The Utah Jazz are 5-2 in the preseason so far, having defeated a number of Western Conference playoff teams including the Oklahoma City Thunder (sans Kevin Durant); the Portland Trail Blazers twice; and the Los Angeles Clippers (without Jamal Crawford). Utah has had injuries as well during the last two weeks, but the overall nagging voice in the back of our minds is telling us to collectively not get our hopes up.
And there's a reason why we still even have that voice in the back of our heads. It's because that voice is right.
In the past 13 seasons the Jazz have had some spectacularly impressive preseason sojourns, only to finish the regular season with less than admirable results. Sometimes the opposite happens -- the Jazz look flat in preseason, but have an enjoyable season when the games do count.
But if you do the math, overall the Jazz perform better in the preseason than they actually do during the regular season.
That doesn't mean the Jazz are a bad franchise, or that there's some grand illusion of being proficient when the games matter. This is still a team that wins more than they lose. And with at least 83 Jazz games left to play (#PHXatUTA for the last preseason game + the regular season), there's time for this team to bring that ugly -5.44% down a little.
At the end of the day, having a 5% difference in winning percentage isn't large. But I think the greater trend is that while the preseason success can be indicative of regular season performance, for the most part it's the big misses we remember. (2003-04 and 2010-11 come to mind)
This Utah team isn't supposed to dominate. And most fans agree that there are going to be plenty of losses. But what's different here is that this Utah team is supposed to compete every night. And that's something the preseason performances of our lads have shown us.
Win or lose, this is going to be a team that's going to fight. Just heed the voice in the back of your head, and don't be too eager to raise the expectations for them too soon.