Utah Jazz: 2021-2022 Western Conference Preview

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Utah Jazz
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports) /

Tier 1: Utah Jazz among the Best

Utah Jazz

It appears that there is a top 9 in the West, with three tiers of teams. This is purely a regular-season projection column so the tiers would be a bit different if it was an NBA championship column. But as far as the regular season goes, there seem to be three tiers. The top tier seems to be made of 3 teams that I believe vie for the top spot in the Western Conference. That would be the Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Phoenix Suns.

The Utah Jazz are the reigning Western Conference regular-season champs and they don’t seem to be going anywhere. They will most likely regress some in terms of win percentage but they brought back all of their essential pieces from last year’s team as well as adding Rudy Gay, Eric Paschall, Hassan Whiteside, and drafting Jared Butler. They are perfectly built to be really good in the regular season again and it appears that they are the front runners to claim to the top spot in the West.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are loaded with star power and seem to be the heavy favorites to come out of the West this year. They may have come out of the West this past year had it not been for an Anthony Davis injury. But LeBron is notoriously known for taking off the regular season if he needs to in order to be prepared for the Playoffs and with turning 37 this year, I’m sure he’ll do that again. Russell Westbrook will elevate their regular season floor however and so they will be a contender for the top spot in the West. Health and age will be a big factor for this team this year.

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix is the other team to look out for. They are the reigning Western Conference champs from this past year and brought back nearly the exact same team that went to the NBA Finals. Chris Paul MAY regress this year but Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton clearly ascended to new levels as players this past postseason. It should be fully expected that will translate to the regular season this new year to take some pressure off of Paul. They will be able to contend to take the crown of the West from the Jazz during this regular season.