NBA: Grading would-be playoff teams in the Western Conference

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NBA Utah Jazz Donovan Mitchell (Photo by Brandon Dill/Getty Images)

4. Utah Jazz (41-23)

Grade: B-

The Utah Jazz is similar to the Denver Nuggets (who we’ll get to next) in many ways. Both are small-market franchises with good coaches. Both are lacking talent on the wring to truly put them over the top. The problem is, there are only a handful of players in the league who can make that much of impact and the Jazz and the Nuggets don’t have a player of that caliber.

The Jazz is solid and has built a nice culture in Salt Lake City. Donovan Mitchell has really taken over as the team’s best player and done a nice job in his role. Bojan Bogdanovic has been a really good pickup and is averaging 20 points per game in his first season with the team. With this being said, he doesn’t provide anything else but scoring.

Rudy Gobert is a two-time defensive player of the year and excels at what he does. In today’s NBA, he comes obsolete against small-ball lineups. The Clippers and Rockets run small-ball lineups, two teams they can potentially match up against in the playoffs. That is the same reason Clint Capela was let go in Houston.

Another player who has been disappointing all year is Mike Conley. At the time of his signing, it was one of the most underrated pickups in the offseason and has now become one of the worst. The Jazz is a nice team that has had a solid season up till this point but doesn’t really pose a threat.

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