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Old 10-30-2013, 08:29 AM   #239
Xiao Yao You
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Default Re: 2013 Fall camp/Pre-Season!

Lindsey, the Jazz’s general manager, doesn’t want to give his team excuses this year.

"Winning the possession, winning the quarter, winning the half, winning the game is always the goal," he said. "At the end of the day you want to have players with competitive DNA."

He talks a good game that's for sure!

But after the Jazz allowed a cast of veteran players including Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Mo Williams leave this summer in favor of developing a group talented young players, team officials are balancing optimism and realism as they embark on a rebuilding year.

"Realistically, with the decisions that we made, with the flexibility we decided to keep and parlay into next year … there are teams that are championship contenders right now that are going to be more short-term, there are teams that are playoff contenders like we were last year, and then you have teams like us that decided to press the reset button. The wins that we’re looking at are just going to be further away from us than maybe a championship contender."

Even Jazz CEO Greg Miller, who called a Jazz losing streak "probably the most anxiety inducing thing I experience," said he was willing to take some short-term knocks if it meant long-term success.

"I really get stressed out about [losing streaks]," he said. "Hopefully that won’t happen this season. But the players, the young players we have and the relative inexperience compared to some teams, chances are we will have some challenging periods this season. But that’s what builds character. That’s how we learn. That’s how we grow.

"I’m OK going through the pain as long as we get better."

Third-year center Enes Kanter called it his "personal goal" to prove detractors wrong.

"People can say whatever they want," he said. "People can rank [us 30th] in the league, we don’t really care. All they can do is talk. What we’re going to do is go out there and show them they’re wrong if they’re talking about bad [things]."

For now, the odds appear stacked against Utah. One ESPN projection system gives the Jazz just a 1.7 percent shot at making the playoffs this year.

But for many, there are positives no matter which way the Jazz go this year.

If the team does exceed expectations, it will mean the team’s young core is capable of success. And if the team struggles, it will mean Lindsey can add another high draft pick to a roster with the financial flexibility to make a splash in next summer’s free agent market.

"We knew that when we jumped into the deep end of the swimming pool there were going to be a lot of tough nights," Lindsey said. "We’re going to take our medicine like men."

He added, "I think we’ll be standing on sturdy ground when we come out of this."

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