When the 2022-2023 season began, it was all but assumed that the Utah Jazz would be one of the teams joining the San Antonio Spurs in the tankathon for Victor Wembanyama.
And yet, here we are near the end of the season, and the Jazz and Spurs are in very different positions. Eschewing the full-on tank, the Jazz have one of the ten worst records in the league, while the Spurs have maxed out their Wembanyama odds with the 3rd worst record and net rating that may go down as the worst in NBA history.
The result is two very different paths to the lottery, and only time will tell which team’s efforts will be rewarded accordingly.
The Jazz appear to have beginnings of a young core in Walker Kessler and Lauri Markkanen, and might have found themselves in 45 win territory had Jazz brass and crafty overlord Danny Ainge not decided to collect assets and head for the tank after the trade deadline.
The Spurs on the other hand heading for the tank after the first week of games, obscuring exactly what their true competitive level is for now.
In any case, this looks be a game that neither team is particularly interested in winning. It’s arguable that the Jazz need to lose more than the Spurs, as there’s still room for them the improve their losing prospects a little bit, and the Spurs are all but locked into a bottom 3rd record.
However, with the Spurs sidelining a number of contributors in this one, they might prove impossible to out-tank for the newly dedicated Jazz. One thing’s for sure, one of these two teams is about to end their four game losing streak. The question is, will either one of them be happy about it?
Utah Jazz at San Antonio Spurs
March 29th, 2023 | 7:00 PM CT
Watch: Bally Sports Southwest|Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)
Spurs Injuries: Jeremy Sochan - Out (Knee), Khem Birch - Out (Knee), Devin Vassell - Out (Knee), Keldon Johnson - Out (Foot), Charles Bassey - Out (Knee)
Jazz Injuries: Colin Sexton - Out (Hamstring), Rudy Gay - Out (Back), Jordan Clarkson - Out (Finger), Simone Fontecchio - Questionable (Toe), Lauri Markkanen - Questionable (Hand)
For the Jazz’s fans’ perspective, visit SLC Dunk.
PtR’s Game thread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR’s Twitter feed.