Utah Jazz: Three most brutal aspects of the 2017-18 schedule

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MAY 8: Joe Johnson Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MAY 8: Joe Johnson Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images) /
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Utah Jazz Rudy Gobert Joe Johnson
CLEVELAND, OH – MARCH 16: Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz on the court during the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on March 16, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Entire Month of December

If you recall the beginning of last season, the 2016-17 campaign got off to an incredibly difficult start for the Utah Jazz. They played eight of their first 11 games on the road, faced four playoff teams in their first six games and had two back-to-backs within their first two weeks of action. Fortunately this time around, the beginning of the Jazz’s schedule is significantly more friendly.

They’ll instead play six of their first nine games at home and despite some tough opponents in their first three games, will enjoy a nice stretch near the beginning of the season that will pit them against the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks all right in a row, with the latter two coming at home as part of a four-game home stand.

However, schedules have a funny way of balancing themselves out. And Utah’s relatively light start is very much contrasted by an absolutely brutal month of December. During the 15 games the Jazz play that month, only two are against teams that missed the playoffs last season – the Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans – and neither of them are pushovers by any stretch of the imagination.

It should be noted that the Jazz do get to play the Chicago Bulls, who don’t figure to be a playoff team this season, in December, but that does little to change how crazy difficult the month is going to be. The Jazz have four back-to-backs during the month and the opponents they play on the second nights are terrifying. They’ll face Oklahoma City on the road, Cleveland on the road, San Antonio at home and Golden State on the road, again all on the second night of back-to-backs.

In all in December, they’ll play Cleveland twice, Houston twice, and Oklahoma City THREE TIMES. Oh, and they’ll play Gordon Hayward and the Boston Celtics on the road for good measure as part of a six, yes, SIX-game road trip. With that big road trip in the middle of the month, it comes as little surprise that the Jazz play nine of the 15 games during December on the road.

In other words, hopefully they’ll have built up a pretty solid record during the first month and a half of the season because it wouldn’t be surprising to see them suffer a bit of a slide in December. If you were hoping for a Merry Christmas for the Jazz, unfortunately they may not enjoy such a luxury.