KSLSports.com - How Does Utah Jazz Schedule Compare To Rest Of West?

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Ben Anderson

Guest
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz are preparing to resume the NBA season in Orlando. On Friday, the NBA released an updated schedule for the 22-teams traveling to The Walt Disney World Resort. Below is a look at the strength of schedule (SOS) for each remaining team. The opponent’s win percentage is presented along with the team name and the total average win percentage, or total SOS, is given at the bottom. Outside of the Jazz, the teams are ranked in order of easiest remaining SOS to toughest.

It must be noted that the remaining SOS isn’t as accurate a tool upon the NBA’s return as it may have been in years past. After a four and a half month hiatus, it’s difficult to measure how a team will perform when they retake the floor. Add to the mix that several high-level players, like the Jazz Bojan Bogdanovic, will not travel to Orlando, and the remaining rosters will look remarkably different.

Furthermore, the strategy for each team entering the bubble might be different. For teams like the Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards, the pathway to a playoff berth is nearly impossible. Thus, they may use the final eight games to play young players who might not otherwise see the floor. Additionally, the Milwaukee Bucks can clinch the top seed in the East by winning their first two games. If they accomplish that, they may prefer to rest their starters to prepare for the playoff push.

Here's the full NBA schedule for the seeding games, per the @NBA. Up to seven games per day, games starting between 12pm and 9pm ET. Basketball all day. pic.twitter.com/YB2EZ9ZAEm

— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) June 26, 2020
However, despite the pending changes, the previous success of the remaining teams should offer some insight into the gauntlet ahead.

Utah Jazz

The Jazz enter the bubble with the fifth easiest remaining schedule in the West. Facing the San Antonio Spurs, who having extremely low odds of climbing into the playoff picture, and both the Memphis Grizzlies or New Orleans Pelicans, only one of whom is likely to make the playoffs, three of the Jazz final eight games are against non-playoff teams.

That’s a blessing and a curse. Without LaMarcus Aldridge, the Spurs are one of the least talented teams in Orlando, though the Jazz are 0-2 against San Antonio this season. The Jazz are better than both the Grizzlies and Pelicans but should expect a battle as both teams will be fighting tooth and nail to earn the final playoff spot.

The Jazz are one game up on both the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets for the fourth seed in the West, and just 1.5 games back of the Denver Nuggets for the third seed. The Jazz have an easier SOS than each of those teams, so both fending off the Rockets and Thunder while catching the Nuggets remains a possibility.

The Jazz have head to head matchups with both the Thunders. Those games will be critical to the Jazz playoff seeding.

New Orleans Pelicans: .438

Oklahoma City Thunder: .625

Los Angeles Lakers: .778

Memphis Grizzlies: .492

San Antonio Spurs: .429

Denver Nuggets: .662

Dallas Mavericks: .597

San Antonio Spurs: .429

Total SOS: .556

New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans were blessed with the easiest remaining schedule to conclude the season. That’s fitting, as they were set to have the easiest had the season not been suspended in March.

The Pelicans have winnable games against the Washington Wizards and San Antonio Spurs, but every other team on their schedule is playing for something. Matchups with the Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings will likely dictate their playoff hopes.

Entering the bubble, the Pelicans are 3.5 games back of the eight seeded Grizzlies and are in a virtual tie with the Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings for the ninth seed.

The Pelicans schedule!
#WontBowDown #WholeNewGame pic.twitter.com/6h0TnhZSZz

— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) June 26, 2020
Utah Jazz: .641

Los Angeles Clippers: .688

Memphis Grizzlies: .492

Sacramento Kings: .438

Washington Wizards: .375

San Antonio Spurs: .429

Sacramento Kings: .438

Orlando Magic: .462

Total SOS: .495

Sacramento Kings

The Kings should be considered darkhorse candidates to earn the final playoff spot. The Kings were 7-3 over their final 10 games before the league was suspended, and looked like a real threat to overtake the Grizzlies.

While Sacramento has two critical games against the Pelicans that will likely determine which of two teams has a real shot of appearing in the playoff game, having no opportunity to face the Grizzlies head to head is a drawback.

