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NBA 2018-19 Season Preview: Utah Jazz

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222   //    11 Oct 2018, 06:02 IST

Utah Jazz will be looking to improve upon a memorable campaign for them, starred by Donovan Mitchell
Utah Jazz will be looking to improve upon a memorable campaign for them, starred by Donovan Mitchell

A team who made the biggest improvements last season with a rookie leading their way, Donovan Mitchell's impressive influence proved pivotal in propelling Utah Jazz into the playoffs.

They went on to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder, who had Carmelo Anthony, Paul George and MVP Russell Westbrook among their highly-rated ranks last term.

Donovan Mitchell battling Paul George during an eventful six-game series
Donovan Mitchell battling Paul George during an eventful six-game series

Gobert's defensive impact and an unlikely playoff push

Rudy Gobert, the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, was certainly making his presence felt around the rim - blocking shots and making important defensive plays whenever teammates were under pressure.

Rudy during the annual June awards, with his Defensive Player of the Year accolade
Rudy during the annual June awards, with his Defensive Player of the Year accolade

On the other end of the floor meanwhile, Mitchell quickly made a name for himself in the NBA and his playoff performances against OKC and the Houston Rockets were marvellous to watch.

However, this upcoming season will be a completely different one for them. Teams will be making defensive plans to effectively deal with Mitchell better, as the 21-year-old will have to deal with more double teams and additional pressure on his plate to deliver consistently.

Head coach Quin Snyder will have to come up with ideas to make their current crop even better, as they're currently expected to make the top four in a loaded Western Conference.

Quin Snyder earned deserved praise after surpassing expectations with his Jazz side last season
Quin Snyder earned deserved praise after surpassing expectations with his Jazz side last season

Why the Jazz will be a team worth watching

With the aforementioned Mitchell and Gobert in tow, the Jazz will be an intriguing team to watch out for this season. They must keep their foot on the gas, if they harbour genuine hopes of a deeper run in the post-season, but they are well-equipped to make it work.

When going up against the giants like Golden State Warriors, Rockets or even LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers, they will inevitably have to make more of an effort to assert their presence during matches, while everyone on the rotation has to make a positive difference for them to stand a chance.

Ranked in the top half of last year's defensive rankings across the league, they must continue in the same vein - it's their best chance of making an improved post-season run.

Known as a great coach among the circle in the NBA, Quin Snyder will be the catalyst to deciding whether the Utah Jazz continue to surpass expectations or struggle under more pressure and scrutiny over the coming months.

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