NBA Playoffs: Ranking the teams most likely to return to the playoffs in 2024

Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks - Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks - Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz
Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz – Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports /

Potential 2024 Playoff Team #8: Utah Jazz

This may seem low for the Jazz, especially since they were in solid play-in positioning all season, but the western conference is in the middle of a restructuring that will leave more teams than just Utah behind.

That’s both a shame for the team but also an added blessing, as their roster was meant to tank but stunned the league with their skills. Lauri Markkanen shockingly became a first-time all-star, Walker Kessler emerged as a real option to start at center as a rookie, and young players like Collin Sexton and Ochai Agbaji have each flashed some staying power at guard.

The Jazz will go as Markkanen goes, which is a positive sign for their future. Of players who attempted at least 500 threes this season, he ranked fourth overall, speaking to his long-range prowess. That doesn’t mean that he can’t thunder down the lane, however, as he walloped defenders with titanic finishes all season too:

Utah will need to add a few more veteran impact players after this year, as they traded Malik Beasley, Mike Conley, and Jarrad Vanderbilt to playoff teams. If they commit to that route, they’ll likely find themselves in the same play-in maelstrom in 2024 that they were in most of the season. Otherwise, the playoffs are a long shot for a team that can preach patience for another year.