Former NBA Champion Explains What the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns Need to Do to Win an NBA Title

Published 04/17/2021, 10:05 AM EDT
Feb 13, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) and Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) celebrate during the second half against the Philadelphia 76ers at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports


The Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns currently sit at one and two respectively in the Western Conference. This is a position that nobody would have predicted for either side heading into the season. However, both teams have outpaced the herd in the West to possibly finish with the top seeds in the Conference.

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Despite that, many are overlooking them in favor of the Lakers and Clippers. Former NBA Champion Rasheed Wallace has a suggestion as to what part of their game can these team’s improve on to make them seem more legitimate as contenders. That aspect is the same aspect his ’04 Detroit Pistons won the title. Defense.

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“It’s something that isn’t played in the NBA now and that is defense. That’s what we hung out hat on. That ’04 Pistons team? We hung out hat on defense from day one when I got traded there. It wasn’t gray we’re just gonna let busy score, run up and down the court, and get 120-130 points? Nah. That’s not happening with us. Defense is the main factor and that’s what set us aside from a whole lot of other champions. We have an NBA record that will never be broken I think. That’s when we held six or seven teams under 70 points. We wasn’t trying to do it, we were just playing basketball.”

Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns: Are they genuine title contenders?

Jan 26, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) slaps the hand of center Rudy Gobert (27) during the third quarter against the New York Knicks at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Utah Jazz wins 108-94. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns currently sit atop the Western Conference. Despite that, no one has them in title conversations. While the other teams do have superstars that make them more enticing, is that the only reason why these teams are being overlooked? But is defense the reason they are being overlooked?

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The Jazz are one of the best defensive teams in the league and have the likely Defensive Player of the Year in Rudy Gobert. Quinn Snyder is their coach and takes pride in defense. Similarly, Phoenix has been great defensively.

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Both teams are in the top five of the NBA’s Defensive rating this season for a reason. The reason they aren’t looked at as contenders is because of inexperience and a lack of firepower to match the super teams.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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