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NBA Power Rankings: Utah Jazz Are a Top 5 Team

Defense Wins Championships…

With less than four weeks to go before the playoffs begin, things are finally starting to get sorted in the Western Conference standings, at least at the top.

Injuries to the Golden State Warriors (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant) have probably ensured that the Houston Rockets will have the No. 1 seed (and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs) come April 14th. Warriors will be the No. 2 seed and the Portland Trail Blazers, in my mind, have locked up the No. 3 seed with how they’ve been playing as of late.

But where will the Utah Jazz end up? A few weeks ago the Jazz sat out of playoff contention, however, I predicted they would finish as the No. 5 seed come playoff time. Can they secure the No. 4 seed though?

It’s possible.

The Jazz have won nine straight games, 11 consecutive road games and 21 of their last 23.

The official NBA website ranks the Jazz at No. 5 and mentions that Utah has allowed 8.5 fewer points per 100 possessions than any other team over that stretch. They were still in a ninth-place tie with the Nuggets just a week ago, but have climbed to fifth by taking care of business against a weak schedule that continues through Thursday. Things are still too tight from 4-10 in the West for anybody to get comfortable, and Utah’s schedule gets interesting next weekend (though a little less interesting with the Warriors’ injuries).

ESPN gives Utah a ranking at No. 6 and cites that this is only the fourth season in Jazz history in which Utah has won 21 times over a 23-game span. They also did it 1994-95, 1996-97 and 1997-98.

Hmmm…Seems like this Jazz team could do something special.

Bleacher Report loves Rudy Gobert and believes that he should win Defensive Player of the Year despite missing 26 games. Since he returned to action the Jazz easily own the NBA’s top defensive rating and fall at No. 4 in their rankings.

Does his Head Coach Quin Snyder agree?

Sports Illustrated listed the Jazz at No. 6 in their power rankings. Only two games lie between the Thunder and the Jazz for fourth place and homecourt in the first round.

Since Rudy Gobert returned on Jan. 19, the Jazz have an NBA-best defensive rating (96.2 points allowed per 100 possessions), the league’s second-best net rating (plus-11.2, trailing only Houston), and a 22-4 record, according to USA Today. They gave the Jazz a ranking at No. 7.

And finally, CBS Sports ranks the Jazz at No. 5.

Overall Power Ranking: Utah sits at fifth place in the Western Conference Standings, but fifth overall in the Power Rankings.

 

And congratulations to “Jingling Joe” who broke a Utah Jazz record this past week.

 

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