Utah Jazz Pick For Remaining 8 Games of The Season
The Utah Jazz was one of the streakiest teams in the NBA before the shutdown. They had gone on winning streak of 10 games,7 games, and 6 games. During these streaks, the Jazz played brilliantly and boosted their net rating considerably.
They’ve also had losing streaks such as the five-game losing streak to end January and begin February, where they played about as poorly as an NBA team can play. Question is, what is the Utah Jazz pick for how many of the 8 remaining games will they win?
Team chemistry is a very real concern
The Jazz was at the forefront of the NBA season shut down. Rudy Gobert, who had previously made light of what he called the Coronavirus paranoia, made it a point to touch every microphone in his last press conference. He also was making light of the pandemic in the locker room, continually touching everybody’s stuff including star teammate Donovan Mitchell. While these types of jokes and ribs are common amongst and NBA locker room, the joke failed to be funny when Gobert tested positive for Coronavirus.
Rudy Gobert has been frustrated with Donovan Mitchell’s ball dominance at times, per ESPN
“The fact that Mitchell has the ball in his hands the most has been the primary irritant in what is an overall successful partnership between he and Gobert.”
(h/t RealGM) pic.twitter.com/DAJ5Kz5u68
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) July 7, 2020
When Donovan Mitchell tested positive also, he was understandably miffed at his teammate’s reckless attempt at humor. By making light of a serious situation and putting his teammates at risk, Gobert has understandably earned the ire of his teammates, especially Mitchell. Gobert and Mitchell already had an interesting dynamic with Mitchell sometimes trying to play “hero ball” and ignoring Gobert in the post for long stretches of possessions. One cannot imagine this incident has made the teammates closer. The chemistry on the Jazz is a major concern.
Bogdanovic is going to be a missing piece
When the stoppage of play was announced, one Jazz player took action. Bojan Bogdanovic, the sharpshooting small forward, decided to have surgery on his right wrist. He will be out for the rest of the season. Given the uncertainty of the NBA restart, it is easy to see why Bogdanovic chose to have the surgery immediately when it was uncertain whether or not the season would even be finished.
Regardless, Bogdanovic will be unavailable. This will cause the Jazz to have less shooting and spacing on offense. Joe Ingles will step up to try and fill the role but the combination of Ingles and Bogdanovic created quite the three-point threat. With only one of them for the defense the key on, Jazz opponents will have a much easier time defending the three-point line.
Which version of Conely will we get in Orlando?
The X-Factor in the Jazz success will be the play of Mike Conley. When he joined the team in the offseason, fans and analysts thought this could be the piece that would build the Jazz into a true championship contender. Conley failed to mesh with the team right away. In fact, the first win streak was conceived when Conley was out with an injury. When Conley stepped out, Donovan Mitchell took over more ball-handling duties. This also pushed Joe Ingles into the starting lineup which gave the Jazz more three-point shooting and space on the floor.
When Conley returned, the Jazz struggled. Yet right before the shutdown, Conley had finally found chemistry with his teammates and was able to lead the team on a small win streak. Which Conley shows up to Orlando will be a key factor in how the Jazz performs as a team. If Conley continues to integrate himself well and lead the offense properly, the team has a great chance to be successful. But if we see the Conley that we saw for most of the year, who was ineffective in starting the offense and who kept the ball out of Donovan Mitchell’s hands (who is a much better creator at this point in their respective careers), this Jazz team is in trouble.
Jazz won’t get it together in Orlando
I’m not a believer in this Jazz team. I don’t know how well they will play as a team with everything that transpired. Without the spacing provided by Bogdanovic, they can get bogged down on offense. While Gobert does have a nice post presence, he’s unable to space the floor and often is ignored, which can be another detriment to the team. The rift between Mitchell and Gobert will probably resurface if the team accumulates losses.
|@New Orleans||July 30, 2020||Lose|
|@Oklahoma City||Aug 1, 2020||Lose|
|vs. Lakers||Aug 3, 2020||Lose|
|vs. Memphis||Aug 5, 2020||Win|
|@ San Antonio||August 7, 2020||Lose|
|@Denver||August 8, 2020||Win|
|vs. Dallas||August 10, 2020||Lose|
|vs. San Antonio||August 13, 2020||Win|
Mitchell and Gobert were already having problems regarding their respective usages, with Gobert thinking he should get the ball more and Mitchell not looking for his teammate under the rim. Add in the Coronavirus fiasco to their grievances and this seems like a combustible mix ready to blow if the team does not win. Combine that with the fact that in the bubble there are no easy games on the schedule and the Jazz are in for a tough end of the season.
The over-under for the Jazz remaining eight games on the schedule is 4 wins. The Jazz is a prime candidate to go under. Lack of chemistry, lack of spacing, and a tough schedule will be too much for the Jazz to overcome. I believe they will be a disappointment in the bubble and if this team chemistry breaks, they could be a team looking to move assets in the offseason and rebuild with a core that has more chemistry.
NBA Pick : Utah Jazz under four wins (-115)