Before the start of the previous season, the Utah Jazz were considered a dark horse that could make some noise in the playoffs. Ahead of the 2020-21 NBA season, the Utah Jazz have well and truly arrived. This will be Donovan Mitchell's 4th season with the Jazz and he will be gunning to make the playoffs for the fourth consecutive time.
Donovan Mitchell is every team's dream draft pick. He was NBA ready from the moment he was drafted, and he lead the team to the playoffs in his first season. Three years later, Mitchell has firmly established himself as a star in the league. In the 2019-20 NBA season, he made the first All-Star game of his career.
Donovan Mitchell then went on to lead the Utah Jazz to the playoffs but suffered an early exit when his side faced the Denver Nuggets in the first round. The previous campaign was marred by injuries but with a healthy team and a DPOY candidate in Rudy Gobert protecting the rim, the Utah Jazz could have a special 2020-21 NBA season.
Utah Jazz 2020-21 NBA season preview: the sleeper team of the season
The Utah Jazz enter into the new season with a largely unchanged roster. Having Bodgan Bogdanovic back will help their offense. Nonetheless, the difficulty they had in containing Nikola Jokic when Rudy Gobert was off the court has not been solved.
The franchise tied down Donovan Mitchell by signing him to a max extension and also gave a new contract to Jordan Clarkson. On paper, the Utah Jazz look solid but don't seem to be a threat to the contenders like the LA Lakers or the LA Clippers. With no major additions in free agency, the team's progress in the 2020-21 NBA season depends on Donovan Mitchell, who looked like a full-fledged superstar in the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
They will be the sleeper team in the Western Conference this season and could upset one of the contenders and make a deeper run in the 2021 NBA Playoffs. The Utah Jazz also have a major decision to make regarding Rudy Gobert, who is eligible for a supermax extension. The Jazz could make a choice on whether to retain Gobert based on his performances this season.
Utah Jazz 2019-20 NBA Season Record
Regular-season record - (44-28)
Eastern Conference standings - 6th
Division standing - 3rd in the Northwest division
Playoffs - Lost in the first round to the Denver Nuggets (4-3)
PF Derrick Favors, C Udoka Azubuike, SF Elijah Hughes
The Utah Jazz did not make any major roster changes this offseason and will depend on the formidable duo of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert to carry them. The Jazz drafted Azubuike with their first-round selection. He is a player who can stretch the floor as a backup Center. He averaged 13.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks in his senior season with the Jayhawks.
The franchise extended Jordan Clarkson and Donovan Mitchell, and brought back Derick Favours as part of their major offseason moves. Having kept the core of the team intact, the Jazz will be depending on team chemistry and their collective talent to make a splash in the 2020-21 NBA season.
Predicted starting line up for the Utah Jazz for the 2020-21 NBA season
PG Mike Conley, SG Donovan Mitchell, SF Bojan Bogdanovic, PF Royce O’Neale, C Rudy Gobert
F Derrick Favors, G Elijah Huges, F Georges Niang, F Jarrell Brantley, C Udoka Azubuike, G Trevon Blueitt, F Jordan Clarkson, G Trent Forest, G Shaquille Harrison, G Joe Ingles, C Romaro Gill, G Juan Morgan, F Miye Oni, G Jake Toolson, G Nigel Willams-Goss.
The Utah Jazz trusted their core and retained most of the roster, choosing not to make any major changes this season. Bringing back Derrick Favors does not seem to be an impact move but will help them late in the season and the playoffs.
As of now, the team does not pose a challenge to the contenders but I wouldn't count them out seeing what Donovan Mitchell did to the Denver Nuggets during the Utah Jazz's short playoff run in September.
Predictions for the 2020-21 NBA Season
Predicted record - (38-34)
Predicted playoff standing - 7th in the East
Breakout star - Jordan Clarkson
The Utah Jazz have one of the most balanced teams in the NBA. After their early first-round exit in the 2020 NBA Playoffs, they will be looking to redeem themselves this season.
Donovan Mitchell just signed a 5-year $195 million contract extension and will be looking to put his best foot forward when the season commences on December 22nd.
The team's performances in the 2020-21 NBA season will al determine if the Jazz extend Rudy Gobert and see him as part of their future and keep one of the best guard-big duos in the league intact. The Utah Jazz have more riding on this season than meets the eye.