Exactly one month ago yesterday, I tweeted out the following words:
“the Utah Jazz are not who we thought they were, and that’s okay”
And I meant it. They weren’t playing like who we thought they were going to be this season. They weren’t playing defense. They weren’t playing as a team. Donovan Mitchell was under-performing. Quin Snyder was getting out-coached. Shots weren’t falling, and things just sucked.
It didn’t even take one month for the Jazz to prove me wrong.
One month later, the Jazz are riding a five-game winning streak, coming off a blowout 20-point win over the Clippers. They have won 7 of their last 8 games, and have posted the league’s best defensive rating over that stretch. They have moved into playoff position and currently sit at 25-21, with no signs of slowing up. They now, on the season, have a top-five defensive rating, and a top-ten net rating and box score plus-minus. The Jazz are now officially, who we thought they were.
The Jazz are back to defending like how we thought and knew they could. Rudy Gobert is once again plopping his name in the DPOY conversation and anchoring this team. Donovan Mitchell has been unstoppable during this stretch, being named Western Conference Player of the Week and still continuing to score in bunches, and at time, at will. Even while missing all three of their point guards to injuries, the Jazz’s depth is shining through like we knew it could. Guys like Royce O’Neale, Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder, Grayson Allen, Georges Niang, etc, have all stepped up and filled roles that needed to be assumed. It has helped that the Jazz have played the majority of these game at home, against teams under .500. But with the schedule the Jazz faced early on this season, wins can come in any way, shape or form.
The Jazz have officially returned to form and are playing like how everyone thought they would before the season started. Maybe we just needed to give them some time and be patient with a ridiculous schedule. Maybe they needed to go through a slump to reach a higher ceiling. We’ll never know for sure, but as long as the Jazz keep playing winning basketball, who really cares?
International superstar and local legend Joe Ingles sat down with Woj on his podcast and had a very entertaining discussion. The two discussed Ingles’ love for Converse shoes, his notorious trash talk, and of course, Ingles’ unlikely path to the being one of the most entertaining personalities in the NBA. It’s a must-listen.
Utah's @Joeingles7 discusses his newly crowned status as the People's Trash Talking Champ, his emergence with Jazz, Donovan Mitchell, EuroLeague basketball and why he shops for sneakers at Nordstrom's. The Woj Pod: https://t.co/HbjZ5O2hbC— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 16, 2019
If you don’t listen, at least read this quote. It was definitely the best thing from the pod.
Joe on with @wojespn:— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) January 16, 2019
"Let's be real ... I've got a receding hairline, I'm slow and I'm probably not the most jacked up with abs and all that, but I'm still going to beat you one-on-one. Settle down."
» https://t.co/Hy4CoT4404 pic.twitter.com/hdorIR6yng
Rudy Gobert is on an absolute tear lately. He’s forcing himself into the DPOY, All-Star, and heck, even the MVP conversation with how he has hoisted the Jazz back into playing winning basketball in recent games. Over the last two games Gobert tallied 41 points, 47 rebounds, and 6 blocks. THAT’S CRAZY MAN. He has absolutely destroyed all human life in his path, and others are starting to take note.
Over the last month, Jazz are living up to lofty expectations many had for them going into the season. Utah is 11-5 in that span.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 17, 2019
Rudy Gobert: 16.1 ppg, 14.4 rpg, 2.3 bpg, 97.2 DRtg, +10.9 net rating. If Jazz keep rolling, Gobert should cash his $1M All-Star bonus.
Lowe and Arnovitz are both pretty high on Gobert as an AS. Lowe had him as one of his locks. Hope enough of the other media members and coaches feel that way too.— bebop (@bebopxz) January 16, 2019
If MacMahon, Lowe, and Arnovitz all have Gobert as an All-Star, that’s a pretty good sign of things to come.
Rudy also had some words for LAC’s broadcast crew who disrespected him prior to their game last night. Rudy’s coming for you. All of you.
Ummm.. is Donovan Mitchell recruiting Tobias Harris? Mitchell and Harris met up and talked after the game last night, and Mitchell used LeBron’s infamous mouth cover up tactic as if he had something top secret to say. We all know what happened to LeBron after he did that to Lonzo Ball.
Donovan Mitchell says something to Tobias Harris postgame. Just gonna leave this here pic.twitter.com/J18g7CJSf3— Ryan McDonald (@ryanwmcdonald) January 17, 2019
But that’s not all! After the game last night Mitchell also followed Harris on Instagram.
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!!!!
Tobias was here in the offseason meeting with Blendtec, a Utah based company, and is now one of their ambassadors. He already has Utah ties!— Natedawg (@ndavie07) January 17, 2019
Juicy. Harris is a unrestricted free agent this coming summer, and he is going to get paid wherever he goes. Could Mitchell be trying to sway him into coming to SLC?
Sad news coming from the G-League yesterday with a season injury to SLC Stars Superstar Willie Reed.
Willie Reed has sustained a season-ending shoulder injury. We'd like to thank him for his many contributions to the team and community.— Salt Lake City Stars (@slcstars) January 16, 2019
Join us in wishing him a speedy recovery. We know he will be back better than ever! pic.twitter.com/lED5WXM1l2
Reed has been beasting in the G-League this season. Here’s to a speedy recovery Willie!