The Utah Jazz haven't made the playoffs since 2011-12, a season shortened by the lockout. Flash forward five years and the team has turned everything around under head coach Quin Snyder. They won the Northwest Division with a record of 51-31, the winningest record of the organization since 2012-13 when Al Jefferson had the reigns.
The Jazz look brand new and are poised for excellence so long as they keep the roster they have intact.
Gordon Hayward, though not alone, has been the saving grace for the Jazz. He received his first All-Star honors this season, and rightfully so. Hayward's been averaging 21.7 points, 3.5 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game on a slash line of 46.3 percent shooting from the field, 38.9 percent from three-point range, and 84.4 percent from the free-throw line. His points and rebounds average are career-highs.
Hayward has been a scoring nightmare all year long, and his assist numbers have dropped slightly due to the addition of George Hill. Hill is only averaging 4.1 assists per game himself, but his usage rate is up to 23.7 percent, nearly equivalent to his best year on the Indiana Pacers, via NBA.com/Stats. That being said, the ball has been more in Hill's hands than in Hayward's, allowing each to play to their strengths. Hill, though facing a few injuries throughout the year, is averaging a career-best 16.9 points per game and bringing a powerful tempo to the Jazz backcourt. He's one of the tallest point guards the team has had, which added a good source of offensive and defensive elements.
Rudy Gobert, too, has outdone himself this year. The fourth-year center has season averages of 13.9 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game, all are career-high figures. There can be a case made that he's in the running for Most Improved and Defensive Player of the Year, both astounding accolades that he could add to his young career. He's played a healthy amount of games in a healthy amount of minutes per, and he continues to impress. The Jazz have Gobert secured until 2020-21 on an increasing, back-end contract. We should be seeing some more quality seasons from Gobert in the coming years.
Lowlights of the Jazz's Season
Favors has only started in 39 games, playing a measly 24.1 minutes per outing. It goes without saying that it's been a down year for Favors, but he doesn't have to worry much about his performance. Gobert picked up much of the slack in his absence, and other big men on the team have covered for Favors to some extent.
Hood has been largely ineffective for the Jazz himself. He's appeared in only 56 games, averaging 12.9 points per game, 1.6 points less than last season. The third-year guard showed signs of decline this year, albeit in an injury-plagued campaign.
Both players, though, have the opportunity to step up in playoffs especially in their first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, so long as they're healthy. They should still be integral cogs to the Jazz's machine in coming seasons.