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NBA Power Rankings: Will the real Utah Jazz please stand up?

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A whirlwind 2-2 week offered a little of everything.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

What a whirlwind week. The Jazz finally got a win over the Memphis Grizzlies in the Headband Joe game, promptly got decimated by the Dallas Mavericks and wrapped the week with another win over Hayward’s Celtics. It added up to a 2-2 week and the media’s NBA power rankings are starting to show what we’re seeing on the court. The Utah Jazz are simply average.

NBA Power Rankings

Publication Preseason Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17 Week 18 Week 19 Week 20 Week 21
Publication Preseason Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17 Week 18 Week 19 Week 20 Week 21
ESPN.com 7 7 7 6 5 6 7 12 12 13 12 11 9 6 5 3 8 9 7 9 12 7
CBS Sports 6 6 9 13 7 8 8 12 13 12 12 8 6 3 4 4 10 8 6 10 13 6
SI.com 6 6 9 13 8 8 11 11 12 12 12 11 9 7 6 6 8 7 7 8 8 8
NBA.com 5 7 7 11 7 8 10 12 13 12 13 8 6 3 3 3 7 7 6 9 9 6
Rotoworld 7 7 7 9 7 5 6 12 12 12 12 7 7 3 4 3 9 8 7 9 12 7
USA Today 4 4 4 6 5 7 9 12 12 12 11 9 4 3 3 3 9 6 6 12 12 9
FiveThirtyEight 5 6 8 7 5 6 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 5 4 4 5 6 5 11 11 10
SLC Dunk 4 4 6 7 4 6 8 11 13 12 11 8 6 3 3 3 8 6 6 10 10 8

ESPN.com

Rudy Gobert wants the Jazz to recreate the tough identity they had during their 29-6 run to end last regular season. “We were so good because we wanted to shut everybody’s mouth,” Gobert told ESPN. “I think we’ve got guys [that] are hungry, that want to win, but sometimes we forget why we’re a good team. No matter, we’ve got to keep our minds on the right thing, which is defense, and offensively things are going to take care of themselves.” -- MacMahon

CBS Sports

It’s weird that the Jazz defense hasn’t been dominating like they did last defense. The NBA’s best defense from a year ago is currently ranked 14th in the NBA. But that will normalize. It’s the offense that’s more concerning. The Jazz rank 22nd in the NBA in offensive efficiency. Part of that has been Donovan Mitchell’s inconsistency -- you just can’t have 35-shot, zero-assist games like he did Friday against the Sixers -- but a bigger part has been Ricky Rubio. Rubio’s three-point shooting sits at 28.8 percent after shooting a career-high 35.2 percent last season, and he’s averaging 3.1 turnovers per game, which would be the most since his rookie year. He has the lowest effective field-goal percentage on the team, but the second-highest usage rate.

SI.com

Utah had an interesting road trip that gets to come to a close Monday in Indiana. Fans should be happy about good defensive wins over the Grizzlies and Celtics. But the Jazz scored 68 points in a game and lost by 50. That’s what’s hot in the streets of Utah? That’s a loss that negates basically everything else you do for the next week and a half if not the entire month. It doesn’t matter that the Jazz already had two wins against the Mavericks this season before Wednesday’s blowout. Saturday, Feb. 23 (their final game against Dallas) needs to be marked on everybody’s calendar just because.

NBA.com

The Jazz laid an egg in Dallas on Wednesday, but were able to out-ugly both the Grizzlies and Celtics last week in games that Utah and its opponents scored a combined 95 points per 100 possessions. They’re 2-2 on the trip that ends Monday in Indiana (and 2-0 against Gordon Hayward, for those who care about vendettas), even though they’ve shot a brutal 24 percent from 3-point range over the four games. They rank second in the percentage of their 3-point attempts that have come from the corners (28 percent), but 29th in corner 3-point percentage (29.4 percent) after ranking fifth (41.7 percent) last season. Donovan Mitchell is 1-for-10 and Jae Crowder (7-for-28), Dante Exum (5-for-18) and Ricky Rubio (5-for-17) have all shot worse than 30 percent on at least 18 attempts from the corners. The Jazz’s most-used lineup (with Crowder instead of Derrick Favors at power forward) has still scored 116.6 points per 100 possessions, the third best mark among 24 lineups that have played at least 100 minutes.

Rotoworld

It was a wild weekend for Donovan Mitchell. In a loss to the Sixers on Friday, Mitchell attempted 35 shots and converted only 13. In addition, he failed to hand out an assist. However, he bounced back the next night in Boston, when he led the Jazz to a victory over the Celtics, finishing with 28 points (on 10-of-21 shooting), six assists and three steals. Utah completes a five-game east coast road trip on Monday, but they then travel to L.A. to play the Lakers on Friday and to Sacramento to play the Kings on Sunday.

SLC Dunk

A 16 ranking feels right for this team because it represents exactly what the Jazz are right now: Thoroughly average. You just don’t know what you’re getting on any given night. Utah could beat the Boston Celtics twice in the span of eight days, or they could lose by 50 to the Dallas Mavericks. Until the Jazz get more consistent and appear to have interest in playing basketball every night, they won’t be anything better than a middle-of-the-pack team.