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The Utah Jazz are title contenders

The Jazz are looking to build off of last season’s success

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Chris Herring recently wrote about the Utah Jazz and how they’re a legitimate contender in the NBA.

It’s great to see the Jazz get so much exposure this offseason. Now, they just have to live up to it by finding a way to challenge the Warriors and the Rockets.

Herring talks about what it will take to do that.

When it comes to Utah’s defense, the identity of the offense it faces may end up holding more weight — especially in potential matchups with the two Western Conference foes Utah will almost certainly be chasing.

Unlike clubs who have matchup problems with a particular player, for the Jazz it was their scheme that was exposed. During the postseason series with Houston, Chris Paul and the Rockets showed a willingness to exploit the Jazz’s funnel-everything-inside-to-Gobert scheme by feasting on midrange jumpers — a shot that most elite defenses welcome with open arms. The challenge for Utah, of course, was that Paul has long been a great midrange shooter, and the Warriors — maybe the best shooting team ever — have begun hitting that shot at a ridiculous clip, too. And such an attempt mitigates Gobert’s best skill of protecting the rim.

It’s too early to ask, “What can we do differently?” But for a team that could be as good as the Jazz should be, they’d be wise to at least begin formulating an answer. If they can generate one come postseason, it could put them on close-to-even footing with their conference heavyweights — and on the short list of true NBA title contenders.

If the Jazz can figure out how to overcome the matchup issues that the Warriors and Rockets bring, there’s no reason they can’t contend for a ring.

But that is much easier said than done.

This summer it’s clear the Jazz are ready to build off of last season’s success.

Derrick Favors has been putting in serious work to get lean for this season. After earning a big contract, it’s great to see Favors gearing up for a big season.

It’s also great to see how lean Favors is looking. Carrying around less weight will help him lessen the wear and tear on his body and also keep up with athletic stretch fours on the perimeter.

Donovan Mitchell is also putting in some serious work.

It’s nice to see that there’s nothing lingering with the injury from the playoffs. Training camp is very close and there isn’t anything holding this team back. This season has the makings of something special.

This NBA 2K commercial running in China features Donovan Mitchell and it’s a lot of fun!

From now on when I’m struggling I’m going to just think of this part.

Finally, rarehoops on Instagram posted this old video from Pistol Pete showing a pass I hope someone on the Jazz pulls on a fast break one day.