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Are the Utah Jazz WCF favorites?

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New ESPN BPI model gives Jazz 51% chance to reach WCF

Boston Celtics vs Utah Jazz Photo by Jeff Swinger/NBAE via Getty Images

The Utah Jazz are on an absolute tear. After a 4-4 start, they have climbed to the top of the NBA, with a league-best 21-5 record. They’ve won 16 of their last 17 games, and have played absolutely dominant basketball with most of their games behind decided by 10+ points. The Jazz are for real.

ESPN’s BPI Model update released this morning gave the Jazz a 51.1 percent chance to make the Western Conference Finals, which was second highest in the West, and third highest among both conferences. It’s pretty insane to think, that according to this model, the Jazz are more likely than not to reach the Western Conference Finals.

As far as odds go, Vegas still has the Lakers (+250) and Clippers (+600) as favorites to make the WCF. The Jazz aren’t too far behind at +900, which if you’re looking for an easy way to make some money that might be a pretty dang good bet.

Reaching the WCF would be an absolute W for this Jazz team. Obviously the overall goal is to win an NBA Championship, but reaching the conference finals for the first time in 13 years would be awesome. This has kindof grown to be the expectation for this Jazz team since acquiring Mike Conley last offseason, but things didn’t go as planned last season. Things are different this year, with Conley playing out of his mind, and the Jazz looking like they are going to get at least two All-Star selections again for the second straight year.

People outside of the fanbase and organization are starting to really take note of this Jazz team. Kevin O’Connor from the Ringer, recently released his power rankings having the Jazz 6th overall. Obviously, Jazz fans took this VERY personally.

Since releasing those power rankings and the Jazz picking up a convincing W against the Celtics a few days ago, O’Connor created a 13-minute video praising the Utah Jazz, and assuring everyone of their contending ability. On this week’s episode of ‘The Void’ he talked about the Jazz and how dominant they’ve been, and how they’ve been able to rise to the top of the NBA in terms of winning games.

The video is really well put together, and gives some great insight on how the Jazz have been able to be successful this season. O’Connor praises Rudy Gobert, tabbing him as “the best defender in the NBA, period”. He also said Gobert is his DPOY favorite, as well as Jordan Clarkson for Sixth Man of the Year. O’Connor did a good job making up for his blunder putting the Jazz 6th in the power rankings, and Jazz fans should accept this video as a humble apology. Kevin O’Connor is back on good terms with Jazz fans.

Other national media members are tooting their own horns for having hopped on the Jazz bandwagon before their hot streak, including Jalen Rose.

I know the Jazz don’t really need the support of the national media, but it is really refreshing to see these guys give the Jazz respect for being a great team. It’s not often that the Jazz are the topic of conversation on these shows, so it’s pretty cool to see everyone talking about them - for better or for worse.

The true question throughout all of these videos and BPI projections is, are the Jazz really contenders? 51% at making the Western Conference Finals, seems crazy, but in reality this team is really, really good. Their winning ways are sustainable, their methods are proven, and they are out for blood. As long as everyone can stay healthy (please come back 100% Mike Conley), 51% seems about right, if not too low.