My friends, we’ve done it. After another undefeated week, the Utah Jazz have broken into the top eight across the board in this week’s NBA Power Rankings. That even includes Rotoworld, and all it took was a 21-2 stretch over the last 23 games. In fact, in a development that was almost unthinkable earlier this season, Utah’s low point in the most recent rankings is an objective statistical model. The Jazz come in at No. 8 in USA Today’s Sagarin rankings.
The Jazz are rolling, winners of nine straight and 21 of their past 23 games. According to Elias Sports Bureau research, this is only the fourth season in Jazz history in which Utah has won 21 times over a 23-game span. They also did it 1994-95, 1996-97 and 1997-98. -- Matt Williams
Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert don’t completely compliment each other ... yet. What Gobert is good at does make Mitchell better, but they aren’t a tandem that strikes fear into the hearts of opponents. Those two are the reason the Jazz have completely flipped their season around.
Another long win streak for the Jazz, who’ve won nine in a row to vault themselves into fifth-place in the West. Utah is only two games behind the Thunder for fourth and homecourt in the first round. This is a truly remarkable story—the Jazz have a real chance of making it just as far in the playoffs as they did with Gordon Hayward last year.
The Jazz have won nine straight games and 21 of their last 23, having allowed 8.5 fewer points per 100 possessions than any other team over that stretch, which is rather ridiculous. There has been no let-up, as they’ve allowed less than 98 points per 100 possessions in every quarter and 98 per 100 with Rudy Gobert off the floor over the 23 games. They were still in a ninth-place tie with the Nuggets just a week ago, but have climbed to fifth by taking care of business against a weak schedule that continues through Thursday. Things are still too tight from 4-10 in the West for anybody to get comfortable, and Utah’s schedule gets interesting next weekend (though a little less interesting with the Warriors’ injuries).
Dating back to January 24th, the Jazz has posted a remarkably impressive 21-2 record. Over this seven-week stretch, Utah has the NBA’s top-rated defense, allowing just 94.8 points per 100 possessions. Every other team in the NBA is allowing at least 102.8 points per 100 possessions. (Houston ranks second in Defensive Efficiency)
There’s no other way to put it, I’m flabbergasted by what this team is doing right now. Give Donovan Mitchell Rookie of the Year. Give Quin Snyder Coach of the Year. Give Rudy Gobert Defensive Player of the Year. Give Dennis Lindsey Executive of the Year. Ricky Rubio? Most Improved Player. Make up new awards to give to Joe Ingles and Derrick Favors. Just give it all. They’ve earned it.