Should The Jazz Go For 8th Seed In NBA Playoffs?

Feb 15, 2019, 9:13 PM
Utah Jazz - Donovan Mitchell - Rudy Gobert...
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) and Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) discuss a play on the bench 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)
(Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Everything seems to be getting better and better for the Utah Jazz at the All-Star break. The team is getting healthier, they’re is 14-6 since the start of 201, and the schedule gets much easier the rest of the way.

However, KSL Unrivaled’s Scott Mitchell threw out a wild yet totally serious idea on a recent podcast.  He proposed that the Jazz should tank in the second half in order for the team to have a better chance at a deep playoff run.

“If the Jazz really want to make a statement and if they want to get out of being one-and done, or just getting into the second round of the playoffs. The Jazz say: ‘we want to purposely meet up in the first round with Golden State,’ and the only you can do that is to be the eight seed and the only way to be the eight seed is to lose a lot of games,” said Mitchell with a straight-face.

Yes, that is right, he wants the Jazz to lose games and be the eighth seed in order to have the privilege to play the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.

This is the complete opposite of what teams with winning records do, because teams use the smart logic to win as many games as possible to earn home-court advantage and to play teams that are worse.

There is a small history of some NBA teams jockeying for seeding late in the year but it is rare and it is usually to avoid the really good teams. What is more common is tanking to try to get the top draft pick and be able to select the next great NBA player in the draft. Both options are extremely risky and do not always pan out.

Mitchell didn’t consider this bold move a version of throwing in the towel for seeding.  After all, to be the best you have to beat the best, and that team in the Western Conference is the Golden State Warriors.

“It is not tanking. I want the Jazz to stop thinking about being average. If the Jazz really want to go anywhere they need to knock off the top dog,” he said. “What I am saying is let’s not wait until the conference finals but let’s come after you right now in the first round.”

“It is outlandish and I agree that it is outlandish,” Mitchell admitted. “But if you really hear what I am saying it is brillant.”

Kirry Unsure of Mitchell’s Plan

No amount of Mitchell’s argument why the Jazz should semi-tank to get the Warriors earlier in the playoffs convinced co-host Alex Kirry.

Kirry turned the conversation back to Mitchell’s NFL playing days using the same tanking scenario.

“You played in the NFL and could you imagine ever going in and saying, ‘look I don’t want to be the one-seed, that bye week and home-field advantage is lame,’” Kirry seriously asked Mitchell who was a 12-year NFL veteran.

Kirry then rattled off many reasons as to why this tanking plan is seriously flawed. Problems include missing out on  the chance to gain cohesiveness and team chemistry. Such would be extremely important if the Jazz were to upset the Warriors in any round of the NBA playoffs.

The conversation ended with Kirry still being in disbelief of Mitchell’s idea.

“This would be a first. Tanking to move down a playoff slot so that you are the very last seed,” said Kirry.

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

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