Part 1 – The Daily Chronicle of Utah

It’s been over three weeks since the 2020-21 season of the Utah Jazz storybook ended unceremoniously at the hands of the LA Clippers. Jazz fans are trying to rationalize how a 52-game winning team, leading the Western Conference, could fail so dramatically in the playoffs.

So how did Jazz lead the West and give themselves a chance to fight for a title? Three stars, incredible shooting depth and a bench with the numbers 1 and 2 for the sixth man of the year vote. In this two-part story, I’ll be evaluating each player’s performance during the 2020-21 season. So without further ado, let’s get started.

Rudy Gobert

Gobert is an ultimate ground student. When Gobert is in the field, he can take one of the worst defensive units in the league and turn it into a leading D. With Gobert anchoring the post, Jazz‘s defense revolves around the guy with the longest reach in NBA combination history. .

What do RAPTOR, LEBRON & ESPN Defensive Real +/- have in common? These are all analytical barometers, far too complicated for me to understand, which show not only that Gobert was by far the best defensive player in the NBA in the 2020-21 season, but that he was one of the defenders. the most dominant. campaigns ever. Finishing second in the league in blocked shots and rebounds with 2.7 blocks and 13.5 rebounds, the box score also shows its importance.

Often viewed as offensively negative, Gobert led the league for the third straight season in dunks, finishing with 231 in 2020-21. While he can be bullied at times and his lack of effective post movement has been exploited in the playoffs, Gobert is the straw that stirs this Jazz drink at both ends of the field. Three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Gobert can just let his material do the talking now.

Final grade – A

Donovan mitchell

Mitchell made his second consecutive All-Star appearance this year and, until a late-season ankle injury that cost him the last 16 games of the regular season and once again pointed his head in the semifinals conference, Jazz fans made parade plans to celebrate a title.

Unfortunately, injuries struck at the worst times, limiting Mitchell’s offensive effectiveness and undermining any lateral movement he had on the defensive end.

After Donovan exploded in the playoff bubble last season, many wondered if Mitchell could maintain a similar level of play. This year, Mitchell became one of the league’s deadliest three-pointers, logging on 178 threes at a rate of nearly 39%, a significant increase from his previous efficiency.

Despite the ankle injury, Mitchell gave Jazz his all in the playoffs. Shooting 43.9% from beyond the arc, Mitchell had 3 threes per game and managed to improve his game with almost 5.5 assists per game. If Gobert is the voice for Jazz, Mitchell’s dynamism represents the ceiling.

Final grade – A

Mike Conley

At the start of the season, Conley was widely regarded as the best active player to ever be on an All-Star team. Thanks to stellar early season play from Conley and Jazz as a whole, Conley was named ASG’s injury replacement in Atlanta.

Make no mistake, Conley has been statistically excellent for Jazz this season, especially when compared to his struggles in by Quin Snyder offensive system last year. By 36 minutes, Conley averaged 19.9 points on 41% of 3-pointers, with 7.3 assists, and led the offense like the seasoned veteran he is.

Conley’s value really showed when he aggravated a mid-season hamstring injury in Game 5 of the first round against Memphis. Without Conley for the majority of Round 2 against the Clippers, Jazz’s offense stalled and not having his shot on the perimeter allowed LA to play a five-out formation which limited effectiveness. defense of Gobert.

If the Jazz can’t re-sign the free agent, expect a setback for the team next year.

Final grade – B +

Royce O’Neale

Is O’Neale one of the most underrated players in the league? According to, no one has defended their opponent’s top scorer with more consistency than O’Neale. A physical athlete who could be the toughest player on the team, O’Neale sets the tone every night with his defensive intensity.

Defense isn’t the only way O’Neale can make his money, however. As Type 3 & D players have skyrocketed in the league, O’Neale is perfect for this Jazz system and fits the 3 & D role well. Shooting 38% out of three, I would like to see him a little more willing to pull the trigger on some challenged three to complete the Jazz spacing.

Final grade – B +

Bojan Bogdanović

Returning from an off-season operation on his shooting wrist, it was unclear exactly what to expect from Bogdanović this season. A lack of consistency is what has hurt Bogdanović this season. One night he scored 23 points with five threes, the next day he was 1-3 on the field and scored four points.

Turnovers on post-ups made Jazz fans back down every time Bogey put the ball to the ground with his back to the basket, and a complete reluctance to contribute in other areas on the ground sometimes made Bogdanović. disabilities.

So how does it get a decent rating with all of the negatives mentioned above? He shot 39% of three and could be lethal from the paint, midrange, and beyond arc. When Bogdanović had enough touches to keep pace, he was great. Unfortunately for Jazz, this version of Bogdanović just wasn’t present enough.

Final grade – C +

Jordan clarkson

In the first six weeks of the season, Jordan Clarkson was as sexy as he has ever been in his career. 25 points every 36 minutes on 46% of shots from the field and 38% from beyond the arc, Clarkson solidified his sixth man of the year title before February.

In sports, whenever a player gets insanely hot, they are bound to come back to earth at some point. For Clarkson, the fall came in February. Persistent ankle and hand injuries undermined his effectiveness, relegating Clarkson to his career standards. Clarkson has always had excellent performances here and there, but struggled to find consistency with his three-point shot for the remainder of the season.

The playoffs haven’t gotten much better for Clarkson, but the fact remains that he’s an integral part of the Utah Jazz offense.

Final grade – B

Joe Ingles

One of basketball’s best talkers, Ingles was amassing a career year before injuries forced him to take on the leading role of running back and point guard to close out the season. At 33 and athletically behind 8-ball, Ingles seemed to wear out as the season wore on.

Finishing second to Clarkson in the sixth man of the year vote, Ingles has averaged 15.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists every 36 minutes this year. A stabilizing influence from the bench, Ingles could be as important in the locker room as on the pitch.

Final grade – B

Derrick favors

After spending a year in New Orleans, Favors returned home with the Utah Jazz on a three-year contract. The plan was to have Favs serve as Gobert’s primary backup. As far as Gobert is concerned, the plan worked spectacularly. Gobert was able to feast in minutes against the opposing save center while Favors struggled against the starter. Unfortunately for Favors, facing his opponents’ starters in the majority of his minutes has had the opposite effect on his numbers.

By the visual test, Favors was outclassed and struggled this season, but a deeper dive shows us the teams attacked the basket relentlessly with Gobert on the ground. Personally, I don’t believe Favors’ difficulties were so much due to his own limitations as they can be attributed to the simple fact that he is not Gobert.

That being said, Favors is a great locker room guy, but he’s probably overpaid when you look at save center pay across the league.

Final grade – C

Georges niang

Some have questioned whether Niang would not only have a rotational spot this season, but whether he even deserved a spot in the roster. After an appalling start to the year in which Niang shot 1-9 in the first seven games, he rebounded to score a spin point and play a few important minutes on the bench for the Jazz.

By 36 minutes, Niang’s 3.9 three points were not far behind as far as Jazz regulars were concerned. Suffice to say that Niang was a sniper and probably reached the ceiling of his NBA potential. Difficulties in the playoffs take Niang down slightly, but he’s earned a big raise on someone’s new contract next season.

Final grade – B +

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week.

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