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NBA Power Rankings: Continued offensive woes cause slip for Utah Jazz

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The defense is still there, the offense... Still coming around. It’s affecting the power rankings

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Before having peak-MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo unleashed on them Monday night, the Utah Jazz were coming off of a 3-1 week, albeit with a bit of a weak spot in the schedule. Wins over the depleted Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Pelicans followed a home-and-home with the Minnesota Timberwolves which the Jazz split.

At 11-6, Utah sits tied with the Houston Rockets for 5th in the West Tuesday morning. With the remainder of a daunting East road trip awaiting (At Indiana, Memphis, Toronto, Philadelphia), the Jazz will be doing well to maintain that position in the standings. Here’s how the national media sees Utah stacking up around the league currently.

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

Mike Conley’s slow start and inconsistency with his new franchise are major reasons the Jazz rank 21st in offensive efficiency (105.6 points per 100 possessions, a drop of 4.7 points from last season). So have Joe Ingles’ struggles adjusting to his sixth-man role: Ingles is shooting only 33% from the field and 29% from 3-point range, and also misses the pick-and-roll chemistry he had with the departed Derrick Favors. Ingles’ assists (3.5 per game) are down almost a couple of dimes per game from last season. -- MacMahon

CBS Sports

After losing to the Timberwolves at home to start the week, Utah got its revenge two nights later in Minnesota before beating the Warriors and Pelicans. The Jazz still haven’t looked particularly impressive on the offensive end, but they’re winning games with their defense, as has become their trademark. Once things start flowing offensively, the Jazz could be poised for a big run.

SI.com

Donavan Mitchell is having a steady third season as he averages career highs in points and three-point percentage. The most encouraging sign? His free-throw frequency. Mitchell is 10th in free throws after finishing 29th last season, getting to the line 5.8 times per game. Easy points will go a long way to rising Utah’s rating into the top half of the league.

Author’s Note: Maybe they’ve given the Jazz their lowest ranking of the week because they don’t know how to spell Donovan’s name.

NBA.com

The Jazz’s visit to Milwaukee on Monday is the start of their longest road trip of the season (five games in eight days). The question is whether they’ll have the two-time Defensive Player of the Year to protect the rim against the reigning MVP. With Rudy Gobert (sprained left ankle) out on Saturday, the Jazz had both their worst defensive game of the season and their best offensive game of the season, with Utah and New Orleans combining for 147 points on 117 possessions (1.26 per) with Jeff Green at center (behind replacement starter Tony Bradley). The Jazz have had a couple of clunkers offensively (like their loss to the Wolves last Monday), but have generally been trending in the right direction on that end of the floor. Donovan Mitchell has averaged 27.4 points as the Jazz have scored 111 points per 100 possessions over their last seven games, despite the continued shooting struggles of Joe Ingles. Maybe he’s having issues with coming off the bench, but Ingles hasn’t shot well (he’s 5-for-18) in his minutes on the floor (in place of Royce O’Neale) with the other four starters.

Rotoworld

Rudy Gobert tweaked his left ankle in Friday’s win over the Warriors and was ruled out on Saturday against the Pelicans. It was the first game he’s missed all season. Donovan Mitchell picked up the slack, exploding for a scored a season-high 37 points in a 128-120 win over the Pelicans on Saturday night, adding seven rebounds, five assists and six 3-pointers in 36 minutes. Rudy is listed as questionable vs. Milwaukee on Monday.

SLC Dunk

The 1-1 record isn’t really showing it yet, but Utah needs Rudy Gobert back in a bad way. With the resurgent Luka Doncic led Dallas Mavericks entering the Western Conference picture, grabbing home court in the first round is going to be a fist fight every night.

It’s crazy that this team is stacking up to last year’s record-wise but just feels kind of worse; maybe that’s just me. I recognize the offensive talent increase, so it’s probably just the toughness of the surrounding teams that is giving me that impression. Regardless, they need to keep winning to position themselves for the postseason.