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NBA Power Rankings: Jazz on the upswing?

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Utah had two great performances and one clunker in a 2-1 week

NBA: Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

During this all-Texas 2-1 week, the Utah Jazz’s home and road records did a little balancing out. The Jazz scored blowout victories over the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets at home before going on the road and being punched in the mouth by those same Spurs.

Those results brought Utah to 4-6 at home and 9-8 on the road, which still looks a little wonky. However, if the Jazz can keep winning at this rate on the road, that does bode well for the remainder of the season.

In the big picture, Utah has won five of their last eight games, and experts around the web are starting to trend the Jazz back up to being an above average team. It’s a far cry from where we started the season, but it is progress.

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

Small sample size alert: The Jazz ranked 27th in 3-point percentage before trading for Kyle Korver but are shooting 39.4 percent on 3s in five games since the deal, a tick higher than the league-leading Warriors’ clip for the season. At 37, Korver remains an elite 3-point shooter (.465 this season) and creates a “jet stream,” as one Jazz official put it, with his movement off the ball. But Ricky Rubio’s stroke might be even more important to the Jazz. He was .438 on 3s during Utah’s 29-6 run to end last season, compared with .330 this season, just a hair above his career norm. -- MacMahon

CBS Sports

The Jazz are 4-2 over their past six games. Remember: This team’s brutal schedule was always going to be brutal from opening night until roughly Christmas. After that, things get markedly easier. I’m not selling stock in the Jazz. Far from it. Right now, buy low.

SI.com

The Jazz had lost two straight at home before running roughshod on the Spurs and Rockets for consecutive wins. The victory over Houston was particularly notable because it came with Rudy Gobert playing fewer than three minutes due to an early ejection. Sunday’s loss in San Antonio though was indicative of where this team is at currently: near the bottom of the jumbled West. Monday’s meeting with the Thunder offers a chance to ascend up the standings as well prove this team is as formidable as most projected at the start of the season. Or we might have to wait until January before we see the Jazz really hit their stride.

NBA.com

The Jazz did well with a few days at home, holding two top-10 offenses (those of the Spurs and Rockets) to just 97 points per 100 possessions on Tuesday and Thursday, even though Rudy Gobert got ejected less than three minutes into the Houston game. But upon hitting the road again, they got outscored 54-36 in the first 24 minutes in San Antonio on Sunday. Donovan Mitchell rebounded from an 0-for-6 first half to score all of his 27 points after the break, but the Jazz never really made it interesting and are now 1-11 when they don’t have the lead at halftime. Jae Crowder and Derrick Favors have taken turns as the starting power forward in December, and the Favors lineup having performed better (plus-15 in 22 minutes) thus far.

Rotoworld

Jazz fans were hoping Donovan Mitchell would take another leap forward after his incredible rookie campaign. However, despite averaging the same number of minutes in 2018-19 as he did in 2017-18, Mitchell is averaging fewer assists, rebounds and 3-pointers. He’s also shooting a lower percentage from the floor and from downtown.

SLC Dunk

My heart says to give the Jazz a bigger bump because they’re 4-2 since the trade. My mind, however, says “Yeah, but they’re still allowing 18-point runs and getting blown out.” We all know the schedule has been brutal, and it’s only going to get worse in December. Great teams overcome the schedule. Right now, the Utah Jazz are not a great team.