Indiana at Utah
Time: 8 PM CT, NBA LP
Spread: UTA -4.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Utah Jazz have lost seven of their past 10, and are now 17-25 on the season, trailing No. 8 Denver by 4.5 games for the final spot in the West. Utah is 13-7 at home. It will host the Indiana Pacers as 4.5-point favorites in NBA Action 8 PM (CT) on NBA League Pass Monday night.
The over/under is set at 207.5 points, a reflection of Utah’s defensive prowess, as Utah holds teams to 101.7 points per game this season.
Utah has basically changed its entire attack without Rudy Gobert available. The Jazz, instead, now are playing a faster pace to utilize the skills of rookie Donovan Mitchell. He had 35 points and five rebounds on 10 of 20 shooting (5 of 11 threes) in the 99-88 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. Mitchell is looking like a future superstar, and the Jazz have some nice young pieces around him, but his emergence may shape the future of the Jazz’ building effort. With an offensive cog like Mitchell around Gobert, it may be that the Jazz shape its attack around Mitchell, with Rudy Gobert simply being the defensive anchor he is.
Mitchell is averaging 22.8 points per game over his last 10 outings while shooting 47.7 percent from the floor. In January, he has averaged 23.4 points per game, no longer showing any signs of all of being a rookie. Mitchell also comes up with 1.4 steals per game over his past 10 games, while having scored 33 percent of his 9.6 threes attempted per game. Mitchell was taken No. 13 overall, but is definitely in the top-3 of whatever becomes of this draft class. He has the shooting range and slashing ability to become nearly unstoppable, and the Jazz may not have had a weapon of his caliber since the Stockton/Malone era.
“Spida,” as Michell refers to himself, is better than the likes of Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, and the multitude of semi-stars the Jazz have rostered, and the Pacers are much about a young prospect of their own in what could be an exciting showdown between two of the league’s best unheralded talents.
For the Indiana Pacers, the story of the season has been the play of 2-guard Victor Oladipo. Oladipo was acquired as part of the deal that sent Paul George to Oklahoma City, and he certainly has found a home—and a niche—back in his home state. Oladipo is a local Indiana Hoosier product, and he has reinvented himself in a Pacers uniform, while currently ranking No. 3 in backcourt All-Star voting.
Oladipo has simply done everything better this season, and his shooting percentages have swelled from decent to far more than “just respectable” as a Pacer. While he was never able to fully gain traction in Orlando or OKC, in Indy, he has thrived as a No. 1 option in the offense.
Oladipo is averaging 24.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game while shooting 49.1 percent from the field and 42.6 percent from three-point range. Most notably, he is finally really attempting threes at the volume he should. Oladipo is taking 6.4 threes per game, and he is seeing 18.1 field goal attempts per night. He has mostly overshadowed Myles Turner, who was thought to be the franchise player after George departed for OKC.
The former Texas big man, Turner, is averaging just 14 points and six rebounds per game, though his rim protection has been exceptional. The Pacers ideally need to get more shots for Turner and get him more involved in its offense, but not at the subtraction of Oladipo’s workload. The method for becoming a major playoff threat is intact in Indy, but Turner must embrace and thrive in a bigger role for the Pacers to be more than a middling .500 type team.