• Michael Austin

Hot Take Marathon: Utah Will Be a 1 Seed Next Season

ABC4 Utah

Due to one of the craziest offseasons we have ever seen, the NBA has completely transformed itself for next season. The Western Conference in particular has changed drastically. Los Angeles alone has become the new basketball mecca of the world, housing most likely the two best teams in the NBA. In spite of all of this, the Utah Jazz are uniquely situated to make a run for the number one seed this year.

Utah has had one of the best off-seasons of any NBA team. The addition of veteran point guard Mike Conley is huge. His ability to lead the team and mentor a budding superstar in Donovan Mitchell might be exactly what this team needs to take the next step. In addition to Conley, the Jazz also signed Bojan Bogdanovic, Emmanuel Mudiay, Ed Davis and Jeff Green to round out their already competitive roster.

Bogdanovic is no joke when it comes to scoring, Mudiay is a young guard with lots to prove this season, Ed Davis is a rebounding machine, and Jeff Green has been a solid rotational player for years now. This is likely the best team the Utah franchise has ever assembled.

A lot of teams in the West are strong this year, however, with five or six of them all vying for the coveted one seed. The Lakers and Clippers have the top two duos in the NBA. The Houston Rockets traded in Chris Paul for Russel Westbrook. Fans would do well to not forget about the Denver Nuggets. After bringing back all their young players the Nuggets will be making another strong showing this season.

However, when it comes to regular season success, most of this teams have some serious issues. With the onset of load management, the two LA teams are likely to fall to at least the three and four seeds in the west. The aging LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis and Paul George are all somewhat injury prone over the last few seasons and will be taking full advantage of the new NBA trend.

The new duo in Houston is likely to fail, given the mismatched styles of James Harden and Westbrook. Even if the Rockets will themselves to overachieve, the clashing nature of the two superstars games is just too much to overcome.

That leaves Utah and Denver both vying for the one seed. Utah has a lot to prove this year. Their roster is newly assembled, and many of their players feel like they have something to prove. Mike Conley needs to establish he is still worth a maximum contract, especially since this will be his first season away from Memphis. After missing out on the All-Star game, both Mitchell and Rudy Gobert have a lot to prove as well.

Although in the post-season they are not going to beat either of the LA teams, one thing is for certain next year. The Utah Jazz will be the number one seed in the Western Conference. Count on it.

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