Ranking the Utah Jazz Big 3 among the NBA’s best trios

Utah Jazz (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Utah Jazz
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Utah Jazz Big 3: Mike Conley, Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell

Combined average 2020-21 PER: 21.3

For some, it may feel wrong to see the J-Notes ranking the Utah Jazz’s Big 3 ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers. Their combined PER is a hair lower, not to mention their combined MVP count.

Such protests do not fall on deaf ears, however, this decision, as previously mentioned, is easily justified. Of course, it’s impossible to make head-to-head comparisons between these two trios, as the Lakers’ Big 3 have yet to play a minute together in the NBA.

That’s sort of the problem. The Utah Jazz’s threesome will be entering their third season together. The chemistry they’ve developed through learning each other’s tendencies is invaluable, and being weighed more heavily than combined MVP awards in this exercise.

Per CleaningtheGlass, the Utah Jazz, interestingly, held a negative Efficiency Differential (-5.9) with Donovan Mitchell on the floor. Meanwhile, both Rudy Gobert (14.6) and Mike Conley Jr. (11.9) posted substantially positive marks, each over the 95th percentile.

Interpret the numbers how you like, but just don’t conclude that Mitchell is a negative presence for this Utah Jazz team. He is their offensive engine, and likely their most important player. Considering that these 3 men frequently shared the floor, a safer interpretation concludes that Mitchell is prone to struggling without his elite rim protector and floor-spacing secondary playmaker.

That only points to the chemistry and floor balance between this group, which contributed significantly to their placement in these rankings.