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NBA power rankings roundup: Where do the Utah Jazz stand after the first two weeks of the season?

Here’s where national publications slot the Jazz in power rankings this week

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, wearing black, cheers with the crowd
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell cheers with the crowd against the Sacramento Kings during an NBA game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021.
Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News

The NBA season is underway, and a little over two weeks in, the Utah Jazz have had a good start to the year. The Jazz have raced out to a 7-1 record led by All-Star center Rudy Gobert, who is averaging 15.4 points and 17.3 rebounds per game.

Here’s where national publications slot the Jazz in power rankings this week:

ESPN — No. 1

Team ahead of the Jazz: None

Team below the Jazz: Miami Heat

What they said about the Jazz:

Utah was the league’s last undefeated team before losing to the Bulls on Saturday night, when point guard Mike Conley Jr. rested as a precaution on the front end of a back-to-back. The Jazz’s 5-1 record is the franchise’s best start since 2008-09. Rudy Gobert became the first player in NBA history to record at least 16 points and 14 rebounds in each of the first five games of a season. — Tim MacMahon

NBA.com — No. 2

Team ahead of the Jazz: Miami Heat

Team below the Jazz: Golden State Warriors

What they said about the Jazz:

You might not be surprised that the Jazz have a top-five offense despite Donovan Mitchell registering career-low marks in effective field goal percentage (47.9%) and true shooting percentage (52.9%). Mitchell has never been a very efficient scorer (in the regular season, at least), but this is a team that, overall, takes efficient shots and shares the ball.

The efficient shots are there. The Jazz lead the league in the percentage of their field goal attempts (80%) that have come from the restricted area or 3-point range. But they’re not sharing the ball all that much. In fact, their assist rate (AST/FGM) of 45.7% would be the lowest mark for any team in the last 43 seasons. Part of their drop is an increase in put-backs (they lead the league with 4.3 per game), but they’ve also seen the league’s biggest drop in ball movement (passes per 24 minutes of possession), according to Second Spectrum tracking.

Mitchell has seen a small jump in usage rate, but a big drop in the percentage of his buckets that have been assisted (from 28.0% last season to just 14.6% this season). The Jazz’s loss in Chicago on Saturday was their worst offensive game (by a wide margin) of the season and came with Mitchell’s highest usage rate (by a wide margin) of the season. Last season, the Jazz were 4-6 in the 10 games Mitchell registered a usage rate of 38% or higher.

After a three-games-in-four-days trip through Houston, Chicago and Milwaukee, the Jazz are back home for just one game. Then they have another three-in-four trip through the Southeast, with a fun matchup in Miami on Saturday. — John Schuhmann

Sports Illustrated — No. 2

Team ahead of the Jazz: Miami Heat

Team below the Jazz: Golden State Warriors

What they said about the Jazz:

The Jazz have more or less picked up where they left off last regular season. Through the first two weeks of the season, Utah is leading the league in percentage of field goals coming from three, which it led the NBA in last year. The Jazz are second in net rating and dominating despite uncharacteristic inefficiency from Donovan Mitchell. — Rohan Nadkarni

CBS Sports — No. 4

Team ahead of the Jazz: Golden State Warriors

Team below the Jazz: Brooklyn Nets

What they said about the Jazz:

Utah lost its first game of the season to the Bulls, but rebounded to beat the Bucks and Kings. Donovan Mitchell has taken off after a relatively slow start to the season, averaging 27.3 points over four games this week, while Mike Conley put up a season-high 30 points in the win over Sacramento. Eric Paschall and Hassan Whiteside have fit in nicely off the bench, but other than that it’s been business as usual for one of the most consistent teams in the league. — Colin Ward-Henninger

NBC Sports — No. 2

Team ahead of the Jazz: Miami Heat

Team below the Jazz: Golden State Warriors

What they said about the Jazz:

Of course Utah has a top 5 defense in the league to start the season (it would be a story if they didn’t), but the top 5 offense — despite some early struggles from Donovan Mitchell struggling with his shot so far (32.9% from 3, down from 38.6% last season). The Jazz offense has been more isolation/pick-and-roll heavy this year, and the ball is not moving around like it does most seasons in the Utah blender system; we’ll see if that evolves as the season moves on. Either way, the Jazz just keep on winning, with an interesting test coming Saturday night against Miami. — Kurt Helin