Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer looks at why the Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Pelicans are better than their records.
Talking about the Jazz, O’Connor writes, “But don’t be fooled by their wins and losses: Utah’s near-.500 record is a ruse. The Jazz have the NBA’s second-best defensive rating (98.7) and are anchored by Rudy Gobert, the league’s best rim protector. They have the fifth-best net rating (plus-5.3), which is a better indicator for predicting success. Over the past 10 nonlockout seasons, the 36 teams with a net rating between four and six finished with an average of 53 wins, and only three had fewer than 50. The historical chances of the Jazz failing to hit the 50-win mark are slim.”