The 2017-18 NBA season is about to end, with three weeks remaining in the season. The playoff race is as close as ever, with teams set to battle for a postseason berth until the final days of the season. Meanwhile, the Rockets and Raptors continue to tighten their grip on the No. 1 seed in their conferences.
While the season has ebbed and flowed all season, the hottest and most exciting team to talk about right now are the Utah Jazz. The small market team, lead by a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Rudy Gobert and a Rookie of the Year candidate in Donovan Mitchell, are 21-2 in their last 23 games, and have catapulted themselves into the postseason.
It’s remarkable what they’ve been able to accomplish this season. They were in a tough spot in January when Gobert was out with a knee injury. Their franchise center watched his team struggling, and sent out a tweet late on January 5.
They’ve been fine.
Gobert has staked his claim to be Defensive Player of the Year, impacting the game more than any other player in the second half of the season. Mitchell is leading the offense with 21 points a game, and Ricky Rubio is playing well in the backcourt alongside the rookie. They aren’t just winning, they’re winning by double-digits most nights, and they’ve got a ton of momentum as they approach the postseason.
No one expected them to rebound so quickly from losing Gordon Hayward, yet here we are, watching a young team, built around a defensive center and an electric young guard, set to make some noise in the postseason. Watch out for the Jazz.
One young team no one is afraid of? The No. 30 ranked team in this week’s power rankings.
No team is better at tanking so far then the Phoenix Suns, who lead the league is losses, and don’t seem like they’re going to stop losing any time soon. Even Devin Booker is getting into the tanking spirit, shooting 29 percent from the floor this last week and 14 percent on 3-point attempts while turning the ball over 4.5 times per game. They continue to let Josh Jackson do whatever he wants on offense, which is fine, because they really seem intent on losing basketball games. They’ve won once since Feb. 1, a 110-102 win over the Grizzlies, a game that could come back to haunt them, because it gave them a 3-1 edge over them for the season. Tiebreakers are important for every team at this part of the season!