Underrated Utah Jazz bunch mirroring 5 legendary title teams

Utah Jazz (Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz (Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Utah Jazz’s prowess on both ends of the floor may foretell a title run.

Even without two-time All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell on hand, the Utah Jazz handled business on the road against a solid opponent via Wednesday night’s 111-107 win over the Memphis Grizzlies (20-21). It marked their third W against this same Western Conference foe in the span of six days.

That nugget alone serves as more evidence these Jazzmen are practically impossible to figure out and should be heading for considerable postseason success.

Now, at 36-11 and with 25 outings to go in its regular season, Utah owns a four-game lead in the loss column over all other NBA teams, not to mention several more signs of present-day league supremacy:

  • A net rating (9.7) more than three points higher than any other
  • Seven victories in a row at the moment
  • Past unblemished stretches this season of nine and 11 games
  • An ongoing 20-game home win streak

Yes, all of the above tidbits would seem to be indicative of a top title contender.

However, the masses across social media still appear to paint Utah as purely a regular-season power that is sure to crumble come playoff time. And considering the franchise’s well-documented struggles when it comes to turning season-long success into championship hardware, this widespread doubt is certainly understandable.

On the other hand, there does now exist at least one cold hard fact that suggests a sweeter ending could be in store for this deep collection of in-sync Jazz players…

Utah Jazz flirting with champion-level benchmark

Only six teams in the 3-point era (1979-present) have finished a regular season among the top three in the league when it comes to both offensive and defensive ratings (measurements of points per 100 possessions). All but one of those six, the 1990-91 Portland Trail Blazers, went on to snag the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

As for the other five, well, they are generally seen as some of the greatest title teams of all time:

  • 2016-17 Golden State Warriors: No. 1 in ORtg, No. 2 in DRtg, 11.8 net rating
  • 2014-15 Golden State Warriors: No. 2 in ORtg, No. 1 in DRtg, 10.3 net rating
  • 1996-97 Chicago Bulls: No. 1 in ORtg, No. 3 in DRtg, 11.9 net rating
  • 1995-96 Chicago Bulls: No. 1 in both ORtg and DRtg, 13.5 net rating
  • 1985-86 Boston Celtics: No. 3 in ORtg, No. 2 in DRtg, 9.2 net rating

Currently, the group in Salt Lake City sits No. 3 in both offensive rating and defensive rating at 118.8 and 109.1, respectively.

Granted, the NBA doesn’t hand out rings for these stats. Nevertheless, these numbers do indeed place the gang in some exclusive company for now.

No arguing that.

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Next up for the Utah Jazz is a home game versus the Chicago Bulls (19-27) at 7 p.m. MT Friday.