Five Utah Jazz Players Crack SI’s Top 100
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – All five of the Utah Jazz’s presumed starters made it onto Sports Illustrated’s annual top 100 players list, which was unveiled in sections this week.
In fact, Ricky Rubio, Joe Ingles, Derrick Favors, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert were all ranked within the top 60 according to SI’s Ben Golliver and Rob Mahoney. The Jazz were one of seven NBA teams to have five players on the list. Golden State and Boston led the pack with six selections on the list.
Gobert Ranked 14th
For the second straight year, Rudy Gobert was the highest-ranked Jazzman on the list, moving up from No. 15 to 14. On Gobert, who was honored as the 2017-18 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Mahoney wrote “His presence provides a sense of order, a way of life. Utah orients its entire defense around Gobert, knowing that he’ll not only influence a ton of shots himself, but give teammates license to apply their own pressure. This has a constricting effect. Passing lanes are tighter. Driving lanes are contested. It’s difficult to even work through your offense against Gobert and the Jazz, much less score.”
Mitchell Ranked 34th
Donovan Mitchell made his first career appearance on the list, making waves with a No. 34 overall ranking. On the budding Utah superstar, Golliver wrote “If Rose was Chicago’s first superstar of the post-Jordan era, Mitchell might very well become Utah’s most beloved and decorated player since Stockton and Malone.”
Favors Ranked 51st
Derrick Favors was rewarded for his strong play last season with a bump in the rankings, moving from No. 67 in the 2017 poll to No. 51 in this year’s edition. Mahoney, speaking on Favors, wrote: “Rudy Gobert casts a long shadow, the kind that obscures just how good his frontcourt partner can be. If transported to another team, Favors could anchor a defense all his own with even greater optionality.”
Ingles Ranked 56th
The sharp-shooting Joe Ingles also made his first appearance on the top 100 list, coming in at No. 56. “If you were to ask a basketball coach to describe their ideal role player, they might unknowingly profile Ingles,” wrote Mahoney.
Rubio Ranked 57th
Right behind Ingles at No. 57 was Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio. Mahoney gushed about Rubio’s improved shooting, writing: “Rubio is prone to weeks-long mirages of effective shooting, in which it appears—for some fleeting moment—that his long-range accuracy has turned a corner.”
The full list is available at SI.com.
The Jazz will begin the preseason September 29th at 7:00 when they host the Perth Wildcats at Vivint Arena. The regular season will start with the Jazz facing the Kings in Sacramento on October 17th.