Utah Jazz: Why the 2019-20 schedule sets up for a slow start
The 2019-20 schedule has been released, and the Utah Jazz have not been given a favorable beginning to the season.
Here is the moment of the summer that every NBA fan awaits after free agency: NBA schedule release. Teams benefit from the schedule release, too. Players get a feel for the tough stretches of games and the stretch that won’t be as difficult. For some teams like the Utah Jazz, though, they don’t benefit as much as other teams.
The Jazz are in the Western Conference, and in the West it is imperative that teams get off to a fast start. The competition is so fierce that any slow start will make the ultimate difference by the end of the season.
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The third through sixth seeds were determined on the last night of the season, just to show a clear example.
Teams like the Denver Nuggets and the Portland Trail Blazers get off to simple starts. The Nuggets face four teams that made the playoffs last year in their first 10 games. The Blazers face a few more, but still easy for a team that made the Western Conference Finals last season.
Those are only two teams out of many, but the point remains the same. The Jazz’s competition have a more favorable start to the season, and that puts more pressure on the Jazz to gel faster and avoid a rocky beginning.
The Jazz, in their first 10 games, face off against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the L.A. Lakers, the Sacramento Kings (twice), the Phoenix Suns, the L.A. Clippers (twice), the Philadelphia 76ers, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Golden State Warriors.
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That is six teams that made the playoffs last year, plus the new-look Lakers. The Kings tend to start fast in the season so an upset is possible there, too.
A possible record for the Utah Jazz in that opening stretch is 6-4 or 5-5, with losses to one or both L.A. teams, the Kings once and either the Bucks or 76ers (or maybe both).
The Jazz can avoid a .500 record if they’re able to gel fast and integrate the new guys into the system. That should be simple, as all the new additions are team-oriented players and should have no problem fitting in.
If the Jazz can transition fast, then an even better start is possible, maybe at a 7-3 after the first 10.
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Comparing them to the rest of the conference, they should be able to finish within the top four as long as they avoid a worse than .500 record. Anything of that sort will be hard to bounce back from, so staying above that threshold will do them well when it comes time to seed the teams.
The Jazz should be OK and no worrying should be done from their fans. Simply put, the beginning of the season will put their team chemistry to the test, and see if they’re able to perform as a unit.
If they can manage that, they’ll definitely be a team to keep any eye on as the season glides through the middle of November.