ESPN has released most of their annual “NBArank”, putting together their top 100 players of the NBA for the coming season. These rankings were created by a panel of NBA experts employed by ESPN, with both “quality and quantity of contributions” being considered for the upcoming season. Here’s where Jazz players ended up:
Joe Ingles: 62
Lowe on Ingles’ moves: Ingles keeps help defenders guessing until the very last second. He has a fake for every part of his body -- eye fakes, pump fakes and the meanest pass fake since Manu Ginobili was spinning big guys around like tops. It wouldn’t surprise me if Ingles has some sort of nose fake we don’t know about.
Ingles dropped a few spots from last year, where he nearly cracked the top 50 at number 53 a year ago. It’s also worth noting one special person that Ingles came in higher than.
ESPN came out with NBA rankings #51-#100 pic.twitter.com/zmQX7splQ6— Spencer Keele (@SpencerKeele) September 23, 2019
Bojan Bogdanovic: 48
Bojan rocketed from last year’s NBArank, where he wasn’t even ranked in the top 100. Bogdanovic will look to keep turning heads as he gets settled in Utah, hopefully building off his career numbers last season.
Kevin Pelton on Bogdanovic in Utah: Bogdanovic could be a great fit in the Utah frontcourt next to Rudy Gobert. At 6-foot-8 and a listed 216 pounds, Bogdanovic is relatively similar in size to former Jazz small-ball 4 option Jae Crowder (6-foot-6, 235 pounds). Sliding him down from the wing to the power forward not only gives Bogdanovic a quickness advantage in most matchups, but also makes his shooting ability even more dangerous.
Mike Conley: 24
The biggest acquisition the Utah Jazz have ever made. “Mountain Mike” Conley (this needs to be a thing) might just give the Jazz what they need to win a championship. Adding a top 30 player in the league will do wonders for Donovan Mitchell.
One big question: Will Conley be able to lift Utah into title contention this season? That was the assumption by many when Conley was dealt to Utah. It’s a lot to put on a point guard who will be 32 years old when the season starts, but with Conley (and Bojan Bogdanovic), Utah could make some noise in the West. -- Andrew Lopez
Conley was also mentioned on the list of newcomers to the 30-11 range that will make the greatest positive impact for their team.
Young: Conley could completely transform the Jazz. He fits in culturally and checks a lot of boxes as a player, but his steady control of the game and ability to create on his own raise Utah’s ceiling. Conley allows Donovan Mitchell to slide off the ball more and play as a slashing guard, but don’t sleep on Conley’s takeover talent. He’s a proven playoff winner and has a history of big shots and big plays.
Donovan Mitchell: 20
Mitchell moved up two spots from last year, after a year that wasn’t necessarily a disappointment, but more the lack of a “jump” that some thought he would make.
One big question: Can Mitchell tap into his quick feet and 6-foot-10 wingspan to find some defensive consistency? Touted for his defensive potential when he entered the league, he’s still evolving as an on- and off-ball defender. Last season, he ranked 204th overall in ESPN’s defensive real plus-minus. That and how he meshes with Mike Conley are worth tracking. -- Mike Schmitz
Mitchell was also included on the shortlist of players in the 30-11 range that will make the jump to the top 10 next season.
Bontemps: I’ll cheat a bit and pick two of those young guys: Luka Doncic and Donovan Mitchell. If Doncic is as committed to his fitness as some of these videos we’ve seen this summer suggest, he could explode this season. Mitchell, on the other hand, is on a team with a chance to make the NBA Finals next spring. If he leads the Jazz on that kind of playoff run, a top-10 spot is possible.
In the “Bold Predictions” section, Donovan Mitchell was also noted as a dark horse MVP candidate.
Young: Two players will finish in the top five of MVP voting: Donovan Mitchell and Kemba Walker. After not living up to sky-high expectations last season, Mitchell is poised for a leap year. The Jazz will be good, the team around him is stacked, and Mitchell could be a 25-point scorer on a 55-win team. That’s a pretty simple formula. Walker will have narrative backing; if the Celtics are reformed and a stable winner this season, he’ll be a trendy pick.
Rudy Gobert: 14
The Gobzilla moves up 9 spots from 23 last year, after having what probably was the best career of his life. Back-to-back DPOY, but also adding 16 points per game offensively should have been good enough to get Rudy an All-Star bid, but maybe that will come this year.
One big question: Can Gobert add to his offensive game? The two-time Defensive Player of the Year is a weapon in a limited offensive role, leading the league in screen assists (6.0 per game), field goal percentage (.669) and dunks (306) in 2018-19. He’ll never be a go-to post-up threat, but it’d be a major plus if Gobert could reliably punish smaller defenders on switches even when he doesn’t get to the rim, as he did in France’s win over Team USA at the FIBA World Cup. -- Tim MacMahon
Here’s a quick summary of the Utah Jazz players in the ESPN NBArank Top 100 players for 2019-20:
Joe Ingles- 62
Bojan Bogdanovic - 48
Mike Conley - 24
Donovan Mitchell- 20
Rudy Gobert- 14