Sunday, June 4 2023
Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) celebrates with Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) after his game-winning free throw in overtime during an NBA game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Feb. 23, 2023.

Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) celebrates with Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) after his game-winning free throw in overtime during an NBA game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Feb. 23, 2023. | Ryan Sun, Deseret News

As we head down the home stretch of the season, the Utah Jazz have a shot to make the NBA playoffs.

Projected to be one of the worst teams in the NBA by oddsmakers — Utah’s preseason win total was set at 23.5 — the Jazz have surprised just about everyone this season.

Led by Lauri Markkanen and Walker Kessler, Utah has blown past that projected win total.

Despite trading away Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert in the offseason, plus trading Mike Conley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Malik Beasley at the February trade deadline, the Jazz have a chance to make the NBA play-in tournament — or the NBA playoffs, if they get a No. 6 seed or higher.

As of Thursday, the Jazz are in 12th place in the Western Conference standings, 2 games out of play-in position.

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Teams 1-6 in the conference standings make the playoffs, and teams 7-10 in the conference standings play in the play-in tournament to earn the final two spots in each conference for the NBA playoffs.

If the season ended today, here is what the Western Conference playoffs would look like.

This story is updated nightly.

1. Denver Nuggets

2. Memphis Grizzlies — 3.5 games back of No. 1 spot

3. Sacramento Kings — 5.5 games back

4. Phoenix Suns — 10.5 games back

5. Los Angeles Clippers — 11 games back

6. Golden State Warriors — 12 games back

7. Minnesota Timberwolves — 13 games back

8. Los Angeles Lakers — 13.5 games back

9. New Orleans Pelicans — 13.5 games back

10. Oklahoma City Thunder— 14 games back

Source: Yahoo Sports

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