Will the Utah Jazz meet the expectations that are being set for them this season?


Going into the 2021 season of NBA basketball, the expectations for the Utah Jazz are high. After losing to the Los Angeles Clippers in game six in the second round of the 2020 playoffs, the Jazz are expected to come back stronger for this upcoming season. They hope to have the best record in the NBA like they did last season as well as make a deep playoff run which hopefully ends in a title.
This year the Jazz are returning many star players like Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Mike Conely. In addition to these players, the Utah Jazz have signed some new guys like Rudy Gay and Hassan Whiteside; they also drafted Jared Butler and traded for Eric Paschall. These players were signed, drafted and traded in hopes of filling some key positions and helping the team improve.
Why were the Utah Jazz not successful last season? Three reasons. The first reason is that Mitchell and Conely were suffering from injuries, which left significant holes in the offense. Both players tried to push through the injuries and play, but because they weren’t fully healthy, it did little to help the team. Another reason is that the LA Clippers played small. Playing small means that the team didn’t have a real center player on the court. These small lineups took Gobert away from the basket, where he is most efficient, and made him play outside his comfort zone, which was problematic for the defense. The Jazz also couldn’t capitalize on the offensive end like they should have been able to with the Clippers playing small. The Jazz’s other problem from last year was when Gobert was off the floor, their defensive rating skyrocketed. Rudy Gobert had the largest plus/minus differential in the league, meaning that when he was on the floor, our defense typically played well, but when he was off the floor, our defense suffered. This is one primary reason that the Jazz tried hard to acquire Hassan Whiteside in the offseason.
So far this year, that differential hasn’t been nearly as big, and Hassan has been playing extremely well. The reason they got Rudy Gay was because this makes it so that the Jazz can go small and play without Gobert or Whiteside on the court, and Rudy Gay can play center. This helps them to match up against teams like the LA Clippers.
With the high expectations put on the team this year, many are wondering if they will rise to the challenge or fall short like in the season’s past. All we know for sure is that the Utah Jazz are a talented team, and it sure is going to be fun to watch them play some great basketball this season. So take note, and GO JAZZ!