Power Rankings Roundup: Utah Jazz stay the same in week 10

Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

An undefeated 3-0 week didn’t move the needle for the Utah Jazz in this week’s power rankings

Once again the Utah Jazz find themselves stuck at the 12th/13th spot in the power rankings. True, the Jazz did win all three of their games, and they are on a five game winning streak which is their longest of this season.

It looks like national experts too are skeptical about the Jazz’s recent “success”. Utah beat the Magic by seven points in Salt Lake City, they beat the Hawks by a margin of just five points on the road, and finished off the week with a seven point victory in Charlotte.

That’s an average margin of 6.3 points which is just two possessions away from being tied up and sent to overtime, and three possessions away from an embarrassing loss. The fact that their three opponents had a combined 55 losses before they lost to the Utah Jazz makes this winning streak feel even more hollow.

Meanwhile in the tweet below, Riley Gisseman showed us that every team ahead of the Jazz in the Western Conference standings has a winning record against teams that are .500 and above. It’s not hard to see why experts are reluctant to move the Utah Jazz even an inch forward in their power rankings.

ESPN: 7th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 12th, 12th, 13th, 12th 

CBS Sports: 6th, 9th, 13th, 7th, 8th, 8th, 12th, 13th, 12th, 12th

NBA.com: 7th, 7th, 11th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 13th, 12th, 13th

Bleacher Report: 5th, 7th, 7th, 7th, 9th, 8th, 12th, 13th, 12th, 12th

Sports Illustrated: 6th, 9th, 13th, 8th, 8th, 11th, 11th, 12th, 12th, –

Hoops Habit: 6th, 9th, 12th, 10th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 12th, 12th, 12th

Notable quotes

via Bleacher Report:

"” [Donovan] Mitchell has been steadily productive as the Jazz have fattened up on sub-.500 opponents in December, going 6-1 in their last seven games against losing teams, but he’s shouldering an immense load when contests are close down to the wire. His 43.4 percent clutch usage rate ranks first in the league among players who’ve logged at least 50 minutes in close-and-late situations.Utah’s 18-11 record and plus-1.4 net rating both rank 12th on the season. That makes its position here pretty easy to nail down.”"

via CBS Sports:

"“The Jazz have quietly won five games in a row, including three against so-so opponents this week. Mike Conley returned briefly before re-aggravating his hamstring issue, which has to be concerning for Utah. The sliver lining to his absence is that Joe Ingles has found himself — he’s averaging 16 points, six rebounds and 5.4 assists over his last five games, while shooting 54 percent on 3-pointers.”"

In addition to Joe Ingles finding his rhythm, another silver lining from this week was the recent losses of Western Conference powerhouses.

In an interview on ESPN 700, Tony Jones of The Athletic said he believed that the Clippers and Lakers aren’t that far ahead of the rest of the West. He noted the Clippers lack a true rim protector and that the Lakers’ role players won’t be playing this good all season long. That segment of radio is a must-listen if you haven’t heard it already.

The Los Angeles Lakers are currently on a three game losing streak meaning the number one seed is still in reach for the Jazz if they go on a major run and if the Lakers lose a little bit more. The Jazz are only five and a half games back of the number one seed and there are still 53 basketball games to be played. It probably won’t happen but it is still a possibility.

The Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets didn’t lose last week, but did everyone a favor by beating the teams from Los Angeles. This is the second time this season the Rockets have beaten the Clippers, and the Nuggets took advantage of the Lakers missing LeBron James. They routed the Lakers by 24 points in Hollywood, giving me some hope that the Lakers really aren’t immortal after all.

Last but not least, the Dallas Maverick split their four games last week going 2-2 sans Luka Doncic. We can thank the Toronto Raptors for having their biggest comeback win in franchise history last night to topple the Mavericks. This is good news in the short term that the Jazz are only one game behind the Mavs in the standings, but it will mean trouble for everyone since Kristaps Porzingis is hitting his stride after sitting out a year rehabbing his knee.

Despite the fact that the Utah Jazz didn’t move up in the standings or power rankings, we can relish in the fact that their conference foes had an off-week.

Look ahead:

The Jazz will play the Miami Heat tonight in Miami, a win here would be huge for the Jazz’s confidence. But it should not be expected as the Heat are 12-1 on their home floor this season and one of the league’s best this year.

Utah will get a break through Christmas day then play the Portland Trail-Blazers on the 26th. The Blazers are currently winners of five of their last six games, and will likely win tonight versus the New Orleans Pelicans. Ever since they signed Carmelo Anthony they are 9-7, which is better than their 5-9 start without Anthony. They will be a tough task and that’s a game Utah can’t afford to overlook.

Then the Jazz fly to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers on Saturday. The Clippers are playing elite offense and defense this season and have one of the best bench units in the league. It will (likely) be the first time the Jazz will play the Clippers at full strength this season where they have both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George available.

Next. 3 Takeaways from the Utah Jazz's undefeated week. dark

I would expect the Jazz to go 1-2 this upcoming week. Anything beyond that would be gravy, and I don’t expect them to move up in power rankings anytime soon. It will be interesting to see how the Jazz starters match up against the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers in particular, but once they start filtering in players from the bench I wouldn’t get my hopes up on them retaining any ground that may have been won.