Utah Jazz Get Low Ranking In Off-Season Power Rankings
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – With most of the off-season moves done for the NBA, ESPN has released their power rankings from all of the moves in free agency and the trades made during the summer.
Despite the Utah Jazz front office aggressively improving their roster with the additions of Mike Conley Jr. via trade, signing Bojan Bogdanovic, and reportedly signing Jeff Green, Emmanuel Mudiay and Ed Davis, ESPN does not think the Jazz had a summer, listing them at No. 9 in the NBA and the sixth highest team in the Western Conference.
It doesn’t seem right to put the Jazz so low on the rankings when most national pundits have them in their top three in the conference and top six in the league.
Here is a breakdown of what these teams have done in the off-season:
1. Milwaukee Bucks
It helps to have the reigning MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo on the team, who is only getting better as his career progresses. They re-signed Brook Lopez and George Hill, lost Malcolm Brogdon and Nikola Mirotic, but signed former Jazzman Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez. They had the best record in the Eastern Conference last season but lost to the eventual NBA Champion Toronto Raptors in the conference finals.
2. Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets made just three moves during the off-season. They picked up the team option on former Jazzman Paul Millsap, parted ways with Trey Lyles and traded for Jerami Grant from the Oklahoma City Thunder. Are they the top team in the west? The Jazz have seen what happens when you bring back your entire roster after a good season the previous year.
3. Los Angeles Clippers
Signing Kawhi Leonard and acquiring Paul George via trade will definitely shoot any team up a power ranking. They are now the favorites to win the NBA title. The Clippers also brought back Patrick Beverley, who will make the Clippers a very good defensive team.
4. Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers had a good off-season by signing Al Horford and re-signing Tobias Harris. They lost J.J. Redick, who signed with the New Orleans Pelicans and acquired Josh Richardson in a sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler from the Miami Heat. The loss of Redick will hurt the Sixers offensively.
5. Houston Rockets
This ranking is a little puzzling after the Rockets traded Chris Paul to Oklahoma City for Russell Westbrook, reunited with James Harden, this time in Houston. The two players with the highest usage rate in the NBA last season are now teammates. It’s too early to tell how good they are going to be, so why put them at No. 5?
6. Los Angeles Lakers
With the off-season the Lakers have had, they should be higher. At least ahead of the Rockets. They compiled a good team after waiting and eventually losing out on Kawhi Leonard. They already acquired Anthony Davis, trading Josh Hart, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram to New Orleans, but former Ute Kyle Kuzma remains in Los Angeles. The Lakers also signed DeMarcus Cousins, Danny Green and Avery Bradley. Put those players with the best player in the NBA, LeBron James, and the Lakers are a really good team and should be higher on the ranking.
7. Boston Celtics
The Celtics rebounded from the loss of Kyrie Irving by signing Kemba Walker. They also added to their offensive power by signing Enes Kanter after Al Horford departed to Philadelphia. The big question for the Celtics this season is will Gordon Hayward be an improved player two years removed from breaking his leg?
8. Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers added depth in the frontcourt in the off-season, by acquiring Hassan Whiteside and Kent Bazemore in trades, and signing Anthony Tolliver. They lost Enes Kanter, Evan Turner, Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu, all were players that helped the Blazers to a Western Conference Finals appearance.
9. Utah Jazz
With all the key pieces that the Jazz have brought in and losing Jae Crowder, Ricky Rubio, Derrick Favors and Kyle Korver in the process, the Jazz are clearly going to be a better team than the team that won 50 games and lost in the first round of the Playoffs.
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said this about the Jazz in the power rankings:
The Jazz might be equally as good offensively and defensively, which would make Utah a bona fide contender. Poor shooting prevented the Jazz from making their playoff series against the Rockets competitive, as Utah went 26-of-110 (23.6 percent) on wide-open 3s, as defined by NBA.com as no defender within 6 feet. That won’t be a problem after they traded for Mike Conley and signed Bojan Bogdanovic, who should take pressure off Donovan Mitchell to create offense and open up the floor when the young star guard has the ball in his hands. It’s up to Rudy Gobert, the two-time Defensive Player of the Year, to make sure the Jazz remain elite on that end of the floor.
If the Jazz are “bona fide” contenders, why are they the sixth highest ranked team in the west and No. 9 in the NBA?
10. Toronto Raptors
After losing Kawhi Leonard to the Clippers, the defending champions were left with very little firepower in free agency. They did sign Stanley Johnson, who is hoping to finally catch a break in the NBA. Keep in mind, the Raptors lost Danny Green too.
Here is the rest of the NBA teams in the power rankings:
11. Golden State Warriors
12. Brooklyn Nets
13. San Antonio Spurs
14. Miami Heat
15. Indiana Pacers
16. Detroit Pistons
17. New Orleans Pelicans
18. Dallas Mavericks
19. Orlando Magic
20. Sacramento Kings
21. Minnesota Timberwolves
22. Atlanta Hawks
23. Chicago Bulls
24. Oklahoma City Thunder
25. Phoenix Suns
26. Memphis Grizzlies
27. Washington Wizards
28. New York Knicks
29. Charlotte Hornets
30. Cleveland Cavaliers