On Inside the NBA on Thursday night, Charles Barkley said he believes the Jazz can win a championship. "We have given the Jazz no respect," Barkley said. In response to Barkley's statement, Kenny Smith asked Barkley about Utah's ceiling. "I think the Utah Jazz can with the championship," Barkley said.
Barkley continued, "They have the coach of the year, they have two all-stars, they've got the sixth man of the year...they would have beat Denver last year if Bogdanovic would have played."
Kenny Smith and Shaq disagreed with Barkley, stating the Jazz are not proven in the playoffs. "Proven commodities usually win in the league...I have never seen a team come out of nowhere and win the championship." Smith said.
Shaq added, "The next step after that (having the best record in the league) is getting past the second round."
Smith concluded, "You go from first-round knockout to championship? That's the hold up."
You can listen to the full conversation here:
The Jazz held a 3-1 lead over the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs last year before they lost in seven games. As Barkley mentioned, the Jazz were without one of their top scorers in Bojan Bogdanovic, and Mike Conley missed part of the series when he attended the birth of his child.
In 2018 and 2019, the Jazz were eliminated from the playoffs by James Harden and the Houston Rockets - once in the first round and once in the second round.
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