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Analysts Don’t List Utah Jazz Among NBA Title Favorites

Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz saves a ball out of bounds in front of Troy Daniels #30 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center on October 25, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A group of basketball analysts didn’t include the Utah Jazz among the league’s most likely teams to win the NBA championship this season.

NBA insiders at ESPN were recently polled on who they believed would advance in the postseason and hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy in October.

The Jazz were not among the teams listed as favorites for the NBA title.

In early June, Utah Jazz Insider Ben Anderson broke down the tiers of teams most likely to win an NBA championship and where the Jazz fit into that picture.

NBA Standings

When the 2019-20 season was suspended on March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Jazz owned the fourth-best record in the Western Conference with a record of 41-23.

The only teams ahead of Utah in the West were the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Denver Nuggets.

The Jazz are currently 8.5 games behind the Lakers, 3.0 games behind the Clippers, and only 1.5 games back from the Nuggets.

NBA Insiders Vote

Despite their position in the NBA standings, Utah received less than 2.9 percent of the votes when the insiders selected the teams they believed would reach the Western Conference Finals.

Note: The NBA insiders made two selections in their votes.

Who will be the Western Conference finalists?

  • Los Angeles Lakers: 97.1%
  • Los Angeles Clippers: 85.3%
  • Houston Rockets: 8.8%
  • Denver Nuggets: 5.9%
  • Dallas Mavericks: 2.9%

Although Utah is currently ahead of both teams in the standings, the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks each received more confidence from the voters than the Jazz.

Who will be the Eastern Conference finalists?

  • Milwaukee Bucks: 100%
  • Boston Celtics: 41.2%
  • Toronto Raptors: 32.4%
  • Philadelphia 76ers: 23.5%
  • Miami Heat: 2.9%

Out of the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks were a unanimous pick to reach the Eastern Conference Finals.

Who will make the NBA Finals?

  • Milwaukee Bucks: 88.2%
  • Los Angeles Lakers: 61.8%
  • Los Angeles Clippers: 38.2%
  • Toronto Raptors: 5.9%
  • Boston Celtics: 5.9%

The Lakers and Clippers were the only teams from the Western Conference to make the top five of the insiders’ list of favorites to reach the NBA Finals. The Bucks were an overwhelming favorite to make it out of the East.

Who will be the NBA champions?

  • Los Angeles Lakers: 50%
  • Milwaukee Bucks: 26.5%
  • LA Clippers: 23.5%

The Lakers and Bucks were the two teams the analysts felt would be playing at the end of September and into October. 50 percent of voters picked LeBron James to win his fourth NBA title and first with Los Angeles.

Lacking confidence in the Utah Jazz?

In March, the ESPN insiders voted the Jazz as the third most likely team to “give the Lakers the most trouble” in a “potential second-round matchup.”

The lack of confidence the Jazz received is likely due to the loss of Bojan Bogdanovic. On May 19, the Jazz forward underwent season-ending surgery on his right wrist.

This season, Bogdanovic was Utah’s second-leading scorer behind NBA All-Star Donovan Mitchell.

NBA Restart

The NBA and its Players Association are currently negotiating terms on a restart to the 2019-20 season. The expectation is that the season will restart with eight regular-season contests beginning on July 31.

After the regular season is finished, the NBA playoffs will begin and run through October.

All of the games will be held at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.