Stats Prove Utah Jazz Are On Their Way To Replicate Their 1996-97 NBA Finals Season

Published 02/13/2021, 6:30 AM EST
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 Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers are the first teams that come to mind while talking about the best teams in the West. But after one-third of the season has passed, the Utah Jazz hold the number one spot in the Western Conference. They have the best record in the whole league, not just the West.

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This brilliant record is by virtue of excellent performances on both ends. Led by Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, the Jazz comfortably look like the best team in the league currently.

As NBA insider Shane Young points out, this 21-5 record is reminiscent of something from the past. Following their win against the Bucks last night, he compared the Jazz 2020-21 stats after 26 games to that of their 1996-97 record at the same stage. In that season, the Jazz went on to reach the NBA Finals.

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Except for the net rating, the current Jazz team is better (or equal) in each of the variables. But can they maintain this throughout the season?

Can the Utah Jazz recreate history, but with a better ending?

The Jazz had an average start to the season. After eight games, they had a 4-4 record, with losses to the Timberwolves, Suns, and the Knicks. But since then, the Jazz have been on a historic run.

They have won 17 out of their 18 games during this run. This includes wins over the Bucks, Nuggets, Celtics, and the Warriors. They have been playing excellent team basketball, which has been their main strength. This was on full display against the Bucks too, as they toyed around the opposition, to win by 14 points.

After the game, Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo was also left mesmerized by the Jazz. “It just looks fun,” Giannis said. “When I watch them play, it looks easy, it looks simple. For, sure, they look like us last year.”

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This form means nothing if they fail to step up during the playoffs. Donovan Mitchell summed it up perfectly. He said, “We don’t want to be the best team in February, we want to be the best team in July.”

Jan 27, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) reacts with guard Miye Oni (81) and forward Georges Niang (31) after a three-pointer in the second quarter against the Dallas Mavericks at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

If they play with this mindset and continue to stay consistent, they look set to recreate history by entering the Finals for the first time since 1998. This time, they will aim to bring home the Larry O’Brien trophy, a feat that is yet to be achieved by the franchise.

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Aaron Mathew

1522 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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