Competing in the Wild West

Being a successful team is hard enough in a professional league, but being in the western conference in the NBA is a challenge on its own. Star-studded talent thrives in the west, especially in teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and the Denver Nuggets.

Many analysts counted out the Utah Jazz prior to the start of the 2020-21 season. Seerat Sohi and Lajethro Jenkins, from Yahoo! Sports, both left Utah out of their predictions for playoff teams.

Utah made the right moves in the offseason by keeping consistent contributors and releasing burdens. Keeping a similar roster creates a strength for Utah because it builds chemistry between players and their playing styles.

One of the most important moves made in the offseason was re-signing the young star, Donovan Mitchell to a five-year $195 million contract. Mitchell has led the Jazz to a serious playoff run for the first three years of his career. Coming off averaging 24 points per game and setting multiple records in the playoffs, it is hopeful this year will be nothing short of that.

On the defensive end, the Utah Jazz re-signed the two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert, to a super-max five-year $205 million contract. An intimidating factor on both ends of the court is what a team needs in order to be a championship contender.

Basketball is more than just an individual sport and it truly takes an entire team. The Jazz not only have a powerful starting lineup, but the difference between Utah and other teams is in the depth of their bench.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Coach Quin Snyder is not worried about who scores the ball and is more focused on the play being made.

We’re better off if we just play together and our guys are unselfish,” Snyder said, “so that the ball can kind of find the open man, so to speak.”

Bojan Bogdanovic provided a strong 20.2 points per game on his first year with the Jazz prior to a trade from the Indiana Pacers.

Jordan Clarkson providing a consistent 15.2 points per game allows the offense to be spread out across the team. The more players a team has that can consistently get to their spots and score, the more difficult it is for defenses to strategize a plan.

Utah also brought back Derrick Favors after a year of being in New Orleans. Favors not only spreads the offensive floor, being a traditional forward, but he is also a dangerous presence on the defensive end.

As Mike Conley becomes more comfortable in his second year in Utah, he has begun to understand his role and how to score.

Utah has the potential to play smart and winning basketball with the talent and chemistry created over the last year. As long as Utah can hit their shots and make defensive stops, Jazz basketball can be very successful and dangerous for opposing teams.