The playoffs are right around the corner and the Utah Jazz are holding onto the 1st seed for dear life. They currently have a 1.5 game lead over the Phoenix Suns and due to losing the tie-breaker, they can’t afford to lose another game this season unless the Suns also drop another one. The ramifications that this could have on playoff matchups could be significant. Or they could be nothing. We don’t really know because we don’t know how: 1. how healthy teams will actually be in 1-2 weeks or 2. what the standings will truly end like because everything is pretty tight down the board.
With that in mind, how do Jazz fans feel about the playoffs? Which teams are the ones people most want to avoid. I tried to put out a thread of polls to collect the pulse of the (twitter) fanbase to understand just that.
To do this, I simply did 4-team polls asking everyone which team they would least want to see in the playoffs. While these results could potentially change day-to-day as some teams trend up or down or have injuries, here were the results at the time:
So there you have it. Despite sitting at 6th (now 7th) in the West, Jazz fans are still most worried about seeing the Lakers in the playoffs. LA has not looked good lately. Even when LeBron James and Anthony Davis were both playing, they went 1-2 and looked broken. But this is LeBron James we are talking about. The defending champs. And the playoffs are coming. So I can certainly understand why they might still be considered the team to beat in a couple weeks.
- Phoenix Suns: 39%
- LA Clippers: 45%
- Denver Nuggets: 12%
- Dallas Mavericks: 4%
Back to back for LA. The Suns went 3-0 against the Jazz this year and Utah fans are still more concerned about the Clippers. But I can understand that, especially since the most recent loss against Phoenix was a very short-handed one. That being said, the Jazz went 2-1 against the Clippers this year. I think the worry is again that now that it’s almost playoff time, Kawhi Leonard will round into his MVP-level form.
- Phoenix Suns: 72%
- Denver Nuggets: 21%
- Dallas Mavericks: 3%
- Portland Trail Blazers: 4%
This one came as no surprise. Chris Paul has the Suns looking like a legitimate threat and they are breathing down Utah’s neck for 1st in the West. The complete lack of playoff experience for Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton will be an interesting thing to watch, especially when things get more intense down the stretch in pivotal games.
- Denver Nuggets: 79%
- Dallas Mavericks: 5%
- Portland Trail Blazers: 7%
- Golden State Warriors: 9%
This was also not even close, as the Nuggets are the clear best team amongst this group. With the soon-to-be-MVP and a good supportive group around him, the Nuggets are still a really good team even with Jamal Murray out with injury. Aaron Gordon is fitting nicely and Michael Porter Jr. has stepped up in a big way. Will that be enough to carry them deep into the playoffs? I guess we’ll find out.
- Dallas Mavericks: 41%
- Portland Trail Blazers: 23%
- Golden State Warriors: 34%
- Memphis Grizzlies: 2%
Next up was the Dallas Mavericks, followed closely by the Warriors and then the Blazers. Fresh off a loss to the Warriors, maybe these results would look differently now. But I think it’s fair since the Jazz nearly beat them despite having 2 All Stars on the bench with injuries. (in fact, shout out to Quin Snyder here. He has the Jazz hanging on to 1st in the entire NBA despite injuries to 2 of his All Stars. That’s not easy. It’s a testament to his ability to put his guys in a position to succeed. And proof of Rudy Gobert’s absolute incredible value on a basketball court).
The Mavericks have played the Jazz about as well as anyone this year, but they have not been particularly consistent. They have Luka, so they can look dangerous at any time, but I don’t think they are quite ready to be a threat. Personally, I’d be more worried about playoff Dame even though the Jazz have dominated them this year. After that it’s a clear drop-off to the Grizzlies and any other potential play-in teams (Spurs, Pelicans, Kings).
Let’s try the poll again here with SLC Dunk shall we?
Which team do you LEAST want to see in the playoffs?
This poll is closed
Portland Trail Blazers
Los Angeles Lakers
Golden State Warriors