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The Utah Jazz history with long road trips

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How does this compare to prior road trips?

NBA: Utah Jazz at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

That road trip went almost as bas as possible for the Utah Jazz. Could it have been worse? Obviously, because they did come away with one win. But I’m not going to sugar coat it much beyond that. They got embarrassed off the floor in the last 2 games against the Raptors and the 76ers. It was ugly basketball that got turned off early at my house.

But maybe it wasn’t as bad as it looked.

First off, NBA players are human beings as well. That might be easy to forget at times. These guys were on the road for about 10 days from November 24th to really early this morning, depending on when they got back. This was over a favorite national holiday in Thanksgiving, nonetheless, and in 5 different cities before getting home. Some of them are married with children. All of them have a family in some way, shape or form. I’m sure that traveling for that long and being gone for a holiday is physically and mentally exhausting. I’m not necessarily trying to provide them with excuses, just providing context.

But was that type of road trip performance typical of the Jazz? Maybe, maybe not.

I looked back at the last 5 years to see how the Jazz have performed on road trips of at least 4 games. The results vary significantly, a lot of which is likely due to the strength of opponents faced. Here are the numbers.

2015-2016

  • Cleveland L
  • Miami L
  • Orlando L
  • Atlanta W

  • Phoenix W
  • Dallas W
  • New Orleans L
  • Washington L

  • Boston L
  • Toronto L
  • Memphis L
  • New Orleans W

  • Chicago L
  • Milwaukee W
  • Houston W
  • Oklahoma City L
  • Minnesota W

2016-2017

  • New York W
  • Philadelphia W
  • Charlotte L
  • Orlando W
  • Miami W

  • Brooklyn W
  • Boston L
  • Toronto L
  • Minnesota W
  • Memphis L

  • Detroit W
  • Cleveland L
  • Chicago L
  • Indiana L

2017-2018

  • New York L
  • Brooklyn L
  • Orlando W
  • Philadelphia L

  • Milwaukee L
  • Chicago L
  • Boston W
  • Cleveland L
  • Houston L
  • Oklahoma City L

  • Denver L
  • Miami L
  • Washington W
  • Charlotte L

  • Phoenix W
  • San Antonio W
  • New Orleans W
  • Memphis W

2018-2019

  • Houston W
  • New Orleans W
  • Dallas W
  • Minnesota L

  • Memphis W
  • Dallas L
  • Philadelphia L
  • Boston W
  • Indiana L

  • Toronto L
  • Cleveland W
  • Detroit W
  • Milwaukee L

  • Washington W
  • New York W
  • Atlanta L
  • Chicago W

There are some great road trips in there, and some absolutely horrific ones. I’d put this year’s first long road trip more towards the terrible end of the scale. But let’s not forget how hard this trip really was. They played arguably the 3 best teams in the East, two of which claim to be title contenders. Then you’ve got a really good Indiana team and a hungry Memphis group. That was brutal!

They traveled a ton of miles in that timespan, and finished it off with a back to back. That sounds pretty tiring in and of itself. 1-4 was definitely disappointing, but to expect anything more than 2-3 would have been presumptuous.

But it’s how they played, you might say. Yeah, I can’t argue with that. Sure they put together some really good quarters, but when you are down by 40 at halftime then 1 amazing quarter doesn’t make a difference. I honestly don’t think this team has put together a full, complete game yet this year. That needs to change sooner rather than later. The players are recognizing that as well and I believe are venting some of their frustrations on social media.

Speaking of change. The schedule is about to take a major turn for the better, thank goodness. Once they’ve played the Lakers tomorrow night, their first 22 opponents have a combined record of 247-196 (.557). They’ve played 16 of 22 games against teams .500 or better. The following 22 games are almost the exact opposite. They’ll play 17 games against teams currently below .500 and the combined record is 173-272 (.389). By default the Jazz should win a lot more games in the coming weeks. They say winning cures everything right? Let’s hope so.

Another topic on change. The Jazz roster underwent significant changes this summer. I love that they were aggressive and didn’t stand pat. So far it hasn’t paid off. And while other teams that also underwent significant changes (Lakers, Clippers, Heat, etc.) don’t seem to be having the gelling issues the Jazz have, I might have a possible answer to that.

Donovan Mitchell was the number 1 option for the Utah Jazz last year.

Mike Conley was the number 1 option for the Memphis Grizzlies last year.

Bojan Bogdanovic was the number 1 option for the Indiana Pacers for a significant portion of last year.

Now they are all on the same team that also includes Rudy Gobert. They have not yet adjusted very well, especially compared to teams with similar aspirations. But they also had bigger adjustments to make. As the schedule gets lighter, now is the best time to iron out the wrinkles and get this team rolling.

With Quin Snyder at the helm, we’ve learned through experience that it’s almost never too late to turn a season around. But if this team has championship aspirations, then that date might be earlier than usual this year. So, stealing from their own hashtags themselves, #LetsGo with #GameDayFocus #OntoTheNextOne. Because this team needs some wins.