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Donovan Mitchell calls out his entire team after an embarrassing loss “We’re fooling ourselves saying we want to win a championship”


I thought I didn't see right when the final score said the Pistons beat the Jazz 126-116. Jazz star Donovan Michell took the gloves off after this embarrassing loss that confirmed what many analysts said - Rudy Gobert is not the problem; he's the solution.

No sense of urgency

The Jazz were the last COVID-free team in the NBA, and that too has come to an end. Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles, Rudy Gay, and Elijah Huges are in COVID protocol. The loss against the Pistons is mostly a result of no effort and a sense of urgency on their side. It seems like the players mentally logged the Ls to COVID absences, but Donovan Mitchell is having none of that.

For several years now, the Utah Jazz are the "show me in the playoffs" team. Basically, since Mitchell is in town, making the postseason is not a question anymore. We want to see them make it in the playoffs. While conventional NBA thinking is that they should rest and load manage to be fresh and ready come April, May, and June, Mitchell is pushing his team in another direction.

The loss to the Pistons highlighted a systemic problem with the Jazz. After flaming out for a few years because their offense couldn't keep up, the Jazz shifted their team construction from defense to offense. Rubio and Crowder were swapped with Conley and Bogdanović.

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They are now the best offense in the NBA, and Gobert is tasked to clean up on defense. Since he's been out due to COVID, the Utah Jazz have conceded 120.5 points per game. With Rudy, they were conceding 106.0. This proves the narrative about last year's meltdown against the Clippers was false - it wasn't Gobert's fault.

Perimeter defense

Last year's loss to the Clippers was a low-key meltdown, and Rudy Gobert got most of the blame for it. Quin Snyder stuck to his defensive schemes while the Clippers were attacking the rim, either making a layup or sending an outlet pass to a man on the perimeter.

It seemed like Gobert was a man out of place, but the truth is the Jazz perimeter defense let him down. The French center cleans up a lot of defensive mistakes made by his teammates, but the Jazz defense on the perimeter was so horrible, it was even too much for him.

Most people seem to think the pendulum has swung too much in favor of the offense. Mitchell and Bogdanović can be better with effort. They don't need to become Tony Allen and Kawhi Leonard; just average will do. Mike Conley and Joe Ingles are more limited, and that's probably why they are most often mentioned as a foundation for a trade that would get the most coveted kind of player in Utah - a 3&D guy.

Those guys are hard to find, and Mitchel and Ingles wouldn't be enough for a real 3&D guy. Mitchell seems to get it and understands the Jazz recipe to success is being a dominant offensive force while managing defensive deficiencies with effort.

Let's see if Danny Ainge (you forgot he was there, didn't you) can help the front office make moves that make their defensive struggles a bit easier to endure. And as much as screen assists are annoying, it's time to recognize the impact Rudy Gobert has on defense. Give the man the credit he deserves.

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