April 18, 2024

What is going on with the Utah Jazz? 

Classifying the Utah Jazz as “dominant” is a bit of an understatement. The Jazz are leading all other teams in the Western Conference so far this season, and it’s not very close.  With an outstanding record of 10-4 to start the first two weeks of the regular season, it honestly begs the question, why are they so good? With a talented and smart new front office in Danny Ainge and a young but caring owner in Ryan Smith, it was really only a matter of time before the Jazz were back on track to entertain and excite fans from all around. Earlier this year, we here at The Eagle predicted that Utah would have a better season than most people expected. And although fans knew that they had acquired exciting young talent from across the NBA, nobody expected it to happen so soon.  There is, however, one thing almost every fan of the Jazz can agree upon: and that is the passion and drive this young group of players have to win. Veteran point guard and seasoned leader Mike Conley plays a huge part both on and off the court for the newcomers. And returner Jordan Clarkson provides a much needed spark in those seemingly endless offensive droughts. You then take big man Lauri Markkanen who is playing at an All-Star level this year and mix him in with the play style of rookie head coach Will Hardy, and you get an exciting basketball game. Every preseason poll left most people in the NBA expecting the worst for Utah. The polls predicted a year of losing in hopes to acquire high draft and lottery picks in the upcoming 2023 NBA draft.  “He’s tired of looking at the media or even his friends telling him, ‘Wow, you guys are winning, this is crazy,’”Jazz forward Malik Beasley said to the media regarding what Hardy told the team. “It’s not crazy. … We’re not even playing well and we’re still winning.” Markkanen, Clarkson and Jarred Vanderbilt are averaging a career high in points. Mike Conley is doing the same in assists per game. Kelly Olynyk is shooting a career-high 58.8% from three-point territory. Collin Sexton appears fully recovered from offseason knee surgery. “We trust that they’re professional, and they want to win the game, too. We don’t make any excuses.” Hardy said. “…You still have to go out there and put together a good game for 48 minutes if you want to win in this league.” As it has been since its construction, the energy is palpable at Vivint Smart Home arena. And the team that so many love and cherish is ready every night to perform on that stage. Only time will tell whether or not the dominance is sustainable through the rest of the regular season and into the playoffs. But one thing is for certain: it’s time to start paying attention to the Utah Jazz.