For the Jazz, a second-round exit shouldn’t hurt as bad as previous years. The West is loaded with talent, and while the Jazz are right at the top, they don’t present a threat to the top two teams in California (no team does, though).
Mike Conley: Well, after talking to Coach Quin, we all realize what the ultimate goal is – and it’s everyone’s ultimate goal – and that’s winning a championship. We know that. Are we going to achieve the daily goals to become a champion? Whether that be getting the most out of each other every practice and shootaround, making sure we’re 100 percent locked in before games, making sure we’re always on time with nobody wandering in late, sacrificing different things in between the lines… Are we doing those things every day? That’s what it boils down to. I think we’re at the stage where we’re just working and trying to stay humble and stay focused and respect the game. At the end of the day, if we do all of the things I said, we have a good enough team, a good enough organization and good enough coaches to give ourselves a chance. – via *********
The Jazz will reportedly play against the Grizzlies in Memphis on November 15. How weird will it be to use the visiting locker room and wear a different jersey in that arena? Mike Conley: Man, whenever that day comes, I honestly don’t know how I’ll feel. I don’t even know where the visiting locker room is! I’ve really never been over there! I’ll have a lot of emotions, I’m sure. I’m not a guy who shows a lot of emotion on the court – good or bad – but it’ll probably be one of the tougher moments of my career. – via *********
probably good not to have as tough of a schedule to start the year with all the new faces
The Lakers, Clippers (twice), 76ers, Bucks and Warriors help make up Utah’s first 10 games. That’s not an easy start, but at least it won’t be super road heavy.
good time to play the Warriors
Utah technically has three three-game road trips in January. The month starts with a trip to Chicago, Orlando and New Orleans. From Jan. 12-16, they’ll be in Washington, Brooklyn and New Orleans — again. Utah ends the month with a trip to San Antonio, Denver and Portland (the Blazers game will be on Feb. 1).
the first two they should do well
The stretch starts with a road game at Golden State before two home games against Dallas and Houston. The Jazz will go back on the road for back-to-back games against San Antonio and Denver before traveling to Portland for a game against the Blazers. Utah will then return home for national TV games against Denver and Portland before finishing off the stretch with back-to-back road games against Houston and Dallas.
The Jazz face Milwaukee, Indiana and Memphis before ending the trip with a back-to-back against Toronto and Philadelphia. It’s a trip that features the defending MVP, the defending champs, and the likely favorites in the East in the 76ers — throw in two potentially emotional games for Mike Conley (his second return to Memphis) and Bojan Bogdanovic (his first game back to Indiana), and it could be a pretty difficult trip.
REVENGE: After eliminating the Jazz in the last two postseasons, former MVPs Russell Westbrook and James Harden will face the Jazz three times this season as Houston Rockets teammates on Jan. 27 and Feb. 22 in Utah, then once in Houston on Feb. 9.
Ricky Rubio, whose skill set never fit in Quin Snyder's system, has been replaced by Mike Conley, a point guard who fits like a glove. Bojan Bogdanovic came over from Utah to space the floor, and Ed Davis signed as an underrated backup big.
Ricky Rubio’s return to Utah probably isn’t worth a top-10 rating of games to look forward to, at least not in the eyes of most Jazz fans (it is in mine, but I’m a Ricky guy). It’s going to be fun to see how Ricky is greeting by the crowd, and if he has any reaction to them. He loved his time here, he really wanted it to work out, but it just didn’t. It will be fun to see Ricky play on the Jazz court again, and it will be fun to see Devin Booker take another L even if he scores 30 plus.
I'd boo him
10. VS Golden State Warriors, December 13 (ESPN)
not concerned about them especially without Klay
8. @ Memphis Grizzlies, November 15 (ESPN)
The triumphant return of Derrick Favors. After nine seasons in a Jazz uniform, and definitely becoming a fan favorite, Favors will play his first game back in Utah territory. We shouldn’t expect anything less than a standing ovation from the crowd as his name is announced pregame, or if/when he checks into the game off the bench. Favors 4 Lyfe. This game will also be a lot of fun to watch Zion Williamson, who might just be the most exciting NBA rookie since LeBron James.
more interested to see if Zion lives up to the hype
Though the Jazz gave Exum a raise after his rookie contract expired, they did so more as a bet than a reward. Paying Exum didn’t sneak up on Utah. At the time he was drafted, he was so raw and coming from lower-level competition in Australia that evaluators knew he would take a while. Nearing his athletic prime now, if Exum can stay healthy and simplify his game, he will help Utah make up for the losses it suffered this summer at the wing and guard spots as it moved on from veterans Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver, Thabo Sefolosha and Ricky Rubio.
I think it was more Lindsey hoping he won't always suck so the pick doesn't look so bad. That's the difference between the top GMs and guys like the Wizard. They all make mistakes. The best ones know when to cut their losses
Early indications are that Exum will play more on the wing to help offset that lack of veteran depth. According to Tony Jones o fThe Athletic, “the Jazz think they can be special” if Exum stays healthy. Furthermore, Exum is expected to defend both wing positions this season in addition to point guards. That’s the right decision and would help the Jazz take advantage of Exum’s defensive versatility, especially with Emmanuel Mudiay in tow now to sop up backup playmaking duties. Jones also notes, however, that Exum has always preferred operating with the ball in his hands.
