The Utah Jazz currently hold the first place spot in the Western Conference, to the surprise of many. Although Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert may be getting most of the credit and attention from the fans and media, Mike Conley deserves just as much respect for being a “glue guy” on this Jazz team.
When Utah traded for him before the 2019 season, Conley was coming off the best season of his career averaging over 20 PPG and over 6 APG. The Grizzlies ended the season with 33 wins, and Conley was ultimately traded to Utah when the Grizzlies decided to draft Ja Morant.
This was a big move for the Jazz since many felt they needed one more piece to secure themselves as contenders, and Conley was thought to be that guy to create a big three in Utah; until he wasn’t. Conley started off the 2019 season very disappointing by shooting with atrocious efficiency and struggling to find a rhythm in Utah’s system. Once the playoffs came, Mike Conley performed well alongside Mitchell, who went back and forth with Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, each scoring 50 points in at least one game in the series.
Although he disappointed last season, Conley deserves recognition for Utah’s hot streak and the top seed in the West. In an interview with The Athletic, Conley said he wishes and plans to stay with the Jazz in the upcoming future. Conley was not named an All-Star due to the selectiveness of guards in the competitive Western Conference.
Conley has the highest individual Net Rating in the NBA, and this is mostly attributed to his incredible ability to find open shots for his teammates. When Conley does not play, the Jazz do not perform as well as they normally do; they start to take more contested and dribble pull-up shots that usually do not fall. Conley may not be an All-Star, but he is an underrated basketball player and has helped the Utah Jazz get the first seed in the tough Western Conference.
Photo: Alex Goodlett