It’s not Wednesday but trust us, you’ll want this wallpaper anyway
pic.twitter.com/efejKelA3o

— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) June 27, 2020
San Antonio Spurs: .429

Orlando Magic: .462

Dallas Mavericks: .597

New Orleans Pelicans: .438

Brooklyn Nets: .469

Houston Rockets: .625

New Orleans Pelicans: .438

Los Angeles Lakers: .778

Total SOS: .529

Los Angeles Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers are one of the more interesting teams entering the bubble. Coach Doc Rivers has resisted playing stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George together in order to preserve them for the postseason. Now, he has to play them in order to establish chemistry heading into the playoffs.

Sitting 5.5 games back of the Lakers for the top seed, the Clippers can’t worry about gaining ground in the regular season. However, they sit just 1.5 games ahead of the Nuggets for the third seed and a potential first-round matchup with the Houston Rockets. The Clippers and Nuggets face off in the second to last game of the regular season.

Mark your calendars.

Clippers basketball is back in 34 days. #ClipperNation pic.twitter.com/OLb5ZlZD1x

— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) June 26, 2020
Los Angeles Lakers: .778

New Orleans Pelicans: .438

Phoenix Suns: .400

Dallas Mavericks: .597

Portland Trail Blazers: .439

Brooklyn Nets: .469

Denver Nuggets: .662

Oklahoma City Thunder: .625

Total SOS: .551

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks might be the team the rest of the West is jockeying to face in the first round of the postseason. Considering the Lakers are all but guaranteed a date with the West’s eighth seed, the seventh-seeded Mavericks will be the easiest team to eliminate in the first round of the playoffs.

Luka Doncic is a legit star and along with Zion Williamson, the future face of the NBA. But for now, the Mavericks face long odds of winning a playoff series. However, sitting just 1.5 games back of the West’s fight seed, Dallas will likely bring their all, especially if they can beat the Rockets in game one.

Disney World here we come


@chime | #MFFL pic.twitter.com/8h50kMCkc4

— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) June 26, 2020
Houston Rockets: .625

Phoenix Suns: .400

Sacramento Kings: .438

Los Angeles Clippers: .688

Milwaukee Bucks: .815

Utah Jazz: .641

Portland Trail Blazers: .439

Phoenix Suns: .400

Total SOS: .555

Portland Trail Blazers

For as much talk as the Pelicans and Grizzlies have received about the eighth-seed, Damian Lillard is the individual most capable of willing his team to the final playoff spot. Despite Lillard’s brilliance this season, the Trail Blazers have been an enormous disappointment.

However, with Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins reportedly available to play in Orlando, the Blazers are a serious threat to not only earn the eighth-seed but give LeBron James and the Lakers trouble in the first round.

Sacramento Kings: .438

Memphis Grizzlies: .492

Philadelphia 76ers: .600

Denver Nuggets: .662

Utah Jazz: .641

New Orleans Pelicans: .438

Houston Rockets: .625

Utah Jazz: .641

Total SOS: .567

Oklahoma City Thunder

Outside of the Mavericks, the Thunder might be the opponent most teams hope to face in the first round of the playoffs. Though Chris Paul has experienced a resurgence in Oklahoma City, the Thunder don’t have one star that is ready to take over a playoff series.

The Thunder have been on a tear since Christmas, winning 25 of their last 35 games. Furthermore, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander could emerge as the league’s breakout young player in Orlando.

Mark your calendars.
!#ThunderUp | @MidFirst pic.twitter.com/64WpDyzHqj

— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) June 27, 2020
Utah Jazz: .641

Denver Nuggets: .662

Los Angeles Lakers: .778

Memphis Grizzlies: .492

Washington Wizards: .375

Phoenix Suns: .400

Miami Heat: .631

Los Angeles Clippers: .688

Total SOS: .583

Houston Rockets

The Rockets are a mystery entering Orlando. Though a radical midseason shakeup gave Houston one of the most unique rosters in league history, the results have been inconsistent. After a 13-4 stretch, the Rockets lost four out of five entering the hiatus.

