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Jazz Sitting As Potential Contenders With Question Marks Before 2019-20 Season

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) celebrates a 3 during the NBA playoffs in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The analytics website “FiveThirtyEight” has posted some questions about the off-season moves that the Jazz made that has launched them into the conversation of being potential championship contenders.

The NBA will release their 2019-20 schedule on Monday, August 12, which will provide more projections.

FiveThirtyEight didn’t have any questions on the point guard addition but more with the big signing in free agency.

Bojan Bogdanovic Overpaid?

FiveThirtyEight has new Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic as one of the biggest free agent overpays after agreeing to a four-year deal worth $73 million. They feel that he is overrated on the defensive end of the floor.

Losing Derrick Favors was the price that Utah had to pay in order to sign Bogdanovic. Utah will take a slight step back on defense but will be better on the offensive end of the floor, which has hurt the Jazz in the playoffs the last two seasons.

Mitchell’s usage rate in the playoffs last season was over 31 percent with his efficiency among the worst in the NBA. Now that he has some help on the offensive end, that will allow the Jazz to put as much pressure on Mitchell to score.

The Jazz will transition to four starters who can space the floor and score the ball with Rudy Gobert in the paint to clean up or for lobs. Unlike last season with basically two scorers, a pass-first and defensive point guard and two rim protectors and rebounders.

No Christmas Day Game

The Jazz were left off of the 2019 Christmas Day games after playing the Portland Trail Blazers at home last season. According to FiveThiryEight, Utah is the highest rated team that was left off of the holiday slate.

But, the main question isn’t why they won’t be playing on Christmas Day, it’s whether or not they have gotten better with the pieces they have added in the off-season. FiveThirtyEight claims that Utah will be better offensively in the backcourt with Mike Conley playing alongside Donovan Mitchell.

Utah improved significantly at the point guard position, that is obvious with Conley being able to defend on the perimeter, while also scoring at a higher clip than Ricky Rubio.

Playing on Christmas Day doesn’t matter to most NBA teams. It just means that the league doesn’t think that the Jazz are a team that will drive in ratings on Christmas Day.

The NBA decided to put the following teams on the holiday:

  • Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers
  • Toronto Raptors vs. Boston Celtics
  • Philadelphia 76ers vs. Milwaukee Bucks
  • Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets
  • Denver Nuggets vs. New Orleans Pelicans