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Here’s How The Jazz Can Win The West

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots the ball against Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz during the fourth quarter at Staples Center on April 07, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Western Conference has felt hopeless over the past few NBA seasons like no one could knock off the top gunslinger – the Warriors, but this year it feels like the Utah Jazz have a real chance.

Golden State shot down every contender (Houston, Portland, Utah, Oklahoma City, etc.) even though some came close to dethroning the fastest gun in the West.

When the Western Conference teams show up to the O.K. Corral next season (AKA the playoffs), there will be plenty of itchy trigger fingers with good chances to send the others to Boot Hill.

Too many lame cowboy references for you?  Fine.

Where Do The Jazz Rank In The West?

On the latest Jazz Notes podcast, Jeremiah Jensen and Cleon Wall listed the top teams that could actually win the Western Conference. They also called out their picks for the 8 teams that will most likely make the playoffs.

Jensen believes the most dangerous team is the Los Angeles Clippers with the addition of Kahwi Leonard and Paul George.  He lists the Jazz as number two in this shootout (sorry, not sorry).

“The Jazz acquired a point guard (Mike Conley) who has the offensive ability and defensive ability…scores at all three levels.  They didn’t have that the last 2 years,”  said Jensen.  “You’ve got a point guard that can spread the floor and create his own shot.  You’ve got a three (Bojan Bogdanovic) who can shoot threes, spread the floor and create his own shot and post guys up…You added two 20 point scorers to your lineup.”

Jensen also liked the Jazz’s potentially improved depth with Ed Davis and Jeff Green joining the team.  He thinks Rudy Gobert will be an All-Star this next season and that Donovan Mitchell could take a big leap in year three.

Wall agrees.

“I think that Bojan Bogdanovic and (Mike Conley)…will apply enough pressure offensively next year where they average in the high teens (in scoring) and that Donovan will then make that leap.  I think Donovan will become more consistent when it comes to shooting.  And once he does that you’re going to see him 25 to 26 points a game.  And you’re going to to see that All-Star or superstar (Jazz fans) have been waiting to see,” Wall assured.

He disagrees with Jensen and believes the Jazz are only the third-best team in the wild, wild west behind Denver (due to the Nuggets continuity) and the Clippers (due to the team’s free-agent signings).

Wary Of The Rockets

Wall gave the Jazz a slight edge over the Rockets right now but is wary about facing Houston.  Call it the James Harden effect.

Jensen, on the other hand, thinks the Rockets are the sixth-best team after the trade for Russell Westbrook.

Lakers Drama

The guys were finally able to agree on the LA Lakers, just not in a good way (if you are a Lakers fan).

LeBron James and Anthony Davis’ version of Showtime has Las Vegas oddsmakers making them one of the favorites to win the NBA title.  But Jensen and Wall have them as the fifth-best team in the West.

“I think the guys they brought in (to compliment the two stars) are just not enough…If LeBron returns to form and (Anthony Davis) dominates, that’s great.  But I feel they need another role player that is close to a third star,” said Cleon.  “Maybe that’s (former Ute) Kyle Kuzma,” added Jensen.

Wall agreed that he could become the perfect “third banana” on the team with James and Davis occupying the top two slots.

Jensen can’t wait to watch the Lakers, or at least watch what happens to the Lakers.

“There is the AD and LeBron factor that we’re curious about.  There is this combustibility factor of are they going to meltdown like they did last year?  If things don’t go well, what is LeBron going to orchestrate (moves) behind the scenes…Their front office is a dumpster fire…So these are all these things going on with this team and it’s not necessarily how they play on the floor.  We have no idea what that’s going to be like.  This team is going to be full of drama this year, I think too much drama which is why I have them at five,” said Jensen.

Find out about the rest of the top guns in the Western Conference and how watchable they will be by listening to the latest Jazz Notes podcast powered by KSL Sports.

The Jazz Notes podcast drops at least weekly and can be found at KSLSports.com, the KSL Newsradio app, Apple Podcasts or other podcast providers.