The Rockets currently own the sixth seed and are 1.5 games back of the Jazz for the fourth seed. While teams will be shooting to climb higher into the postseason, avoid a second-round matchup with the top-seeded Lakers may prevent some teams from trying to jump into the 4-5 matchup.

James Harden can single-handedly win a playoff series, conversely, Russell Westbrook can shoot his team out of the postseason. The Jazz have experienced both in the last two years.

Back at it July 31st!#OneMission pic.twitter.com/F4pnS95jWJ

— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) June 26, 2020
Dallas Mavericks: .597

Milwaukee Bucks: .815

Portland Trailblazers: .439

Los Angeles Lakers: .778

Sacramento Kings: .438

San Antonio Spurs: .429

Indiana Pacers: .600

Philadelphia 76ers: .600

Total SOS: .587

Phoenix Suns

The Suns have no real shot at making the postseason. Sitting six games back of the eighth seed, any combination of two Suns losses or two Grizzlies wins will eliminate Phoenix from contention. Thus, expect the Suns to give an extra opportunity to their young players as they prepare for a playoff push next season.

Heigh ho heigh ho, off to hoop we go!#WholeNewGame | #WeAreTheValley pic.twitter.com/VnwTe4xubc

— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) June 27, 2020
Washington Wizards: .375

Dallas Mavericks: .597

Los Angeles Clippers: .688

Indiana Pacers: .600

Miami Heat: .631

Oklahoma City Thunder: .625

Philadelphia 76ers: .600

Dallas Mavericks: .597

Total SOS: .589

Memphis Grizzlies

While all eyes will be on Zion Williams, fellow rookie of the year candidate (favorite?) Ja Morant is a star in the making. The Grizzlies are unlikely to be overtaken outright for the eighth seed, owning a 3.5 game advantage with just eight games to play.

However, they are almost assured to face a play-in game to earn the final playoff spot. Can Morant edge Williams, Lillard, or the Kings to earn his first playoffs berth?

The @memgrizz NBA Comeback seeding games schedule! #WholeNewGame pic.twitter.com/lTckrCNvKy

— NBA (@NBA) June 27, 2020
Portland Trail Blazers: .439

San Antonio Spurs: .429

New Orleans Pelicans: .438

Utah Jazz: .641

Oklahoma City Thunder: .625

Toronto Raptors: .719

Boston Celtics: .672

Milwaukee Bucks: .815

Total SOS: .597

Denver Nuggets

Of all the Western Conference teams battling for playoff positioning in Orlando, Denver faces the toughest schedule by far. Of the remaining eight games, only the Spurs and Blazers are on the outside of the playoffs looking in.

Making matters worse, the Blazers should still be in the thick of a playoff chase, while the rest of their schedule (minus the Lakers) is jockeying for playoff position. The Nuggets are a threat to overtake the second-seeded Clippers but are more likely to feel the Jazz, Thunder, and Rockets nipping at their heels.

The wait is over. #MileHighBasketball pic.twitter.com/DukYsxJZhz

— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) June 26, 2020
Miami Heat: .631

Oklahoma City Thunder: .625

San Antonio Spurs: .429

Portland Trail Blazers: .439

Utah Jazz: .641

Los Angeles Lakers: .778

Los Angeles Clippers: .688

Toronto Raptors: .719

Total SOS: .618

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers return will be more strategy-driven than perhaps any other team in Orlando. The Lakers need just three wins or three Clippers losses to clinch the top seed, allowing for LeBron James to rest ahead of the playoffs. However, with JR Smith now in tow, and Avery Bradley skipping the return, the Lakers may need to work a crucial piece into the lineup.

Though they have the toughest schedule remaining, they have the least to play for among Western Conference teams in the playoff chase. Despite that fact, their performance against a series of fellow Western Conference playoff contenders could shake up the playoff picture.

Lakers Basketball is officially back. Here are your end of summer plans.

Presented by @Delta pic.twitter.com/fiB9yX3Mlr

— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 26, 2020
Los Angeles Clippers: .688

Toronto Raptors: .719

Utah Jazz: .641

Oklahoma City Thunder: .625

Houston Rockets: .625

Indiana Pacers: .600

Denver Nuggets: .662

Sacramento Kings: .438

Total SOS: .624

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