Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
SALT LAKE CITY — After a 4-1 first round exit from the playoffs, it's easy to label the Utah Jazz's season as a failure.
After advancing to the second round last season and having continuity going into this season, the Jazz had high expectations. Some contended the Jazz would be the second or third best team in the west this season.
But after surviving a difficult early-season schedule, the Jazz got hot at the end of the season, winning 13 of their final 16 regular season games and grabbed the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference for the third straight season.
Going into the final two days of the season, it seemed as if the most likely first-round opponent for the Jazz would be the Portland Trail Blazers, a fairly favorable matchup for Utah. However, the dominoes just happened to fall in a much more difficult direction as the Houston Rockets fell to the No. 4 seed.
The matchup with the Rockets proved to be an unfortunate one, and a quick five game series eliminated the Jazz's hopes of contending for a Western Conference title.
On the surface, a 4-1 first round exit for the Jazz seems like a disappointment, and while there may be some merit to that, a 50-win season and a hard fought series against a great Houston team is nothing to mope about.
In celebration and review of another solid Jazz season, here's a look back at the numbers and stats that defined the 2018-19 season for the Utah Jazz.
50: Wins in the regular season - The Jazz won 50 regular season games for the second time in three seasons, a feat which only three other teams have achieved recently. Despite a slow start and a difficult early schedule, the Jazz managed to hit the half-century mark in the most important stat: wins.
105.2: Defensive rating - The Jazz only allowed 105.2 points per 100 possessions throughout the regular season, the second best mark in the NBA. Due to the difficult schedule to begin the season, it seemed as though the Jazz's defensive identity may not be as strong as expected; but as the season went on, the Jazz once again proved they are as good as any team on the defensive end of the floor. Led by last season's Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, Utah was one of the most feared teams in the league on a night-by-night basis.
5.0: Net rating - Offensive points per 100 possessions minus points allowed per 100 possessions. While the Jazz finished fifth in the West and eighth overall in wins, the Jazz have an argument they were the fourth best team in the regular season due to their net rating. Their 5.0 net rating only fell behind the Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors. A stout, tough defense was backed by a fairly efficient offence, making the Jazz one of the top teams in the league in efficiency.
64.4: Assist percentage - 64.4 percent of the Jazz's field goals made were assisted on, the fourth best mark in the NBA. While the Jazz may have the identity of a great defensive team, they showed they have some of the best ball movement and offensive strategy in the league.
3.3: Points per game increase, Donovan Mitchell - Last season, Donovan Mitchell burst onto the scene as one of the best, if not the best, rookies in the NBA, and one of the better young scorers in the league. The rookie shouldered the scoring load for a competitive playoff team and did it again his second season in the league, increasing his scoring average by 3.3 points per game. While at times his field goal percentage suffered, Mitchell still proved that he is a bonafide scorer. If the Jazz can land another playmaker or two this offseason, Mitchell's efficiency and resulting scoring average could continue to improve at an incredible rate.
137, 25.5, 110, 24: Jazz playoff shooting woes - The Jazz shot 137 catch-and-shoot threes in their series against the Rockets. On these attempts, they only shot 25.5 percent. Ghastly. To top that, they attempted 110 wide open threes, defined as an attempt with no defender within 6 feet. On these, the Jazz shot a horrendous 24 percent. If that doesn't drop your jaw, who knows what will. Knocking down just a few more of these shots would have made the series much more interesting.
39.8: Projected max salary cap heading into next season - If the Jazz are going to raise their ceiling, they will need to make some changes on the roster, particularly in the field of playmaking. If the Jazz don't pick up Derrick Favors' contract option of $16.9 million and they renounce the rights of Ricky Rubio, with the potential retirement of Kyle Korver, the Jazz could have potential cap space of nearly $40 million. That figure is more likely to be around $25-30 million, which could be just enough to try and lure a big name free agent to Salt Lake City to pair with Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. Names like Kemba Walker and Tobias Harris are among the targets that many believe the Jazz should try to bring in. If the Jazz can create enough cap space and land a big name, fans could very likely still be watching the Jazz on TV this time next season.