This isn't your father's Utah Jazz, so you should make an effort to get behind them, writes SB Nation's Jazz blog SLC Dunk.
Picking a team to root for in the playoffs when your own team is on vacation isn't an easy thing to do. Let me help you with that choice.
First, you shouldn't follow a team that has won a title in the last 20 years. I would kill to have had a championship in the last 20 years. Second, you can't root for a team that has a megastar. They're the normally the odds-on favorites anyway and it's un-American and un-human to root for them unless they're already your team. You also can't root for a division rival.
So unless you're a fan of the Timberwolves, you should be following the Utah Jazz. I know what you're saying, "But they're so boring," or "They're a dirty team." First, I don't blame you for thinking that given their lack of national exposure. When they do get on TNT or ESPN, they're always the late game so half the country is already asleep. Second, the reputation of being dirty has been carried over from the previous administration. I wish they were dirty. I wish they were more physical.
So let me give you a breakdown of why you should follow the Jazz.
Deron Williams: We refer to him as ninja in Jazz circles. Ninja passes, ninja steals, ninja crossovers. He's as far from boring as you can get. He's the only one with any star wattage on the team.
Mehmet Okur: His most recent name is slow-mo-Memo. You can see his move coming a mile away and he even has to start it with 10 seconds on the clock just to avoid the violation, but you can't stop it.
Carlos Boozer: Say what you want about Booze, and it has been said, but he's just went to work this season. You can guess at his motives, and he's not going to stop anyone on D, but he's shown flashes of toughness.
Andrei Kirilenko: AK is what makes the Jazz go. It's no coincidence that the Jazz have struggled without him in the lineup. There aren't any players in the league with his skill set. He saves the team a lot of nights.
Wesley Matthews: The embodiment of a hard-working, Sloan-type player. Undrafted, he was the beneficiary of injuries early in the season, but he's made the team on skill and hustle. How else could he be the starting guard as a rookie for Jerry Sloan?
Paul Millsap: He's accepted his role as backup PF despite his new contract. Little known fact: he's never been to the free-throw line in his NBA career because he never gets fouled. Amazing, right? However, he knows how to foul from 15 feet away and without making contact. Remarkable.
CJ Miles: Jazz fans have a love/hate relationship with CJ. He makes some brilliant plays and then some that result in an immediate facepalm. He could be a factor in the playoffs.
Kyle Korver: That Korver, he's so hot right now. If you're looking for a way to convince your wife to continue watching basketball even though your team is out, look no further. We have the hottest guy in the league. He just broke the single-season record for three-point percentage. Oh, and he's easy on the eyes.
Kyrylo Fesenko: Big Fess. You can't help but love the big guy from the Ukraine that is a comedy gold mine. He spends more time checking out the stands and jumbotron that he does the playbook, but the 7-footer will not disappoint in comedy when he's on the floor.
Ronnie Price. Straight hustle Plus, he hates the Lakers.
Kosta Koufos. The KOOF. He will destroy your soul. Chuck Norris dresses up as the KOOF for Halloween.
Othyus Jeffers. He's the newbie to the team, signed to a couple of 10-day contracts before getting signed for the rest of the season. He's the team's second DLeague call up. We don't know much about him yet but soon could.
Sundiata Gaines. I refer to him as Jughead because his shot that beat the Cavaliers sent the Jazz into an alternate universe (LOST Spoiler!) where they started playing well and came together as a team. Oh, and he's not a bad backup PG either.
Jerry Sloan. Tough guy extraordinaire. He has a team with two D-Leaguers, an undrafted rookie, and nobody besides Williams taken in the first round and turned them into a contender. He's lost Eric Maynor and Ronnie Brewer and kept plugging along.
If you're a fan of team basketball, you'll know why you should follow the Jazz. Cuts, passes, backdoor screens, and more. Don't worry though, it's not boring, it's a thing of beauty when it's run.
No pressure. You don't have to make your pick now. Just watch the Jazz this Saturday, if you can stay up that late, and fall in love with team basketball.