It’s no secret that for the 2019-20 NBA season, Utah Jazz fans had extremely high hopes and expectations. Coming off of back-to-back playoff appearances led by a godsend — the beloved Donovan Mitchell — excitement had already been growing.
But the 2019 offseason took the excitement to the next level, we’re talking as close to the excitement from the Stockton and Malone days as you can get, as the Utah Jazz traded for veteran guard Mike Conley and signed free agent forward Bojan Bogdanović.
With these new additions, the Utah Jazz provided their young star with extra help and firepower in order to improve their offense and attempt to better contend for a title. Before COVID-19 temporarily paused the season, the Jazz and their new squad were able to reach a 41-23 record — No. 4 in the West — and all along the way create some truly remarkable highlight plays.
Here are my top 5 Utah Jazz moments up until the suspension of the season in March:
5. Donovan Mitchell Posterizes Nicolo Melli
It wouldn’t be a list of top Jazz plays without a high flying dunk from the one and only “Spida” Mitchell. Against the New Orleans Pelicans, Donovan Mitchell took flight as his teammate Joe Ingles sent a mediocre pass towards the rim. In high flying fashion, Mitchell snagged the ball in mid-flight and threw it down on Pelicans’ big man Nicolo Melli. Following the dunk, Mitchell starred right at Melli as he knew he had taken his soul at the rim. Is it just me or is Mitchell always making Ingles look good?
4. Mike Conley Goes Off For 29 Against Clippers
Mike Conley was likely the most talked about addition for the Jazz in the offseason. Analysts and fans everywhere were talking about how much better Conley would make Mitchell and the Jazz, even to the point of being a title contender. However, Conley had a rough start to the season as he began shooting nine for his first 45 shots. That was until the Clippers came to town and Conley was back to his old self. The man could not miss from deep as he hit five shots from deep and had a season high 29 leading the Jazz to a 110-96 victory.
3. Gobert Seals Victory Over The Mavericks With Game Saving Block
This game was an absolute classic from the tip-off. Both teams showed up to play and the score was close for the entire 48 minutes. While the Mavericks led for the majority of the game, the Jazz would not be denied a win in front of their home crowd. With back and forth play during the fourth quarter, the Jazz finally took a two-point lead with a three from Royce O’Neale with 37.5 seconds left in the game. But the biggest play of the contest was on the ensuing play from the two-time defensive player of the year, Rudy Gobert. Mavericks guard Delon Wright faked a shot from the top of the three-point line and then made a B-line for the basket. While Gobert initially bit on the shot fake, he turned around, chased down Wright, and slapped the basketball off the backboard, denying the shot and sealing the game. The Jazz would go on to beat the Mavericks 112-107.
2. Bogdanović Beats The Buzzer For The Win
For whatever reason, the Utah Jazz has struggled to consistently beat the Houston Rockets in the James Harden era. The Rockets have ended the Jazz’s season for the last two years as Harden and his questionable step-back threes have been their kryptonite in the playoffs. While the game this season went back and forth, the Jazz had a one-point lead with 15 seconds left in regulation. Of course, the Rockets would hit a three-pointer, courtesy of P.J. Tucker, with 1.6 seconds remaining and take a two-point lead.
But the Jazz was about to be shown why Bojan Bogdanović was the most underrated free agent signing of the 2019 offseason. On the ensuing play, Bogdanović caught the ball at the top of the three-point line and while being doubled by both Tucker and Harden, throws up a prayer and at the buzzer swishes a three for the win. In response, Tucker just sat down, but rest assured all of the Jazz nation was standing up.
1. Bogdanović Beats The Buzzer For The Win…AGAIN!
No question that Giannis Antetokounmpo is deserving of his nickname, the “Greek Freak.” The man is 6’11 with a 7’3 wingspan and possesses an athleticism that is borderline unfair. However, in their first matchup against the Bucks, the Jazz did a pretty good job containing Antetokounmpo and company as they led with a score of 55-35 after two quarters. But the Bucks came back strong as they would outscore the Jazz 39-26 in the third quarter. The Jazz also blew an eight-point lead with a minute remaining as the Bucks tied the game up at 100. But with 1.3 seconds remaining that 7’3 wingspan couldn’t reach Bojan Bogdanović in the corner as he put up a three and swished it home. The crowd went wild as the shot went down and I think it’s safe to say everyone’s favorite player that night was Bogdanović, but just for the night — no need to worry Donovan Mitchell.