Report: NBA insiders don’t see Jazz on same level as Lakers, Clippers and Nets due to lack of proven star power

Brad Sullivan
3 Min Read

ESPN’s Tim MacMahon indicated that while the Utah Jazz may have won 25 of their first 31 games, the lack of perceived star power puts them behind other top teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers.

“One of the primary reasons skepticism about the Jazz persists among rival scouts and executives is because they lack proven star power that the Lakers, LA Clippers and Eastern Conference favorite Brooklyn Nets feature,” MacMahon wrote.

“Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell and center Rudy Gobert, who are harmonious and happy after ironing out chemistry issues prior to the bubble and signing lucrative, long-term contract extensions before training camp, unquestionably form one of the NBA’s best duos. Mitchell is a dynamic scorer and developing playmaker who has demonstrated he can rise to the occasion on the playoff stage, while Gobert is recognized as the NBA’s most dominant defensive presence and is a critical cog of the Utah offense as a screener, roller, finisher and rebounder.

“But Utah’s star pairing isn’t perceived by league insiders to be on the same level as LeBron James and Anthony Davis, as [Kawhi] Leonard and Paul George or as Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving. In the NBA, star power wins playoff series — with some exceptions.

The Jazz do have one of the NBA’s top guards in Mitchell and a standout center in Gobert, but they have also had strong regular seasons in the past only to fall short once the postseason arrives.

At 25-6 on the season, the Jazz are three games ahead of the Clippers and lead the Los Angeles Lakers by 3.5 games, with the Phoenix Suns next at 4.5 games behind.

Like last year, the Lakers and Clippers are expected to strongly compete for the Western Conference title, and they both remain within striking distance of the Jazz.

The Lakers are currently without the services of Davis and don’t figure to get him back anytime soon, an issue that could have a major impact on their efforts to repeat as league champions.

On Wednesday night, the Lakers will have the opportunity to see how well they match up against the Jazz without Davis when the two teams meet on the Jazz’s home court.

While Utah has the edge in Wednesday’s contest, the regular season and postseason are two entirely different circumstances. That’s why there remains plenty of reluctance in making the Jazz the favorites to win the 2021 NBA title.

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Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.