Though the Utah Jazz are being hyped up by everyone from the water cooler guys to the national media, they’ll be fighting against established teams for higher playoff seeds. The Jazz’s next opponent, the Clippers, are one of these teams.
Over the last four years, seven of the fifteen western conference teams have accomplished the task of getting home-court advantage for at least one playoff series by getting a top four seed. If you do the math, there are sixteen playoff spots available in that range for four years, but only seven teams have claimed them. And the Clippers are the only team of those seven to secure a top four seed in each of the last four years. Not the Spurs, Thunder,or Warriors, the Los Angeles Clippers.
The central theme for the Jazz this season is to see if they can vault themselves into the upper tiers of the western conference. If Utah actually wants to do this, then they’re going to need to play well against the teams already at the top level of the west.
In the same span of four years, the Jazz are 1-13 against the Clippers. A lot of that is due
Ty Corbin to the Jazz and Clippers being on the opposite sides of rebuilding. The Jazz have similarly bad records against the Spurs (3-11) and the Thunder (4-12) over that same span.
Losing constantly to the top teams is one of the things that fans are expecting to change. Last season, against the top four teams in the west (Warriors, Spurs, Thunder, Clippers) the Jazz went a dazzling 1-14. Getting to 50 wins is going to require that record to be a bit more impressive.
The good news with that statistic is that it means the Jazz were 23-14 against the rest of the conference. Their record against the bottom four playoff teams was 6-8 and 17-6 against the other non-playoff teams.
There’s a lot of room for improvement for the Jazz, and it’s going to start with how they fare against the better teams in the NBA.