NBA Writer: Jazz Rolling, Warriors "A Nightmare"

Donovan Mitchell has taken his game to another level this season, while the Warriors "look like imposters"

November 14, 2019 - 8:09 am
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Much of the NBA chatter this offseason centered on a handful of teams: mainly the Lakers, Clippers, and Rockets. Well, the Jazz (8-3) have the second-best record in a crowded Western Conference, and it’s easy to see why.

“You’ve got the league’s best defense – or (a defense in) that top three again this year – and now all of a sudden they’ve added these offensive weapons so you don’t just have to rely on Donovan Mitchell anymore,” Salt Lake Tribune Jazz writer Andy Larsen said on Ferrall on the Bench “You’ve got Bojan Bogdanovic, you’ve got Mike Conley – you’ve got all these guys that can actually help out the offense in other ways. I think the Jazz have seen the fruits of that so far. Even if the offense hasn’t figured it out all the way, they can pull through down the stretch in ways they just could’t last season.”

The Jazz have won four games in a row, beating the 76ers, Bucks, Warriors and Nets. Mitchell leads the team with 25.1 points, 4.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game.

“He’s been so much more efficient this year,” Larsen said. “It’s 11 games, but he’s making more of his threes, he’s getting to the rim, he’s getting to the free-throw line more – that’s what happens when you drive to the rim – and his defense has gotten a lot better. . . . He’s been as good as advertised – and maybe even better.”

Speaking of the aforementioned Warriors, Larsen was surprised by how, well, bad they look. The Jazz beat the Warriors 122-108 on Monday behind 25 points from Rudy Gobert. Golden State (2-10) has the worst record in basketball.

“They look like imposters in those uniforms,” Larsen said. “Draymond Green looks completely lost without having good players around him. He’s a legitimate All-Star in his prime, but when he doesn’t have a Steph Curry or Klay Thompson to set screens for and open up things for their offense – and then defensively it’s just a nightmare. I think they’re the worst defensive team in the league. They’ve got all these G-League guys who are trying to fit in and learn how to play professional basketball on the fly in the beginning of this regular season. It’s just kind of a nightmare. It’s really unusual for an NBA team to go from first to worst this quickly, but hey, that’s the player-movement era that we’re in and then obviously the injuries, too.”

Click below to listen to Larsen’s interview in its entirety.