It was announced last week that Utah Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder will be the coaching representative for the Western Conference All-Stars. This is great news for Jazz Faithful. Unfortunately, there was some unwelcome news that also made itself known last week. The league leading Utah Jazz won't have any of its players represent the team as starters in the All-Star Game. Don't fret though Jazz fans, just because they're not starting doesn't mean they wont play and have meaningful minutes in the game.
The announcement for the reserve All-Stars will be made tonight at 5pm MST on TNT. Although people like TNT's own Charles Barkley felt like the Jazz deserved at least one All-Star starter, many others believe that there should be multiple Jazzmen represent the team as reserves in the All-Star Game.
So how many Jazz players should represent the team in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game? Below are some national publications and their predictions on that very question.
In USA Today's article published on the morning of February 22, Jeff Zillgitt and Mark Medina predicted that only two players from the Utah Jazz would make the team. Donovan Mitchell in the backcourt, and Rudy Gobert in the frontcourt.
On Donovan Mitchell: "I voted for Mitchell as a starter since he represents a significant reason why the Utah Jazz (24-6) have the Western Conference’s best record. There’s no question coaches will vote Mitchell as a reserve. He is on pace to finish this season with a career-high in points (24.6). His coaches and teammates have also praised Mitchell for his improved decision making and leadership."
On Rudy Gobert: "Gobert has cemented himself as a favorite to win his third NBA Defensive Player of the Year award. Gobert ranks second in the NBA in blocks (2.7) and third in rebounds (13.4). He has also overseen a Jazz defense that ranks second in defensive rating (107.3), which are the amount of points allowed per 100 possessions."
It was unanimous in the voting of each of the four writers that two of Utah's finest would represent the team in Atlanta. Once again, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert's names read straight across the board as locks for a reserve spot on the team.
Although two of the three Jazz players that Washington Post writer Ben Golliver put in the reserve squad are in the 'Wild Card', there are still three Jazz players listed in his article. Three would be great for the Jazz to get to the All Star Game, especially when one of which has never made it to this stage before.
First, Rudy Gobert in the frontcourt. "Utah’s run to the top of the West standings makes Gobert an automatic pick. The two-time defensive player of the year might very well win the award again this season. He is leading the NBA’s second-best defense with exceptional shot-blocking, rebounding and positioning."
Second, Donovan Mitchell as a Wildcard: "Mitchell, 24, has done a masterful job of balancing his scoring ability with a commitment to the team concept, allowing Utah to unleash a devastating and balanced three-point attack that has overwhelmed opponents."
Third, Mike Conley as a Wildcard: "He missed six games this month because of injury, and his box score stats (16.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 5.6 APG) don’t exactly scream Big Three star. Although some might argue his case on sentimental reasons because he’s never made an all-star team, Conley gets the nod here because of his central role on the league’s most consistent team. The Jazz doesn’t rank in the top five in both offense and defense without Conley’s dedication, intelligence, unselfishness and poise, which are reflected in his league-leading plus-minus."
Jordan Greer with Sporting News showed Jazz fans what they were hoping to see, adding three players to the reserve roster list for the 2021 All-Star Game. Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert received his vote as locks for backcourt and frontcourt reserves, while Mike Conley made an appearance on his list as a wildcard.
What do we think? Well, were split on our opinions.
Brayden Ramsay: 3 - Donovan Mitchell (Backcourt), Rudy Gobert (Frontcourt), and Mike Conley (Wild Card). "Mitchell and Gobert are locks due to their overall dominance for the Jazz this season. Conley sneaks in over Chris Paul giving him his first ever NBA All-Star selection."
Casey Lundquist: 2 - Donovan Mitchell (Backcourt) and Rudy Gobert (Frontcourt). "I think CP3 gets the nod over Conley. I'd love to be wrong though."
Griffin Kerr: 2 - Donovan Mitchell (Backcourt) and Rudy Gobert (Frontcourt). "Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert for sure. Considering how well the Suns have played over the last two weeks, combined with Chris Paul's famous-ness, and Conley's injury - I think it's tough odds for Conley."
Tune in to TNT's NBA Tip-off tonight at 5PM MST to watch the selection show for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game. Afterwards, find your way back to Inside the Jazz on SI.com for our reaction to the announcements.
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