Jazz's 'Psyche Is an Issue' Ahead of Mavs Playoff Series, NBA Scout Says

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 12, 2022

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 27: The Utah Jazz huddle up during the game against the Dallas Mavericks on March 27, 2022 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

In the view of one NBA scout, the Utah Jazz may not be mentally ready for the 2022 NBA playoffs ahead of their first-round matchup with the Dallas Mavericks.

"Utah's psyche is an issue," the anonymous scout told The Athletic's Josh Robbins. "They've lost a lot of leads in the fourth quarter recently. So the Jazz might be the better team, but I'm not sure they have the mindset at the current time. There seem to be some issues there."

The Jazz lost five games in a row in late March. The nadir of that span came when Utah was outscored 39-21 in the fourth quarter and lost 121-115 to the Los Angeles Clippers.

That collapse was part of a larger trend. Since the All-Star break, here's where the Jazz rank in net rating by quarter, per NBA.com:

One of those figures is not like the others.

Across the entire season, Utah is ninth in net rating (2.7) in the fourth quarter, making the last few months even more inexplicable.

And the scout didn't even reference the questions that have emerged regarding the relationship between Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.

Because he apparently hasn't heard of the Streisand Effect, head coach Quin Snyder saw fit to speak for nearly 20 minutes to play down any friction in the Mitchell-Gobert dynamic. That probably turned the situation into a bigger story.

ESPN's Tim MacMahon and Brian Windhorst said in February on the Hoop Collective podcast (via RealGM) that things are "back to being passively aggressively awkward" and Mitchell and Gobert "are under each other's skin."

Gobert addressed the rumors last week on NBA Today, saying, "People are looking for anything they can find to just try to divide us."


Rudy Gobert spoke to <a href="https://twitter.com/malika_andrews?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@malika_andrews</a> about his relationship with Donovan Mitchell:<br><br>“There’s always going to be noise. … People are looking for anything they can find to just try and divide us. … We both have the same goal to win a championship here.” <a href="https://t.co/865ZlTmPps">pic.twitter.com/865ZlTmPps</a>

Still, this is not exactly the kind of fire a team wants to be putting out on the eve of the postseason.

Going on a deep run in the playoffs would be the easiest way for the Jazz to silence all the skeptics. Should Utah fail to get past the conference semifinals for the sixth straight year, the drama might only be beginning in Salt Lake City.