Utah Jazz: NBA legend questions ‘aura of intimidation’ among Jazzmen

Utah Jazz (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Utah Jazz (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Past shortcomings and present-day success have created Utah Jazz naysayers.

Moments before NBA TV’s broadcast of the Utah Jazz’s 119-116 road loss to the Golden State Warriors (36-33) on Monday night, Hall of Famer and former 12-time All-Star Isiah Thomas chimed in on the potential postseason weakness of the league-leading Jazzmen (50-19).

Thomas, of course, excelled at point guard for the Detroit Pistons, guiding the “Bad Boys” to back-to-back titles (1988-89, 1989-90). Now, in his eyes as an analyst, the primary Utah weapons currently lack a key ingredient when it comes to snagging a Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy:

“They’re missing the aura of intimidation. When you are the best team in the league…there’s a certain amount of fear and intimidation that you must put into the opponent’s heart every night. And right now, while the Utah Jazz have the best record, and they have an excellent coaching staff and players, there’s no element of intimidation or fear.”

Doubting the Utah Jazz’s strut

Next, the 60-year-old Isiah Thomas essentially issued a challenge to the Utah Jazz, seemingly suggesting the implementation of a few more dirty looks to go along with some cocky smack talk and overall shows of swagger:

“So that aura that the winning teams have when they walk into the building, or when they play a game, Utah is missing that right now. And in order for them to gain that, they have to let it be known, so to speak, that they are the best team…Excuse me when I say it, that ‘badass aura’ is not there.”

ALSO READ: Former champ might have punked the entire Utah fanbase

Thomas then went on to point out that Golden State point guard Steph Curry — a three-time champ himself — most certainly displays this type of vibes.

A few hours later, after silencing the Jazz’s impressive double-digit comeback in the fourth quarter via his 28-foot splash to take a one-point lead with 14.5 ticks remaining, the “Baby-Faced Assassin” flashed his signature grin. The air of supremacy included his opponent-stifling freeze-frame follow-through.

And some might say that gleeful gaze effectively ensured the outcome.

Of course, it’s worth noting that the Warriors sit No. 8 in the Western Conference standings and thereby have a strong chance to end up as the Jazz’s first-round opponent in the playoffs.

So is Thomas correct in saying this Utah squad is deficient in these Curry-esque idiosyncracies? In other words, are the Jazzmen too friendly to win the whole shebang this year?

Nah. Not really buying that exact observation. However, until the franchise does stand on a stage under raining confetti, this criticism is sure to routinely resurface among the outsiders. Like it or not, there’s just no other way to permanently squash it.

Next. The 50 greatest Jazz players of all time. dark

Boasting a 1.5-game lead over the tiebreaker-holding Phoenix Suns (48-20) in the West, Utah now has only three outings remaining on its regular-season slate: versus the Portland Trail Blazers (40-29) on Wednesday, at the Oklahoma City Thunder (21-48) on Friday, and at the Sacramento Kings (30-38) on Sunday.