NBA Western Power Rankings Week 3: Warriors storm ahead

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Nov 15, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) and forward Derrick Favors (15) react after defeating the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. The Jazz defeated the Hawks 97-96. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

6th: Utah Jazz (40 points)

By Tom West

Record: 5-5

Record last week: 1-3

If the Jazz could score, they’d be one of the most challenging teams in the NBA. As of right now, though, it’s their defense that’s taken them to 6th place in our West power rankings. With Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors they have a seriously intimidating frontcourt which has become the staple of their defense.

They surrender relatively high percentages from the perimeter, but the way they lockdown the paint forces opponents to take tougher shots. They hold other teams to a league best 50.9 percent shooting within five feet, which is hardly going to cause anyone to find success if they can barely make half their layup attempts. As a result, they rank 6th in the NBA in defensive rating, which has dropped slightly after allowing 118 points in a loss to the Cavaliers last week.

With someone who could consistently go out and get 20 points a night, the Jazz would be a far better team. While Trey Burke is a fine young player, they still don’t have a top point guard to run the show on offense. As for Favors and Gordon Haywood, they just aren’t quite on the level of being players who can take on a major scoring role to carry the team at that end of the floor. Instead, Utah are relying on a reasonable input from a host of limited offensive players and not many great shooters, which hasn’t been working out for them yet this season. They just can’t keep up with top teams by only scoring 95.5 points per game.

It’s the fact they’ve been so forceful defensively, though, and that they only lost to the Cavaliers by four points and the Heat by one last week, that the Jazz just hold onto the 6th spot. But as you can see by our point system, the Suns were very close behind after reaching 6-4.

Next: Los Angeles Clippers