The Jazz relied heavily on Donovan Mitchell during the regular season. The first round pick out of Louisville endured an excellent rookie campaign averaging 17 points per game as he led the Jazz to 48 wins. Rudy Gobert led the way defensively and helped his team finish with the best defensive rating in the NBA. It is safe to say that after the team lost star Gordon Hayward in free agency prior to the off-season, Utah surprised everyone with there success this season.
How they can win
The Jazz finished with the best defensive rating in the NBA. The old saying goes, “defence wins championship”. It’s understood that OKC’s Russell Westbrook is going to get near a triple-double every game but if the Jazz can reduce OKC to a one-man show, round two awaits. The Mitchell vs Paul George match-up can be the swing factor in this series.
If the Jazz can play a mediocre offensive game, which they have done all season, and then play a stellar defensive game we could seem go on a bit of a run.
Why they won’t
The inexperience of their star players in the playoffs could result in them not performing.
Mitchell is a rookie, who while having a great regular season, the playoffs are a different animal. The animal the rookie guard will have to shut down at least for times is PG-13. Westbrook could also get the better of him in the first round, and if they can get by the Thunder, the quality of guards he will have to go up against only gets better.
Thunder coach Billy Donovan gets a lot of credit for making adjustments on a game-to-game basis. Jazz coach Quin Snyder will have to “out adjust” his counterpart.
Ricky Rubio is a player that can make other players look good. He moves the ball well and often finds the open go for the easy shot. If Mitchell flops in the playoffs, Rubio will be the guy that Utah will look at to pick up the pieces and make something happen.
Best Case Scenario:
Eliminated in six in round two.
Worst Case Scenario:
Swept in the first round