|9 Overall||17 Overall|
Stats through Jan. 15
Paul Millsap stepped flawlessly into the role once occupied by Carlos Boozer. Al Jefferson has manned the middle with Mehmet Okur down and Andrei Kirilenko is versatile.
Deron Williams belongs in the MVP conversation, averaging more than 20 points and nearly 10 assists. Raja Bell has come back from injury to be an all-around pest.
Sit in the middle of the pack defensively, which isn't the norm for a Jerry Sloan-coached group. Being out-rebounded as a team, but get more blocks and steals than the opposition.
Sixth man C.J. Miles has led the team in scoring several times. Ronnie Price, rookie Gordon Hayward and Earl Watson are part of the rotation, with Okur working his way back.
Sloan is one of the league's best and his system has stood the test of time for two decades. Has held the Jazz at the top of the Northwest through injuries and changes.
Utah is on its way to another playoff appearance, and possible division title, thanks to the dominating play of Williams. Sure, Millsap and Jefferson have provided a solid presence down low, but D-Will carries the Jazz just about every night.
Despite being the playmaker, Williams has led the team in scoring in more than half of its games. Staying healthy is going to be key in the second half, since Williams' rugged style tends to get him banged up as the season goes on.
If Okur can get back to his usual productive self, the Jazz frontline gets even bigger and more productive. Utah isn't particularly deep, but Sloan manages to spread the minutes around. And the team's offensive execution -- among the top 10 in the league -- helps make up for its sketchy defense.
-- Art Garcia
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||C-|
|Los Angeles Clippers||C-|
|Los Angeles Lakers||B+|
|New Jersey Nets||D|
|New Orleans Hornets||B-|
|New York Knicks||B|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||B|
|Portland Trail Blazers||C+|
|San Antonio Spurs||A|