The Western Conference is full of great teams, and one of them is the Utah Jazz. The Salt Lake City team has played great basketball over the past few seasons. This season, it’s much the same for the Jazz, who are looking to breach the second-round wall they’ve hit three times in the last five playoffs. Still, this season looks different and many believe this is the year the Jazz could go all the way. So, let’s look at the three reasons the Jazz will make and win the 2022 NBA Finals.
Reasons the Jazz won the 2022 NBA Finals
Tons of playoff experience
This team has been together for quite a long time. Sure, where were the additions, like Jordan Clarkson who arrived two years ago, but the core team has been together for three years. Three years ago, the Jazz added Bojan Bogdanovic and Mike Conley to the core of Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, two players who have been with the Jazz for their entire careers. The quartet of Mitchell, Gobert, Bogdanovic and Conley played a ton of games together and amassed plenty of playoff experience. This is absolutely essential as we approach the playoffs and it is then and there that all the mileage of these players, especially in terms of playoff basketball, comes into play.
They had some great times together, including knocking out the Memphis Grizzlies in five games, a team that’s now one of the favorites to come out of the Western Conference. However, the Jazz also had heartbreaking moments with this roster, such as the NBA Bubble Slow Game 7 of 2020, where they lost to the Nuggets in the first round due to a Nikola Jokic hook shot with just 27. seconds left in the game. However, with losses, especially in this fashion, the team can really draw important conclusions and while last season they were stopped by the Clippers in the second round, this formed group tasted to playoff success and that’s also a big factor coming into play this postseason.
It’s a well-established and well-balanced team.
When you look at the Jazz in detail, they really have it all. In Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz have a proven scorer and a guy who will lead by example. Mitchell plays with a ton of effort and he’s their guy to get them points in all sorts of situations. They also have Rudy Gobert. The Stifle Tower, as he’s known, is one of the best defensive players in the NBA, and while he probably won’t win the award this year, Gobert still has three Defensive Player of the Year honors to show for it. . If Gobert and Mitchell are the leaders of this Jazz team, the train does not stop there.
Bojan Bogdanovic is a Croatian sniper who has always been there for the Jazz, should any of their other attacking options slow down. This season, he’s averaging 18.1 points, but he’s also had some incredible games, including a 36-point outing against the Denver Nuggets in January and 35 points against the Thunder in early March. He’s efficient, knows his role and can hit clutch shots, all key aspects of a playoff player.
Next to him, the Jazz have a bench scorer in Jordan Clarkson. He won the Sixth Man of the Year award last season and although he’s slowed down somewhat this year, he’s a problem when he’s on. Apart from those two, the Jazz have Conley to lead the point, Hassan Whiteside to keep their defense in check when Gobert sits, and Rudy Gay for even more experience off the bench.
They can get hot in consecutive games and make the good times last
The Jazz have won 45 games this season and they’ve done so through major winning streaks where they looked unstoppable. Most notably, the Jazz have won eight streaks of three or more games. That includes a massive eight-game winning streak from late November until mid-December. After two losses, they then went on a six-game winning streak, ending the year at 26-9. Sure, they’ve since slowed down to some degree, winning just two of their next 13 games, but they’ve fully rebounded and stabilized their season.
The reason this is so important is that the warm-up may be the reason a team won a playoff series. Obviously, if it’s a huge gap in quality, like a matchup between the first seed and a totally outmatched eighth seed, going into a hot streak doesn’t mean much.
However, the Jazz are a serious team and they won’t face such a gap in the playoffs. In these circumstances, being hot, as they have shown several times during the season, could be the difference in a series. Jazz fans are still waiting to return to the finals, and this could finally be their year.