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  • Stephen A.

  • I asked you, Who do you say was the most impressive team thus far?

  • I would have to, uh, in all honesty say to Utah Jazz simply because we didn't see them coming.

  • Remember, even though it was an incredible playoff series that they had against the Denver Nuggets, that once that went seven games, Uh, even though they surrendered a 31 lead, If I remember correctly, and Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray just put on a show for the ages, and the one thing we lamented about it is that was in the first round instead of the conference finals or an NBA Finals.

  • The bottom line is the Utah Jazz went home in the first round, even though it was bubble play.

  • That's still what happened when you look at this team you've always known as a quality team because I happen to believe that Quin Snyder is an exceptional coach and his staff does an exceptional job, but they're good enough to be interesting.

  • They're good enough to get to the postseason, and then, uh, they're just not good enough to extend them this season beyond the first round of the playoffs.

  • You don't get that impression now.

  • There were 27 9 or so, uh, their top five defensive team, their top five offensive team that are leading three point shooting team in the entire National Basketball Association.

  • They share the basketball, their selfless.

  • They trust one another.

  • They moved to basketball.

  • They play together, they play unselfishly.

  • Uh, they play defense.

  • You've got defense on the perimeter and Roy so near You got defense on the interior and Rudy Gobert whenever he's not going up against Joe L and B, and then everybody else seems to matriculate to the circumstances and ultimately end up handling their business collectively.

  • In the end, the Utah Jazz give you every impression that you you are going to have to deal with them, that the road to the finals is going to have to go through Utah.

  • It's gonna have to go through Salt Lake City.

  • It's not going through the Los Angeles per se unless Anthony Davis finds a way to get himself 100% healthy.

  • I don't think any of us saw that coming.

  • We suspected it would be Denver with the Joker and Jamal Murray.

  • We wondered aloud whether or not it would be the Clippers redeeming themselves after collapsing against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals.

  • We even entertain the possibility of Portland because of C.

  • J.

  • McCollum and Damian Lillard, along with adding Covington, uh, to the crew, assuming a healthy Nurkic would be there.

  • And, of course, Carmelo Anthony making his contribution.

  • We didn't see the Utah Jazz coming like this, but they have arrived.

  • They put the basketball world on notice, and now they've got a chip on their shoulders to first it was the officials, and now it's LeBron James.

  • And I'm laughing on television last night about how I'm sorry.

  • It's Utah.

  • Those are great players, and you respect them.

  • But it's Utah.

  • You're always gonna pick them last.

  • Even when Karl Malone and John Stockton were playing, you're always gonna pick them last.

  • These are the kind of things that will motivate them, and I think we need to keep our eyes on them and keep it strong.

  • Watching them even a what's the phrase you use when describing Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in the backcourt the greatest Well, Steph Curry said.

  • He's the greatest shooter ever created by by God He's the greatest shooting, all of mankind.

  • And when it comes to those two, I say it's the greatest shooting backcourt in the history of basketball.

  • Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and James Harden are the greatest offense ever created in the history of basketball.

  • Everything you say about the backcourt in Golden State applies to these guys on offense.

  • And Joe Harris is one of the best three shooters in the NBA, is an historically great outside shooters and always got to worry about his shooting.

  • This next team has been the most impressive by far.

  • Houston, Utah has been impressed.

  • The Lakers, until Eddie went down, were impressed.

  • Clippers have been impressive.

  • This Brooklyn Nets team is the most impressive by far.

  • When they made the trade for Harden, the Lakers weren't sweating it.

  • They were asking Lakers players.

  • Lakers fans are like, Yeah, we're okay and none of us will go now.

  • You know the Lakers have something to worry about, But let's just be honest right now.

  • If you put everyone on a lie detector test right now in the NBA and said who's going to win the chip?

  • The Nets would be overwhelming favorites at this point, people are saying the Lakers out of respect for the defending champs out of the idea that when a D gets back, they're different.

  • They have size.

  • They have defense.

  • The way this Brooklyn Nets team has played together has outstripped even the very high expectations.

  • They even got the defense together.

  • Remember, it was the worst defensive efficiency in the history of basketball, those first bunch of games in the history of basketball.

  • And now they're mid pack.

  • They went on a West Coast road trip, by the way, with two of their three guys, and blew through the West Coast, blew through the Western Conference, the best teams in the Western Conference, and they haven't even been even if they had all their guys, they've only played, what, five games together, all the big three.

  • You haven't had a chance to develop chemistry and getting a rhythm.

  • Yet this Nets team, the fact that they've already done what they've done, and let's be honest, the key to it is Kyrie and Harden existing coexisting in the backcourt.

  • They've done an amazing job.

  • This Nets team is already the most impressive team in the NBA there, the scariest team in the NBA.

  • They are going to have the greatest offense in the history of American team sports by far by the end of this season.

  • And the answer is the Brooklyn Nets.

  • Well, I would say this to you, Max Kellerman.

  • I'm not refuting anything about how potent offenses remember I have.

  • The Brooklyn Nets is the favorite to win it all.

  • Let's be very, very clear about that.

  • I'm not refuting that, but to answer the question directly in terms of most impressive team of the NBA's first half, it was a roller coaster ride.

  • First they started off and they were struggling miserably defensively.

  • Uh, Kyrie skipped some games because he, you know, needed his break.

  • Uh, James Harden arrived there about 9 10 games in after what was going on in Houston.

  • Kevin Durant was healthy, but then Covid came in and then he came back, and then another covid incident.

  • And then he came back.

  • And then there was the hamstring injury.

  • So what I'm saying to you is that yeah, they're managing to go on a winning streak now.

  • There.

  • Within a half game of the Philadelphia 76 they won 10 of their last 11 games, James Harden is a leading candidate for league MVP.

  • Honest, all of this stuff is going on.

  • But in terms of most impressive team, I'm thinking from start to the All Star break models of consistency, very little drama, just consistent performances of excellence.

  • I'm saying when you look at the Utah Jazz thus far, that doesn't mean they're gonna win the chip.

  • But when you look at them thus far, they are clearly the most impressive team because they've shocked the basketball world thus far with what they've done, and they've been models of consistency doing it, and they've done it in a way that's been devoid of the quote unquote creme de la creme superstar.

  • They just play together and they play the right way on both ends of the floor, Night in, night out.

  • I got to give credit where credit is due.

  • In that regard.

  • Thanks for watching ESPN on YouTube for live streaming sports and premium content.

Stephen A.

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The road to the NBA Finals will go through the Utah Jazz - Stephen A. is impressed | First Take

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/03/05
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