA Today - 13 17 14 20 17 16 12 10 10
FiveThirtyEight 9 8 11 11 16 12 14 9 10 9
SLC Dunk - 10 15 15 22 22 19 10 12 15

Prior to Rudy Gobert's injury, the Jazz ranked first in the league in opponent points in the paint per game. They're 11th in the league in that department in the five games played without Gobert. That could spell trouble for the Jazz as they face Joel Embiid and the 76ers on Monday: Embiid averages 11.2 points in the paint per game, 10th in the NBA. -- Jose De Leon

CBS Sports

Without Rudy Gobert the one thing the Jazz have been good at this season, defense, has quickly fallen off. It hasn't helped that they've seen injuries to Ricky Rubio and Joe Johnson as well. On the plus side, Derrick Favors is still awesome.

If not for Ben Simmons, I think Donovan Mitchell would be the favorite to claim Rookie of the Year right now.

The Jazz have scored 112.2 points per 100 possessions in their five games without Rudy Gobert, the league's sixth best mark over that stretch. Donovan Mitchell has shot better (particularly in the paint), Rodney Hood had a couple of big games (30-plus points) in New York and Orlando, and dusting off Raul Neto (22 points in Brooklyn, seven assists in Orlando) has taken some of the playmaking pressure off Mitchell. As expected, the defense has suffered without Gobert, but the Jazz took advantage of the reeling Magic on Saturday to get their first road win of the season.


The Jazz had lost three in a row and had yet to win a road game all season when they traveled to Orlando on Saturday night. They played like a team desperate for a win and walked away with a convincing 125-85 victory. Utah will continue to try and keep its head above water while waiting for the return of Rudy Gobert. Fortunately, Derrick Favors has played well with Gobert sidelined. Favors finished with a season-high 25 points (on 10-of-12 shooting) and 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks in just 25 minutes against Orlando.

SLC Dunk

I’m thoroughly unconvinced by the 40-point win in Orlando. In order for me to move the Jazz back up my rankings, it’s going to take more than a 1-3 week. Rodney Hood has been great since moving to a bench role, Donovan Mitchell is shooting better since moving into a starting role and at the very least Derrick Favors is boosting his trade value while Gobert sits. I just need to see it all come together a little more consistently, so they stay at 22 for me.