The team with the best record in the NBA, the 24-6 Utah Jazz, will host the entertaining Charlotte Hornets on February 22nd. The Jazz will be looking to bounce back after suffering their second loss in the last 22 games, while Charlotte is coming off a huge win at the buzzer over the Golden State Warriors at home.
Both teams are filled with young talent, and we will create a combined starting five with the best players on these two rosters.
Charlotte Hornets vs Utah Jazz Prediction: Combined starting 5
The Utah Jazz have been in red-hot form since starting the season with a 4-4 record and suffering consecutive losses to the Brooklyn Nets by 34 points and the New York Knicks by 12 points, both on the road. Since then, the Utah Jazz have a 20-2 record and their losses came after 11 straight wins first, and then after nine consecutive victories.
The Jazz fell to the LA Clippers in their last outing, with a score of 116-112. During their impressive run in the last 22 games, the Utah Jazz have defeated the Milwaukee Bucks twice, while the Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, and the first seed of the East, the Philadelphia 76ers, have also lost to Utah.
The Charlotte Hornets have a 14-15 record in the current season and own seventh place in the Eastern Conference, just one game behind the fourth-placed team, the Boston Celtics.
Charlotte has been fun to watch, with rookie LaMelo Ball running the show, and Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier playing consistently for them. They are coming off a 102-100 win over Golden State, with Rozier hitting the game-winning shot at the buzzer to complete his huge 36-point night.
The Utah Jazz already faced the Charlotte Hornets in the 2020-21 NBA season, back on February 5th, and they beat them handsomely, 138-121.
Without further ado, let us take a look at a combined lineup with players of the Charlotte Hornets and Utah Jazz.
Point Guard - LaMelo Ball (Charlotte Hornets)
LaMelo Ball might be the front-runner to take home the Rookie of the Year award in the 2020-21 NBA season, and he has certainly been impressive. Though there were some doubts about Ball's shooting and everything surrounding him, he has delivered handsomely for the Charlotte Hornets so far and is a fun player to follow.
Ball, who came off the bench for the first 20 games and earned a place as a starter in the last nine games, is averaging a solid 14 points, six rebounds, and six assists per game in the 2020-21 campaign.
However, his numbers might improve drastically for the end of the year, as he is averaging 19/6/6 in his nine starts (and playing 34 minutes per game).
Shooting Guard - Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz)
Though Terry Rozier is performing well for Charlotte, Donovan Mitchell is the main piece of the Utah Jazz's offense and he is surely the team's best player. Mitchell has been playing a huge level in the 2020-21 NBA season.
Some might argue that Mitchell is not carrying the Utah Jazz to the best record of the NBA in this campaign, and while it might be true that the team has been putting on a great collective effort, he is certainly their main contributor.
Mitchell is averaging 24.6 points, four rebounds, and five assists in the current campaign with a 43/39/83 shooting split. Over the last 10 games, he is averaging 28/5/5 and the Utah Jazz is one 9-1.
Forward - Gordon Hayward (Charlotte Hornets)
Much noise surrounded Gordon Hayward's offseason and the huge deal he inked with the Charlotte Hornets. However, the noise regarding that contract has faded a bit, and Hayward's play has been good enough.
He is leading the Charlotte Hornets in scoring with 22 points per night and a shooting efficiency of 49% from the field, 43% from the three-point line, and 86% from the free-throw line.
Forward - Bojan Bogdanovic (Utah Jazz)
Bojan Bogdanovic is another great piece for Quin Snyder's puzzle with the Utah Jazz. Though he is not a flashy player or an athletic freak, Bogdanovic does a great job of taking advantage of the tools he has.
After having his best scoring season last year with 20 points per night, Bogdanovic keeps scoring with a good rate and is averaging 15.5 points per game in the 2020-21 campaign, with a 43/40/86 shooting split.
Center - Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)
Once again, Rudy Gobert is one of the leading candidates for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award. The French center is doing an excellent job at protecting the paint for the Utah Jazz and his advanced stats show that he is arguably the strongest candidate for the DPOY.
Gobert is putting up 14 points and 13.5 rebounds per game in the 2020-21 NBA season. He remains a top finisher around the basket and that is what he offers the Jazz on offense. On defense, Gobert has been great again.
He is leading the league in Defensive Rebounds and Total Rebounds and ranks second in rebounds per game. Gobert has the league's best Defensive Rating at 100.7 points allowed per 100 possessions and is also the NBA leader in Defensive Win Shares.