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Utah Jazz move down NBA Power Rankings amid three game skid

The schedule toughened up and the Jazz’s weaknesses were exposed.

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NBA: Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

After breaking into the top 15 in most power rankings last week, the Utah Jazz ran into the beginning of their December gauntlet and came out 0-3 with losses to the Thunder, Rockets and Bucks. The media did well not overreacting too much to the schedule, only dropping Utah 2-3 spots for the most part. Interestingly, they are still considered a top-10 team by both analytical models we’re tracking here.

Buckle up, though, because we’re just getting started with this brutal stretch. With games in Boston and Cleveland to wrap this week, winning in Chicago tomorrow night is paramount for the Jazz.

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

It's amazing how quickly a six-game win streak can feel like a lifetime ago. After dropping three straight, Utah looks ahead at a daunting December schedule that is the hardest month any team will face all season, according to BPI. That includes a four-game gauntlet against Boston, Cleveland, Houston and Oklahoma City to close out the current six-game road trip. Utah's final nine games to close out 2017 is the hardest nine-game stretch any team will face all season. -- Micah Adams

CBS Sports

The Jazz quickly came back down to Earth, but that had more to do with playing good teams than anything else. Their schedule doesn't get any easier, with games against the Celtics, Cavs, Rockets, Spurs and Thunder (twice) before Christmas Day.

Could this finally be the season Alec Burks wins Sixth Man of the Year? I’ve been waiting for, like, three years.

Quin Snyder isn't giving his starting lineup (with Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert playing together) much time at the start of halves, bringing in Jonas Jerebko in for one of the bigs early in the first and third quarters. But it may be time to scrap the two-big look altogether. Before Snyder could get a sub in on Thursday and Saturday, the starters racked up a minus-29 in just 15 minutes against Houston and Milwaukee, two games that were lost by a total of 28 points. The Jazz have scored just 92 points per 100 possessions in 264 minutes with Favors and Gobert on the floor together and 110 in 732 minutes with one on the floor without the other (a number buoyed by how good they were offensively in the 11 games Gobert missed). They've been a bottom-10 team in both the first (minus-10.1 NetRtg) and third (minus-4.3) quarters and the league's second best team in both the second (plus-13.7) and the fourth (plus-12.6).


Utah had won six games in a row as of last Monday, but have now dropped three straight. The upcoming schedule won’t get any easier for the Jazz, as they play their next five away from home. The final four games on their current six-game road trip are at Boston, at Cleveland, at Houston and at Oklahoma City. Their next five games after they return home include matchups vs. the Spurs, Thunder, Nuggets, Warriors and Cavs. Yikes.

SLC Dunk

The schedule was tough, but we also saw the regression to the mean from beyond the arc this week from the Jazz. During the current 3-game losing streak, Utah failed to break 40% shooting from 3 in any of those games. During the prior 6-game win streak, 40% was the low water mark. I dropped the Jazz a couple of spots, but they have a chance to make a statement against the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers this week.