UTAH JAZZ

Utah Jazz Would Face Gauntlet In Reseeded NBA Playoffs

May 25, 2020, 1:17 PM | Updated: Jun 3, 2020, 11:27 am
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets shoots a floater over Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz duri...
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets shoots a floater over Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz during the fourth quarter during Game One of the first round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs between the Houston Rockets and the Utah Jazz at Toyota Center on April 14, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – As the NBA explores options to return to finish the 2019-20 NBA season, one radical idea has emerged. The league may bring back just 16 playoffs with a reseeded NBA playoff picture. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the league may choose to rank teams 1-16 instead of separating the Eastern and Western conferences. With that in mind, what would the reseeded NBA playoffs look like for the Utah Jazz?

League commissioner Adam Silver has long been linked to the idea of having a reseeded NBA playoffs. However, the potential travel difficulties mixing Eastern and Western teams would be problematic. With the proposed idea of finishing the NBA season in one bubble city, cross-country travel would no longer be an issue.

First Round: Utah Jazz vs. Houston Rockets

Unfortunately for the Jazz, reseeding the playoffs would likely paint a dark picture. The Jazz have been eliminated by the Houston Rockets each of the last two seasons. With the new bracket, the Jazz would once again face the Rockets in their opening playoff round.

Though this Rockets team no longer features Chris Paul or Clint Capella, the Jazz have shown little success against Houston this season. The Jazz have lost two out of three matchups against Houston this year. The lone victory came on a miraculous buzzer-beater from forward Bojan Bogdanovic.

While the players might be different, it seems it’s coach Mike D’Antoni’s scheme the Jazz struggle with most. The Jazz lost to the Eric Gordon led Rockets in January, without James Harden or Russell Westbrook.

The Jazz are set to finish the season without Bogdanovic. The Croatian forward had surgery last week on his injured right wrist and will miss the remainder of the year. It is worth noting that Bogdanovic has been one of the players who has struggled most against the Rockets this year. Bogdanovic is a combined -37 in three games against Houston this season.

Round Two: Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Even if the Jazz were to get past the Rockets in the first round, their second-round matchup wouldn’t be promising. The Jazz would likely face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the reseeded playoffs.

The Jazz are winless in two matchups with the Lakers this year, including a 121-96 shellacking in December.

Like most NBA teams, the Jazz lack a primary defender for James. Furthermore, King James has been nearly unbeatable in the playoffs over the last decade. James led teams have won a staggering 27 of their last 32 playoff series.

Round Three: Utah Jazz vs. Toronto Raptors

If Jazz fans thought a matchup with either the Rockets or Lakers was bad, wait until round three. After a gauntlet through the first two rounds, the Jazz would find the Toronto Raptors waiting in the semifinals. The Jazz are winless against the Raptors this season and have lost their two matchups by a combined 29 points.

In December, the Raptors handed the Jazz perhaps their most demoralizing loss. Though the Jazz would lose the matchup by just 20, they trailed their Candian counterparts by 40 at halftime.

The two teams almost came to blows in their last matchup, as Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Raptors forward OG Anunoby exchanged elbows in the final minutes of the game.

Finals: Utah Jazz vs. Milwaukee Bucks/Los Angeles Clippers

Strangely, the Jazz best matchup in the playoffs may await them in NBA Finals. Though the idea of facing either the Los Angeles Clippers or the Milwaukee Bucks is daunting, the Jazz have found success against both clubs this season.

The Jazz nearly swept the season series against the Bucks, despite Giannis Antetokounmp averaging a stunning 40 points and 13.5 rebounds against Utah this season. The Jazz downed the Bucks behind a Bogdanovic buzzer-beater in November. They nearly stunned the Bucks in Milwaukee later in the month.

Likewise, the Jazz are 2-1 this season against the Clippers. The Jazz beat the Clippers without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in November. However, the team followed that up with perhaps their best win of the season, taking down a nearly fully healthy Clippers team in Los Angeles in late December.

 

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