Facebook Twitter

NBA power rankings roundup: Heading down the stretch, where do the Utah Jazz rank?

SHARE NBA power rankings roundup: Heading down the stretch, where do the Utah Jazz rank?
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell dribbles the ball.

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) brings the ball up court as the Utah Jazz and the Portland Trail Blazers play an NBA basketball game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, March 9, 2022.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

It’s been a mixed bag for the Utah Jazz over their last six games.

The Jazz started the stretch with a big road win against the best team in the league, the Phoenix Suns. Utah just got by one of the worst teams in the NBA, the Houston Rockets, in overtime, and lost its focus in a win against Oklahoma City that should have been larger than it was.

The Jazz were blown out by New Orleans and lost to Dallas before bouncing back with a resounding 123-85 win over Portland on Wednesday.

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

ESPN — No. 7

Team ahead of the Jazz: Golden State Warriors.

Team below the Jazz: Boston Celtics.

What they said about the Jazz:

Bojan Bogdanovic broke the franchise record by draining 11 3-pointers during his 35-point performance in Sunday’s win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. He had been in a bit of a funk before that, shooting just 32% from 3-point range in the previous 11 games. It was only the second time that someone other than Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz in scoring in the 11 games since Mitchell returned from a concussion. — Tim MacMahon

NBA.com — No. 8

Team ahead of the Jazz: Dallas Mavericks.

Team below the Jazz: Milwaukee Bucks.

What they said about the Jazz:

The Jazz are 10-2 (only the Celtics have been better) since Feb. 1 and have post-break wins over the Mavs and Suns. But they’re not exactly in destroy-everything-in-their-path mode. They barely escaped Houston with a win on Wednesday and they were clobbered in New Orleans on Friday. That New Orleans loss came with Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic combining to shoot 1-for-10 from 3-point range, two nights after Conley made two straight 3-pointers in overtime against the Rockets and two nights before Bogdanovic set a franchise record with 11 3s in Oklahoma City. It remains a make-or-miss league. Of course, the Jazz could better insure against misses with improved defense. Even over this 10-2 stretch, the Jazz rank just eighth defensively, and that’s with seven of the 12 games having come against teams that rank in the bottom 10 on offense. Only the Lakers (+3.9) and Knicks (+2.8) have seen bigger jumps in points allowed per 100 possessions than the Jazz, who’ve allowed 2.3 more than they did last season. Rudy Gobert missing 14 games has something to do with that, but the Jazz have seen an even bigger jump (from 100.9 to 104.9) in Gobert’s minutes on the floor, and the league average has dropped by 1.3 per 100. The Jazz are still playing well enough to move up a spot or two in the Western Conference standings. But their visit to Dallas on Monday is about protecting fourth place and (with the Mavs rested and the Jazz having played in Oklahoma City on Sunday) finally getting a win in a rest-disadvantage game. They’re 0-6 (the 0-10 Rockets are the only other winless team) in rest-disadvantage games thus far, and they’ll have another (against the Kings) later in the week. — John Schuhmann

CBS Sports — No. 10

Team ahead of the Jazz: Minnesota Timberwolves.

Team below the Jazz: Golden State Warriors.

What they said about the Jazz:

The Jazz were handed a 34-point thrashing by the Pelicans in their first game of the week, later losing to the Mavs while beating the lowly Thunder and Blazers. Donovan Mitchell struggled from the field, but Bojan Bogdanovic is on a major heater, shooting 54 percent from the 3-point line this week while sinking a franchise-record 11 3-pointers in the win over OKC. — Colin Ward-Henninger

NBC Sports — No. 9

Team ahead of the Jazz: Milwaukee Bucks.

Team below the Jazz: Golden State Warriors.

What they said about the Jazz:

Are the Jazz title contenders? It’s a little strange to say this, but only if their defense is up to the task — and it hasn’t been of late. Since the All-Star break, the Jazz are 26th in the league in defensive rating. Part of that was Monday night, when Luka Doncic carved them up with the pick-and-roll, exposing the lack of quality perimeter defenders on the Jazz roster. Rudy Gobert is still in the mix for Defensive Player of the Year — a wide-open season for that category, BTW — but one man can only cover up so many holes. Utah has 5-of-6 at home and a relatively soft part of the schedule coming up, this is a chance to get the defense back on track, lock in some wins, grabbing ahold of the at No. 4 seed and home court in the first round. — Kurt Helin

Sports Illustrated — No. 4

Team ahead of the Jazz: Milwaukee Bucks.

Team below the Jazz: Memphis Grizzlies.

What they said about the Jazz:

The Jazz remain locked in and find themselves knocking on the Warriors’ door after a 2–1 week. Utah is 2.5 games back of the Warriors in the Western Conference standings and next faces the team at its tail, the surging Mavericks, on Monday. Dallas has found great chemistry as of late and should be a competitive matchup against Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. — Elizabeth Swinton