I'd say Exum is the backup pg not Mudiay
That has to change. Exum’s turnover rate has been astronomical each season, putting him in the bottom fifth of the NBA among combo guards, according to Cleaning the Glass. Fortunately, Exum’s assist percentage has also gone up over the course of his career, and he has developed the instincts to make the pass the defense is giving him more often than he used to.
TO's, missed layups and bricks from the perimeter. What is not to like?
In this way, Exum quickly became a useful NBA slasher. Over the past three full seasons, over half of Exum’s shot attempts have come at the rim, which put him in the 90th percentile for at-rim volume in the league among combo guards, per Cleaning the Glass. Many NBA players have long arms, but few of them operate with that length in a functional way that helps their game. Exum only made 51 percent of his shots at the rim this year but can continue trending in the right direction if he stays healthy and improves his decision making. Flashes against solid rim protectors in drop coverage are a reason for optimism.
who cares if he gets to the rim but can't finish or hang on to the ball though?
Then the problems snowball and Exum begins to over-think even the most simple of plays, be it a ball reversal or entry pass. Those types of turnovers could easily be cut out of his game. Besides Mudiay, playing more minutes alongside above-average playmakers like Conley and Donovan Mitchell will mitigate the errors that come when the ball is in Exum’s hands, so long as he is comfortable sacrificing.
that's the problem right there. He's thinking. It's not instinctive because he is an athlete trying to play basketball not a ball player
Last season, former Jazz forward Derrick Favors said during a stretch of impactful play from his younger teammate, “It looks like the game’s kinda slowed down for him. He’s making the correct read now without really forcing anything. … He doesn’t look timid — he looks like he’s having fun and not worrying about playing time and things like that.”
that 3 game stretch!
Though he fouled on 4.1 percent of his team’s possessions this season according to Cleaning the Glass, that aggressiveness is part of Exum’s style. The fouls need to lessen, but Exum seems to relish going mano a mano and will give a foul or two to send a message. That’s affordable in limited minutes but not so much if Exum plays more this season.
oh yeah the fouls too
A belief in Exum surviving on the wing is at odds with the understanding that he needs to get stronger. Even at 24, Exum is probably a negative trade asset on his remaining two-year, $19 million contract. Putting him in position to succeed is their best option, as is speaking highly of him publicly.
the best option is getting someone to take his contract and having someone capable on the team instead
Because of the high-reaching goals of the Jazz this season, Exum will have to restrict his game before it can expand. Adding functional strength and sharpening his handle and decision-making in secondary playmaking opportunities in the halfcourt are two realistic goals that would help him immensely. A stronger Exum would up his at-rim efficiency, foul less and fit more easily on the wing. Cutting down on turnovers and building up his awareness, simply put, would make him more playable on offense. This year’s smaller, more perimeter-oriented Jazz roster needs him. These few small, simple steps could be the difference between a reliable, effective role player on a championship-caliber team and a guy who’s on the trade block.
hopefully some guys step up after their top 9 guys. Counting on Exum isn't the way to go
When Donovan Mitchell’s game takes a leap this upcoming season, we’ll think back to this August.
I'll look back to June and July when they finally put the pieces around him and Rudy
Yet here is Donovan Mitchell being expected to be THE GUY on a Team USA squad that features talent like Kemba Walker, Kyle Lowry, and Jayson Tatum.
I'd say Kemba is the guy until proven otherwise. After that it will probably be a group effort. Different guys every night
With all the praise of Spida-man, Mitchell has a chance to follow a bit in the footsteps of his mentor Dwyane Wade who had a similar breakout with Team USA. While Donovan Mitchell is now facing the overrated chants because of a less than ideal showing in the NBA Playoffs against the Houston Rockets, Dwyane Wade was fighting the demons of recurring injuries.
Wade had already won a title with maybe the greatest performance ever
They didn’t. Quite to the contrary, Team USA dropped two scrimmages to this new select team on Wednesday and wrapped the session by getting run off the floor by them in a 36-17 beatdown.
basketball is a game of runs. The depth of the USA is one of their strengths. They will keep coming at you and will have some big runs. a one quarter game doesn't show that
Regardless, the real test will be on Friday when Team USA hosts Spain at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Sure, it’s an exhibition bout, but Spain is the No. 2-ranked team worldwide, and is led by the likes Marc Gasol, former Jazzman Ricky Rubio, Rudy Fernandez and the Hernangomez brothers.
the real test won't be for a month or so when they are in the medal round. Lots of time to get it together before that
Utah Jazz: Success of 2019-20 season hinges on ascent of Donovan Mitchell
I'd say it's more about Snyder putting the right guys on the floor and the front office getting more help beyond the 9 deep they have now
But Utah also has one key wild card on their roster. He’s already arguably the team’s best player, so you could contend that in some ways, you know what you’re going to get with him as well. Nevertheless, Utah’s ability to go from a good team to a potential championship contender hinges completely on the strides he makes this upcoming season from a rising star to a solidified NBA star.
there is no argument for him as their top player. Without him the Jazz would remain competitive. Without Gobert they are one of the worst teams in the league
If Mitchell matches the third-year leap of Wade and elevates himself to superstar status, carrying his now well-rounded and deep Jazz team with him, the Jazz absolutely will be a championship contender and perhaps even arguably a favorite. If he remains about the same as last season, or only slightly improves, Utah will likely once again remain a solid, but not sufficiently elite team to win it all.
He will be better just because he has two other scorers and shooters around him and not Bricky and Favors.