The Utah Jazz are 34-21, searching to enter the playoffs since the 2011-2012 season when they lost to the Spurs in a 4-0 sweep. They’ve been coming close every season since, but couldn’t make a strong enough push. They can say thanks to the disappointing Portland Trailblazers and Dallas Mavericks who are usually in the playoff mix; who are currently 23-31 and 22-32.
The underrated Gordon Hayward is having one of his best seasons yet but wasn’t overlooked this season when he was chosen to be an All-Star for the first time. The 6’8 226 lbs forward is averaging 22.1 PPG along with 5.8 RPG and 3.5 APG while shooting 47% from the field.
Rudy Gobert is averaging a double-double, 13 points and 12.6 rebounds per game, who was one of the “snubbed” players from the All-Star team. There are plenty of other good players like George Hill (17.5 PPG, 4 APG), Rodney Hood (13.7 PPG), Joe Johnson off the bench (8 PPG, 44.2 FG%), Boris Diaw (4.8 PPG, 45%), and Trey Lyles (7.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG) in his second year NBA campaign.
What’s fueling them this season?
A playoff drought is no joke, so of course, a different mindset and more determination were taken in the offseason. New pieces being added like Joe Johnson, Boris Diaw, and especially George Hill. What’s surprising is their record considering George Hill and Gordon Hayward missed a couple of games due to injuries. All they have to do is keep playing the way they been have, and their playoff drought since the 2011-2012 season will be over.
How far will they go?
So far the playoff teams are the Warriors, Spurs, Rockets, Clippers, Memphis, Thunder, Nuggets and Jazz at the 4th seed. With the Clippers at the 5th seed, the Jazz will likely be playing them, which won’t be an easy task, but not a very difficult one either.
Although the Clippers are considered a “championship contender” they’ve never even been to the conference finals and at times even struggled to get past the first round. With Utah’s incredible defense and great offense, they can even get as far to the conference finals or even finals. The only thing that could stop them is themselves.