Utah Jazz: Ranking the 5 best potential lineups in 2021-22

Utah Jazz (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Utah Jazz
Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports) /

Utah Jazz 2nd best potential lineup:  PG: Mike Conley Jr., SG: Royce O’Neale, SF: Bojan Bogdanovic PF: Joe Ingles C: Rudy Gobert

Utah Jazz fans, feel free to wipe your eyes, take a sip of water and re-read this slide. The results won’t change: this is the second-best lineup Quin Snyder can field in the 2021-22 season.

At least, that’s the conclusion we’re forced to draw if we put any stock in CleaningtheGlass’s data from last season. As effective as the former lineup was in 2020-21, this group was devastating. They ranked in the 96th percentile in differential-per-100 possessions with an otherworldly 30.4 differential.

There may be compelling normative explanations for this lineups’ empirical effectiveness relative to the last group. First of all, Donovan Mitchell is simply not a point guard. He is absolutely capable of running point for stretches, but he’s a scoring-minded guard (and for good reason: he’s the best scorer on the Utah Jazz by a long shot).

By way of contrast, Conley Jr. possesses the veteran savvy, processing speed and basketball IQ to generate baskets for both himself and his teammates. Couple those abilities with the depth of offense already afforded to this lineup by the presence of both Ingles and Bogdanovic, and it’s fair to conclude that this is the superior formation of the O’Neale-at-the-2 arrangements.

None of which is to say that Conley Jr. is a better basketball player than Mitchell. Simply put, he isn’t. Mitchell’s preternatural scoring ability separates him from both Conley Jr. and, in fact, every other member of the Utah Jazz.

For that reason, he’ll be on the floor down the stretch of close games when Quin Snyder needs his group to get buckets. In the meantime, however, this Mitchell-less lineup stands to do plenty of damage for whatever duration it sees the floor in 2021-22.