Utah Jazz
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Utah’s Success Is Not Sustainable

Utah Jazz fans might want to look away from this one. The team that had the best regular-season record in the NBA appears bound for regression in 2022. I do love Donovan Mitchell, but the load on his shoulders is simply too heavy. We all know he is not afraid to put work in but they need another star in order to truly contend in the Western Conference. Mike Conley was finally selected as an All-Star at age 33, but he is a pending free agent and will likely look for one more decent payday before riding off into the sunset as one of this generation’s most underrated point guards. Bojan Bogdanovic is a good supplementary option but appears to have taken a step back after his career year in 2019-2020. Hindsight is 20/20, but the Jazz would have been dangerous if they had been able to keep prime Gordon Hayward along with Mitchell. With both players on the roster, Utah would have had a 1-2 punch of Mitchell and Hayward with Rudy Gobert patrolling the paint. That squad does not blow a 2-0 series advantage over a battered Clippers team. What makes this disappointment even sadder is that Mitchell might not see a clearer path to the finals for at least a couple of years.

This Is The Wild West

This season was an anomaly for the Jazz. It took career years from Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson off the bench to spark this roster into barely edging out the Phoenix Suns for the league’s best record. Another indication of their unsustainability is in their three-point shooting, as the Jazz captured the league record for the most threes per game and would have beaten out the Houston Rockets for most in a season if the season had been 82 games. Who wants to bet the Jazz have six or seven 40% three-point shooters next year? Not me. I believe in Donovan Mitchell but there is not much else on that Jazz roster that has won me over. Furthermore, the Western Conference is looking like even more of a bloodbath next season. If Chris Paul stays in Phoenix then the Suns will be in the mix for the #1 seed, along with healthy Lakers and Nuggets squads. The same can be said for the Clippers if Kawhi Leonard re-signs. With a healthy Klay Thompson, the Golden State Warriors will be looking to make everyone remember how good they still are, and young squads like the Mavericks and Grizzlies are hungry to put the league on notice. I still think Utah is a playoff team in the West but definitely not a top seed. They will likely settle into the four or five spot, although they could reach a top-three seed if the season breaks their way. I would love to see them prove me wrong but it seems unlikely to happen. Unless the front office can navigate the offseason and put some more high-end pieces around Mitchell and Gobert, the Utah Jazz are in for some tough times in the near future.

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