Utah Jazz will win around 60 games this season!
I know saying the Jazz will win around 60 games sounds bold but I truly believe they are capable of something like that. In my opinion they and the Nuggets will fight for the number 1 seed in the West with the Clippers, Lakers and Rockets load managing their super stars and also trying to figure things out as the season goes on. The Jazz already showed that they are an elite defensive team in the last 2 season and they managed to address many of their problems with the moves they made this summer.
Next I will try to present you the main reasons I am so high on the Jazz.
1. They actually underperformed last season.
They had a decent 2018/19 season with 50 wins and the second best defense in the league. Their defensive corner stone Rudy Gobert won his second consecutive Defensive Player of the Year and sophomore Donovan Mitchell improved a little bit after his amazing rookie season. In my opinion those 50 wins is low for how good the Jazz actually were last season. If we take a look at points differential, the Jazz were the 4th best team in the league only behind the 60 wins Bucks, the 58 wins Raptors and 57 wins Warriors . They were above teams like Nuggets, Rockets or Blazers who had 54 and 53 wins. If we take out the garbage time (period toward the end of a timed sports competition that has become a blowout when the outcome of the game has already been decided) the Jazz actually had the points differential of a 58 wins team, only second to the Milwaukee Bucks. This year Jazz have way better players to decide close games and this should help them a lot.
2.Snyder is one of the best analytical coaches in the NBA
Playing analytical basketball is perfect for the regular season and no one in the West is doing this as good a Quin Snyder. He plays a style based on smart shot distribution and also deliberately let the other team shot low percentage shots. The only other 2 teams have a similar approach to the game are the Bucks and the Nets. Snyder was actually Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer assistant along Nets coach Kenny Atkinson when they were all part of the Hawks coaching staff. Considering how good the Nets and Bucks were last year compared to expectations we can safely say that this style works. The Bucks managed to win 60 games last season and after Conley and Bogdanovic signings I am not sure this Jazz roster is way worse than what Budenholzer had in Milwaukee last season.
3. Mike Conley
This guy is so under rated! The best player in the history that never made the playoffs too in my opinion. He spent all his career playing for the Memphis Grizzlies who were always a good defense, so the change to the Jazz should feel natural. However, in Utah he will have better offensive players than he ever had in Memphis. He will have shooters like Bogdanovic, Ingles and Mitchell surrounding him and this should do wonders for a player of his type. He is 32 years and while some may worry that he may decline this season I do not share this concern. He had his 2 best seasons of his carreer stats wise in 2016/17 and 2018/19 with career highs in points and true shooting. His experience and work ethic should be a great example for the young guards this team has. The most important thing will be his influence on the young star and back court partner Donovan Mitchell. In my opinion the fit is perfect because Conley can facilitate Mitchell but also play off the ball and let him create when it’s the case. Conley can also help his 2 young backups Dante Exum and Emanuel Mudiay. Both were top 5 picks in the draft but so far their careers were pretty bad. Mudiay was always put in bad situations in his career so learning from one of the best point guards in the league should help him a lot this year.
4. Donovan Mitchell
As a 13th draft pick, Mitchell was the runner up for Rookie of the year in the 2017/18 season surprising everyone. He had an amazing season for a rookie with 20 points and 3.7 assists per game. He followed that performance with 24 points and 4.2 assist per game last season. The fact that he was the main offensive weapon for a 50 wins team in his 2 first NBA years is a great accomplishment. This year the offense won‘t rely so heavily on him with Conley running the point guard position. What will happen in my opinion is that Mitchell will take the same number of shots but the difficulty will be way lower. He will also be one of the main pieces of team USA at the World Cup and usually players that perform for the national team comes back better for the next season. I believe there is a good chance Mitchell will be an All Star this season and if that happens I am pretty sure the Jazz will reach at least 55 wins.
5. New signings make perfect sense.
Besides Mike Conley who we already discussed the Jazz also signed Bojan Bogdanovic, Ed Davies, Jeff Green and Emanuel Mudiay. Bojan Bogdanovic is a very good shooter and an underrated defender in my opinion. He was one of the main reasons the Pacers managed to still be decent last season after Oladipo injury and should fit very well with the Jazz players. He is a great catch and shoot player but can also create for himself at times. A starting 5 with him Conley, Mitchell, Ingles and Gobert will be scary and very hard to defend because Gobert will be surrounded by 4 shooters. With two creators like Conley and Mitchell having the ball the defending team will either give Gobert space inside or let Ingles/Bogdanovic shoot.
Davies is one of the best backup centers in the league because of the energy he plays with. He is an elite offensive rebounder and had a wonderful season with the Nets. Jeff Green is also a very decent backup at the 4 with great experience and great 3 and D ability.
I already said that Mudiay could improve a lot playing besides a mentor like Conley. I will just add that he actually slowly improved his advanced stats every year and while those were still awful last season playing in a balanced system like the Jazz one may take him to new heights efficiency wise.
6.Their losses may prove to be beneficial
The main 2 guys Jazz lost this offseason were Derrick Favors and Joe Crowder. Despite the fact I like Favors as a player and I think he will have a good season playing for the Pelicans this move had to be made by the Jazz. Favors and Gobert playing together just does not make sense for modern basketball and stats shows that. For the last 3 seasons the Jazz were meaningfully worse when Gobert and Favors played together. The points differential in those minutes is clearly worse thant the minutes when only Gobert played. The minutes Favors played as backup center without Gobert were nice but I believe Ed Davies will be a nice replacement there.
While Jae Crowder was a nice player for the Jazz, he never played close to the level he was in Boston and his replacement Bogdanovic is way better so Jazz should not feel his absence.
I made it clear that I love the Jazz for the upcoming season so there are my 2 bets for you:
Jazz over 51.5 wins – 1.91 at Skybet ( I would also take over 53.5 or 54.5 wins available at Unibet and Pinnaclesports)
Jazz to have the best record in the West – 5.25 odds at 888sport and Unibet (would also take 5.0 at Betfair)