With most experts picking either the Lakers, Nets, or Bucks to win the 2021-2022 NBA Finals, the Utah Jazz could prove to be a popular sleeper selection. The team has a strong core of star players, and plenty of depth to make a deep postseason run this season.
Breaking Down the Wild West
With no clear cut favorite in the West, it’s anybody’s conference to win. While the Lakers project as the favorite, teams like the Suns, Warriors, Nuggets, and Mavericks could make some noise as well. However, the Jazz might have what it takes to reach the Finals.
Last season, the Suns came out of nowhere to take the conference. A few seasons ago, the Warriors ran the West, but now there are about 6 or 7 teams that have legitimate chances of reaching the Finals.
Taking a Look at the Roster
The strong duo of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert is one of the best star tandems in the league. The two have developed an excellent chemistry with one another, and they have what it takes to lead a successful team.
Mitchell could make a dark horse run for MVP, and Gobert is always in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation.
But a lot of teams have star players, so what sets the Jazz apart?
In addition to Mitchell and Gobert, point guard Mike Conley and forward Bojan Bogdanovic are both fringe star players who are terrific third and fourth options on a competitive team. But the depth doesn’t stop with those two.
Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles could both have cases for winning the Sixth Man of the Year Award this year. Clarkson has done a tremendous job of reinventing himself as a scoring threat off of the bench and Ingles can shoot the lights out from beyond the arc.
Other impactful and important players on this roster include; Royce O’Neal, Hassan Whiteside, and Rudy Gay.
With an impressive blend of star power and depth, the Utah Jazz should surprise some people in the 2022 playoffs.
For the Jazz, simply making the playoffs is not enough. This is a team built to make a deep postseason run and anything less than a Finals berth will be labeled as a disappointment.
Mitchell and Gobert will need to perform at a high level in the playoffs. The pressure will be on Mitchell especially, as he looks to make the transition from a good basketball player to a true superstar.
Their projected win total is 51.5, and are the favorites to win their division. They will likely finish within the top 3 in the Western Conference, which will give them home court for the majority of the playoffs. If they can steal the number 1 seed from the Lakers, that could pay huge dividends in a potential Western Conference Finals matchup.
Their championship odds entering the season are +1500. While people expect them to be good, the Jazz have not proven they can come through in big games. However, with plenty of postseason experience for these players now, this might be the year that the Utah Jazz upset the odds and take home an NBA championship.