The Utah Jazz have surprised a lot of people this NBA season with the league’s best record at 26-6. The team has dominated both ends of the floor, ranking in the top-five for points scored and points allowed per game. Then things just got even better for Donovan Mitchell and company.
The NBA released the second half of its schedule on Feb. 24, and the Jazz have to be happy based on their opponents’ records. They could end up with the top seed in the Western Conference if the team handles their business against a lackluster schedule.
The NBA releases their schedule for the second half of the season
The NBA wanted to have some flexibility this season because of the coronavirus pandemic. They released the schedule into two parts so the league could try to fit in games that were postponed. With the first half of the season winding down, the association released the schedule for the second half of the year.
After the All-Star break, the second part of the season starts on March 10. Some teams will endure a tougher grind than the first half of the year, playing as many as 40 games over 68 days per Yahoo! Sports. The varying number of games played among teams is due to the league making up postponed matchups.
The NBA will continue to use the baseball-style schedule they utilized in the first half of the season per ESPN. Teams will face each other twice in one city to limit travel and potential exposure to the coronavirus. The second installment of the schedule will end on May 16, and if everything goes as planned, the playoffs will begin on May 22.
The Utah Jazz look like they’re ready for the postseason right now. The team is playing better than any other team in the league, led by Donovan Mitchell’s sensational season. Looking at their schedule, Mitchell, his teammates, and the fans in Utah should be excited about their team’s championship odds.
The Utah Jazz have the second-easiest schedule in the NBA
During the first half of the 2020 campaign, the Utah Jazz were on fire. They were one of the NBA’s best 3-point shooting teams, hitting 39% of their shots from deep. According to ESPN, the Jazz had the toughest schedule out of every team for the first leg of the season. Thankfully for Utah, things get much easier in the second half.
The Jazz have the second-easiest schedule in the league for the second half of the season, according to ESPN Stats and Information. Their exceptional play, along with the easy schedule, should have them entering the postseason as a top-four seed. They could even keep the No. 1 seed if other Western Conference teams slip up.
The Los Angeles Lakers have one of the toughest remaining schedules in the league. They have struggled without Anthony Davis in the lineup, losing five of their last six games. If the Jazz can take advantage of their easy schedule, they can further the gap between themselves and LA.
The Jazz sent a message to LeBron James and crew on Feb. 24, dominating them in a 114-89 blowout. Should Utah be considered a legit championship contender after the first half of the season? Can Donovan Mitchell lead this team deep into the playoffs based on how he’s performed so far this year?
Should the Utah Jazz be considered legit title contenders?
Despite having the league’s best record, the Utah Jazz aren’t being talked about enough. Their roster is deep, and they have capable defenders at every position. Head coach Quin Snyder is having the best start of his career. It’s time to start recognizing the Jazz as legit NBA title contenders.
Donovan Mitchell has blossomed into a superstar, averaging 24.1 points on 42.5% shooting, along with 4.6 rebounds and 5.3 assists. He’s done it all for the team, whether it be scoring, playmaking, or hitting clutch shots. Rudy Gobert has held down the interior, posting a career-high 2.8 blocks a game. The French big man also chips in on offense with 14 points per contest.
Mitchell and Gobert are the two stars, but the role players have a pivotal role in Utah’s success. Jordan Clarkson’s ability to score makes him a perfect man off the bench for the Jazz. His 18.3 points per game rank second among bench players per HispanosNBA.com. Michael Conley, Joe Ingles, and Bojan Bogdanovic have been integral in the team’s hot start this season.
The Utah Jazz cruised through the first half of the season despite having the toughest schedule. Things will be much easier now that they have the second-easiest schedule in the NBA. Don’t be surprised if the Jazz end the regular season as a top-three seed in the Western Conference because the team has the talent and the schedule to achieve that.
Stats courtesy of ESPN