The best team in the NBA, so far, has been the Utah Jazz.
Not many expected this development, but it is true, and really it isn’t up for much debate.
But is it time to take the tallbois from Salt Lake City seriously?
Let’s walk through it.
Survey Says: The Jazz are Very Good
The quickest and simplest way to know who the top teams are for a casual fan is to look at the record.
That is, wins and losses.
It is also the one that matters most, since winning and losing games is what it all comes down to in the end.
However, it is not the best (and still simple) way to know how good a team is.
That being said, the Jazz have the best record in the NBA by 2.5 games, and really it seems like it will grow some more.
They are on fire, winning 20 of 22.
But, the accurate AND quick and easy way to tell how good a squad is can be done by looking at point differential.
The Jazz, once again, come out on top. At a differential of +9.2, they are 2 points ahead of the second best team.
On the surface this indicates they are a great team, best in the NBA.
One More Layer Of Goodness
If we can dig a tiny bit deeper to see how good this team is…
They are 11-4 against above .500 teams, and 13-2 against all others. This means they also BEAT good teams.
According to NBA Math’s adjusted offensive and defensive ratings, here is where the Jazz land vs the rest of the league:
— NBA Math (@NBA_Math) February 21, 2021
Nate Silver’s (maligned) Elo ratings have the Jazz as the best squad in the league and that they have a gaudy 28% chance to win it all, 11% better than the next best team.
They also shine on basketball reference’s ratings.
This team is very good – and is getting up, in terms of advanced metrics, to recent Bucks/low end Warriors territory.
Ok, so we know they are good, but…
Last year, by most metrics, the Milwaukee Bucks were even better.
They had better ratings, records, and their defensive rating was fantasic.
Keep in mind, that is even with a lackluster 3-7 finish.
Side note: Teams figured out how to attack Bud’s system and he never adjusted and still has not.
And guess what happened to that team? Actually, we don’t have to, they ummmm lost embarrassingly.
Regular season basketball is an entirely different animal. Look at how the greatest players can turn it on and upend everything.
Look at the Clippers last season and their flameout.
When the playoffs come, do the Jazz have the firepower?
Well considering their best or second best player can be played off the floor (Gobert), that is not a good sign.
Mitchell is improved as a passer but still can get tunnel vision for scoring and doesn’t play great defense yet.
Conley is a nice story but is old.
Where is the production coming from when everything tightens up.
We need to be aware of how good this team is now, they have beaten the best of the best with ease.
However, I’ll need to see it in the playoffs before believing in them, unfortunately.
When push comes to shove, can they stop the Lebrons and KD’s?