Two teams sitting at 13-10 couldn't be any different. The Utah Jazz and the Brooklyn Nets both have dreams of improving on their play from last season.
Both teams suffered first round exits in five games. Both teams made a lot of splashy moves during the offseason to bolster their roster. And both teams have coaches with really greasy hair.
But one team should clearly be better than the other, but their records haven't reflected such opinion thus far.
Who Sucks Less? Utah Jazz or Brooklyn Nets
The Utah Jazz have had the blessing of health throughout this young season. Like with any team that adds new pieces, it will take some time to get everyone to play well together.
But there is cause for concern as Mike Conley has yet to show that he can return to his All-Star form. Over the past couple of seasons, he has suffered injuries that have slowed him down. But with one of the most talented roster he's had in a while, you'd think the game would come easier to him.
Conley has never had a season where he shot worse than 42% and this season he is shooting an abysmal 37% from the field. He's forcing less turnovers than ever. He's averaging just 4.6 assists per game, which he hasn't done since his first two seasons of his career.
It's pretty clear to see what is slowing the Jazz down, and keeping them from being more successful. Now it is still very early in the season, but it's still alarming.
The Jazz still have a top ten defense thanks to Rudy Gobert in terms of opponents field goal percentage and points allowed per game. But they are bottom of the league in turnovers forced, which has made it hard for them to get easy points.
The Brooklyn Nets couldn't have had things go much worse for them so far this season in terms of health. They came into the season knowing they would be without Kevin Durant. But they didn't expect their next two best players in Kyrie Irving and Karis Lavert to miss significant time with injuries.
Yet, while being decimated by injuries, they have found a way to win nine of their last twelve games. Much of it has had to do with their interior defense.
Since November 16th (first game without Irving and Lavert) the Brooklyn Nets are 3rd in field goal percentage allowed within 9 feet of the basket. Holding their opponents to just 56% from 0-5 feet and an incredible 26% from 5-9 feet.
Guys like Taurean Prince and Garrett Temple have both seen in increase in minutes, and have played well in their roles. Efficiency has been the key for Prince, who is shooting 40% from the field as well as the three. And Temple is 5th in the NBA in total blocks amongst guards since November 16th.
The narrative has been that the Nets are playing better without Kyrie because he's not playing. But the offensive stats prove otherwise. Their scoring, assists, field goal percentage and points off of turnovers are all down since his absence.
People can continue to downplay Kyrie and label him whatever they want. But the fact of the matter is, he raises the ceiling for this Nets team.
So Who Sucks Less?
We have one team in the Utah Jazz trending in the wrong the direction with a fully healthy squad.
And we have the Brooklyn Nets trending in the right direction while being hit with the injury bug.
At this time, I'll say that the Utah Jazz still suck less, even though things haven't been looking great.
They could easily go 7-3 over their next ten games and find themselves all the way up to the 2 seed in the Western Conference. Their top ranked defense will carry them throughout the season, and will eventually wear teams down.
So congratulations Utah Jazz, you suck less than the Brooklyn Nets!
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