Utah Jazz road trips are never easy to stomach these days. But while it’s never fun to see the Jazz in the losing column, the season is young. There’s lots to be learned from these slip-ups. Unfortunately, there will also probably be some more slip-ups as the team figures out exactly who they are.
Let’s take a look at the positive and negative takeaways from the past week of Utah Jazz NBA basketball.
Utah Jazz Early-Season Road Trip Positives
Donovan Mitchell – The Boy Wonder
If you’ve watched ANY Utah Jazz basketball in the past two years, you know the kid can hoop. Plain and simple. The question Jazz fans have been asking since seeing the put-back dunk off the Alec Burks miss is just how good can he be?
After six games, Spida is averaging 25.7 points per game on 52% shooting. I know it’s early, but it this is where he starts the year off, imagine where he’ll be come the All Star break!
I fully expect Donovan to be an All Star this year. And while his team dropped two on the road in early November, Donovan was the only reason the game was close at all.
But most importantly, when the ball is in his hands, I feel optimistic something good will happen. When he pulls up for the mid range jumper, I feel as confident as I would be if he were going in for an uncontested layup.
I haven’t felt that way in a long, LONG time.
Bojan Bogdanovic – Feed The Beast
We knew the Utah Jazz front office was going to get some talent to help their stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. What it seems like we didn’t know was ANYTHING about Bojan Bogdanovic.
Bojan is averaging better than 2o points per game six games into the season. Plus, the Croation looks like he’s the bonafide scoring threat the team needs to make a deep run in the playoffs.
Whether he’s taking it to the hole for the tough finish through contact, or hitting the deep elbow 3-pointer without even grazing the rim, Bojan can score.
Utah Jazz – Rule #1: Defense First
Utah currently sits second in the league in terms of team defensive rating.
This defense is elite. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been enough for the Jazz to remain in first place. To understate it, the offense is still a work in progress.
Nobody Important is Worried About Mike Conley
Utah Jazz Early-Season Road Trip Negatives
Back-to-Basics: Rebounding Needs Work
The Utah Jazz were visibly out rebounded by the Clippers Sunday night in Los Angeles. In fact, the final rebounding totals were LAC 54 rebounds to Utah’s 37…
With Derrick Favors playing in New Orleans this year (RIP), Utah has been transitioning to more of a “small ball” lineup. This places the bulk of the rebounding duties squarely on Rudy Gobert’s shoulders.
Now we know Rudy can hold his own when it comes to rebounds, but can he make up for an entire team who has seemingly forgotten how to box out?
Not to mention the fact that Ed Davis is now out at least a month with a leg injury. Look for rebounding to improve under the fine tutelage of Quin Snyder.
Offense of Everyone Not Named Bojan or Donovan
I’m just going to leave this here…
NBA Referee Patterns
The Utah Jazz, especially now that Ed Davis is out for extended time, need to learn how to manipulate NBA Referees.
I know that sounds like I just said they need to learn how to cheat (maybe they do need to learn how to cheat…), but that’s not what I mean.
It just seems like the refs call a million fouls either on the Jazz or the opposing team at a certain time, and have to make up for it later on.
For example, against Phoenix, refs called a ridiculous amount of fouls against Utah in the 3rd quarter. During that time, the Suns were able to get out to a decent lead.
However, the 4th quarter was the opposite story, with most of the fouls being called against Phoenix. Simply put, the refs want to call an even game, and know when they need to favor a team to make it happen.
The Jazz need to come out physical from the start of the game, which will ultimately lead to refs calling less fouls for more physical defense later in the game. #Solved
We learned a lot about the Utah Jazz during one of their first mini road trips of the season. Hopefully we right the ship and get back to the winning ways we’re used to!