Utah Jazz: Will Jazz remain competitive in the West?

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On paper, it looks like the Western Conference will be even more competitive next season than it was this season and it was really, really competitive this season.

The emergence of new, young and increasingly improved teams like the Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, and the continued rise of the Memphis Grizzlies have added a new wrinkle to the West’s top tier.

But in addition to new talent, there will also be returning players like Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., who will make the Denver Nuggets a tougher team. Then there’s the expected return of a Kawhi Leonard, who will make the Los Angeles Clippers relevant once again. The LA Lakers could get healthy and be tough again, and a healthy Damian Lillard could shake things up if the Portland Trail Blazers are able to make the right moves.

The thing is, the West, as is usually the case, is going to be filled with playoff-worthy teams. So where will Jazz fit into all of this? Will they remain a competitive team in the playoffs?

Those are great questions — questions that can only be answered after seeing what Danny Ainge and Justin Zanik are doing for the Jazz this offseason. If the Jazz take even a slight setback in talent or ability, that could be enough to knock them out of the playoffs.

But even if the Jazz were to stay true and not make many changes, there is a chance that the Western teams around the Jazz could improve and that could drop the Jazz into a team that is fighting for one of the last seeds of the playoffs.

If the Jazz want to stay competitive in the Western Conference, the front office is going to have to pull off some pretty impressive maneuvers this summer.

New with Jazz

Statistics of the week

Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncicdespite only making five playoff appearances this year, is the NBA’s leading scorer in the playoffs with 33.4 points per game.

The top five active scorers in the playoffs are rounded out by:

  • Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics (28 points per game).
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks (27.9 points per game).
  • Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors (27.3 points per game).
  • Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat (26.5 points per game).

Archives

This Week in Jazz History

On May 8, 1988, the Jazz set a points record in the first quarter scored in an NBA playoff game. The Los Angeles Lakers held the Utah Jazz to just eight points in the first quarter of Game 1 of their Western Conference Semifinals series, a 110-91 victory over the Lakers.

How to pass the time during the offseason

Now that the Jazz season is over, that means I have some time to catch up on the things I love but didn’t have enough time for during the NBA season. Many of you ask me how I spend my time. Well, I love watching live sports, so I go to Salt Lake Bees and Real Salt Lake games, but I also almost always read a book (or two, or three), work on a puzzle I watch sort of binge-worthy TV show and listen to lots of podcasts. So I thought this would be a good place to suggest my latest way to pass the off-season time and also take your suggestions.

During the first week of the Jazz offseason, I read the book “Bone White” by Ronald Malfi. The opening of the book reveals that a serial killer worked in a rural and remote part of Alaska. Coincidentally, this is the same place Paul Gallo’s twin brother was last seen over a year ago. From there, a work of horror/murder mystery fiction ensues.

I felt like it would work really well as a movie. There are some perfect spooky/scary scenes you want out of a horror novel, but I have to admit it left me craving a little more once it was over, and not the best way, but I’ll also be the first to say that I like things tied in pretty knots. Not everyone needs this.

Twitter user @RSLTID78 also mentioned coloring books as a way to pass the time and I think that’s a great suggestion. Coloring books aren’t just for kids! I like to use colored pencils in books with floral pictures or intricate patterns while listening to an audiobook or podcast.

Bonus points

  • Could Rudy Gobert and Joel Embiid become teammates? (Desert News)
  • The Utah Jazz should make Quin Snyder an offer he can’t refuse (Salt Lake Grandstand)
  • Donovan Mitchell is heading into the most important offseason of his career (Athleticism)
  • Quin Snyder undergoes hip replacement surgery (Deseret News)

around the league

Ben Simmons, who hasn’t suited up for the Brooklyn Nets since his trade to Philly, had back surgery.

Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillion Brooks suspended one game for a foul that caused Golden State’s Gary Payton II to fracture his elbow.

Warriors striker Draymond Green fined to upset Grizzlies fans.

Philadelphia Joel Embiid still out with orbital fracture.

Next: The NBA playoffs

May 6 | 5:00 p.m. | Game 3 | Miami Heat @ Philadelphia 76ers | ESPN

May 6 | 7:30 p.m. | Game 3 | Phoenix Suns @ Dallas Mavericks | ESPN

May 7 | 1:30 p.m. | Game 3 | Boston Celtics @ Milwaukee Bucks | ABC

May 7 | 6:30 p.m. | Game 3 | Memphis Grizzlies @ Golden State Warriors | ABC

May 8 | 1:30 p.m. | Game 4 | Phoenix Suns @ Dallas Mavericks | ESPN

May 8 | 6:00 p.m. | Game 4 | Miami Heat @ Philadelphia 76ers | DTT

May 9 | 5:30 p.m. | Game 4 | Boston Celtics @ Milwaukee Bucks | DTT

May 9 | 8 p.m. | Game 4 | Memphis Grizzlies @ Golden State Warriors | DTT

May 10 | To be determined | Game 5 if necessary | Philadelphia 76ers @ Miami Heat | DTT

May 10 | To be determined | Game 5 if necessary | Dallas Mavericks @ Phoenix Suns | DTT

May 11 | 5:00 p.m. | Game 5 | Milwaukee Bucks @ Boston Celtics | DTT

May 11 | 7:30 p.m. | Game 5 | Golden State Warriors @ Memphis Grizzlies | DTT

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