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Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) drives up court during the Jazz versus spurs NBA game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)
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Could The Jazz Reach 50 Wins?

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) drives up court during the Jazz versus spurs NBA game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Now that the Utah Jazz have decided to stick it out with the current team after no deal was made at the trade deadline, the focus is now on winning as many games as possible.

Perhaps that number is 50 wins?

To get to 50, the Jazz would need to win 19 games the rest of the way and that seems to be very realistic with the schedule for the remainder of the season. The winning percentage of opponents left is just .468, which is the third easiest in the NBA.

Are The Jazz Better Than Last Year?

KSL’s Unrivaled co-host Scott Mitchell likes the chances of the Jazz getting to 50 wins for the third time this decade, but he is not overly confident that this team is actually better than last year’s squad that made it to the Western Conference semifinals.

“You look through the schedule and you can see a path to 50 wins,” Mitchell said. “The thing that is really strange for me though is that the Jazz are in a better place than they were a year ago.

“It doesn’t feel that way because the team that was so cohesive and playing on a high level with long win streaks last year has a better record so far this year. What it is to me is that they keep having these weird blow out losses,” said Mitchell

The Jazz have suffered multiple inexcusable defeats like losing badly to teams like Dallas, Memphis and Houston. Those losses can’t happen for this team if they want to take the next step and be a legitimate Western Conference contender.

“You want to see the Jazz compete against those good teams, and especially you want to see the Jazz compete at home,” Mitchell added regarding the bad losses this year for the Jazz. “You see these weird and bizarre losses with a very inconsistent offense and looking over the shoulder during the trade deadline.”

No Trade Deadline Moves: Good Or Bad?

There are no more changes and this roster is who the Jazz have the rest of the way, so head coach Quin Snyder and his staff need to make due and hope they can catch lightning again like last year with a sizeable winning streak.

“The Jazz didn’t make those moves and here they are at now and now the players have to show something a little extra. Now the players have to prove something,” co-host Alex Kirry said. “What Dennis Lindsey and the executive team over at the Jazz are saying: ‘We are good with this group and good enough with this group, so you better prove us right… because we feel this group is a bigger payoff for us.’ “

However, Kirry thinks the Jazz will come up just short to 50 wins because the Jazz team of last year was stealing a few games that they were not supposed to win and the 2018-19 version has not done that. Now that could change done the stretch but if the team has not really done that yet this year what evidence is there that the Jazz will just turn it on and defeat the top teams out West.

“I think they will improve from 48 to 49 wins,” Kirry said about his prediction. “I bet they will break all of our hearts. “I almost guarantee your heart will be broken somehow and they could win just 46 or 47 games and have a couple of really bad losses in there. Then you have to include the games they may have stolen last year, which aren’t happening this year, and that is about what you are getting from this team.

“I think they will be a four or five seed again and everyone will go ‘eh’ and then we will all wonder why they didn’t make any changes at the deadline,” said Kirry.

A ‘Silver Lining’

Mitchell provided his optimistic take for the Jazz to not only get to 50 wins but perhaps advance further in the playoffs since there were no blockbuster moves to any team in the West.

“Let me give you my silver lining. The West I am not so sure it is better or as good as last year. I don’t think its as strong as it was last year and maybe teams have improved,” Mitchell said optimistically. “It is not like are not three or four teams running away in the West, and even Golden State is not quite what they were a year ago… This could be the time where maybe a four- or five-seed goes to the conference finals.”

If Utah were to get to 50 wins it would be two more than the 2017-18 season, and would very likely earn them home court in the playoffs then give them an edge to possibly make a run at the Western Conference finals.

Tune into KSL’s Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 7-9 p.m., or download the KSL NewsRadio app to subscribe to the podcast.