To be a Jazz fan is to expect heartache.
Utah’s greatest moment in team history is probably John Stockton’s shot that took them to the NBA finals.
After two decades, and multiple runs that fizzled in the playoffs, this season has potential to be the most memorable season ever.
"the team representing the Western Conference in the Finals -- the Utah Jazz -- will be sitting at home" - Bobby Marks, who aklso says UTA is the biggest Christmas day snub. https://t.co/RKJOFFq98Z— David J. Smith (@davidjsmith1232) August 13, 2019
With how much star power that has collected in LA, it’s easy to forget about the Jazz who don’t have a “top 5” type player on their team. But there are legitimate reasons that Jazz fans shouldn’t feel foolish for expecting their team to make it to the finals, even win it all.
The Jazz could be the most complete team in the league
On defense the Jazz were elite all of last season but on the offensive end they had fatal flaws with their starting unit. Adding Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic shored up the weaknesses that were fatal for the Jazz the last two seasons against the Rockets.
Ricky Rubio would run the system well but because of his lack of outside shooting, and an inability to create his own shot, it put too much of a burden on a sophomore Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles. Conley fixes that issue.
As solid and underrated as Derrick Favors is, playing alongside Rudy Gobert would allow defenses to sag off of him clogging lanes to the rim. In New Orleans Favors will play his natural role and shine alongside Zion Williamson. In Utah, Bogdanovic will provide the shooting and space that they’ve been lacking.
With these pieces added, the Jazz have a starting unit that can hang with anyone in the league and that includes the playoffs.
Rudy Gobert is going to have a career year
As much as the spacing and shot creation from Conley and Bogdanovic will help Mitchell, it might help Rudy Gobert even more.
Every offensive set last season Rudy Gobert dealt with a clogged paint. At all points this season Gobert will be surrounded by shooters and that means he only has to deal with his man. As arguably the best rolling big man in the league, Gobert will take advantage on every offensive possession.
Because Rudy creates so much gravity towards the rim, he’s going to put the defenses in impossible positions every night. The opposing center won’t be able to leave Gobert or it’s an easy lob at the rim. Perimeter defenders won’t be able to leave their man because everyone surrounding the pick and roll is a high level shooter. Don’t be surprised if Gobert averages something like 18 points and 14 rebounds while also being the best defender in the league.
In the playoffs Gobert’s dominance was masked by the fact that Utah’s offense couldn’t get over the hump. This season Gobert will receive the recognition that he deserves.
The Jazz will make shore up any unforeseen weaknesses at the trade deadline
On paper the Jazz look very good but there may be some problems that haven’t shown themselves yet, a weakness that needs fixing.
Toronto was a very good team last season but knew that to win the title, they’d need Marc Gasol to shore up their weaknesses against certain centers in the playoffs.
It may also not even be a weakness on the Jazz that will need to be addressed at trade deadline. Maybe the Jazz will see a weakness on the Clippers, Lakers or Rockets that they will be able to take advantage of.
The Jazz are all in this season and if they see a route that will allow them to win it all this season, they’ll take it.
It’s easy for Jazz fans to be fatalistic with their history, but this season there is every opportunity for the Jazz to rise above and create the thing Jazz fans didn’t think was possible, a championship.