NBA: Takeaways for all 30 teams at the midway point of the 2019-20 season

NBA Milwaukee Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
NBA Milwaukee Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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NBA LA Clippers
NBA LA Clippers Paul George and Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

3.  Utah Jazz (32-13)

The Jazz currently leads the league in 3-point percentage, shooting 38.8 percent from distance, but when it comes to 2020 championship aspirations, Utah has to be grouped into what is essentially the same tier as the Nuggets. On the surface, there appears to be hope, but realistically we’re almost certain they’re going to be bounced in the first or second round of the playoffs. The Jazz has long been a strong regular season team who simply hasn’t gotten it done come playoff time (only 2 Conference Championships and no Championships since 1974).

The roster is solid, littered with above-average starters (much like the Pacers) though they’re lacking that elite top 10 player that’s almost becoming a requirement when it comes to winning NBA titles. Sure Donovan Mitchell is good, but is he really great? Rudy Gobert is an elite rim-protector, but he might be hapless against quality teams with multiple guys who score in the paint (Lakers, Nuggets, and Clippers are all among the top 10 scoring teams in the paint). It’s also hard to watch Mike Conley struggling as much as he has been because the guy was an absolute baller.

It’s not out of the question that he transitions to a sixth-man role the rest of the way, as the Jazz has been absolutely rolling without him – though it’s hard to justify bringing a $30 million per year guy off the bench.

4.  LA Clippers (32-14)

The Clippers completed a blockbuster off-season with the acquisitions of both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Doc Rivers and his squad have to be feeling good about their chances of winning it all this year, having already beaten their counterpart Lakers in both meetings; games in which Kawhi Leonard went off for 30-plus points, with the win on opening night even coming without Paul George.

Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell are absolute beasts coming off the bench, and it’ll be interesting to see what Doc does with his rotations down the stretch; specifically for an improving guy like Ivica Zubac, who can be dominant in short spurts (though in crunch time, we’d expect the Clips to roll with a lineup of Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams,  Kawhi, PG, and Harrell). Also worth mentioning is that the Clippers have played very few games with their full complement of players, and eventually you’d expect them to be relatively fresh come playoff time.