The Jazz just finished up shootaround at the Palace on a rainy Wednesday morning in the suburbs of Detroit. But with the NBA tipping off last night and the Jazz getting going tonight (5:30 p.m. on Root Sports), maybe there’s some sunshine in your heart.
A couple of quick notes going into tonight’s opener:
1. Raul Neto or Trey Burke?
Rodney Hood or Alec Burks?
Only two choices? How about Burks and someone else? Anyone else?
Right now, it looks likely that Neto and Hood will be the starters tonight against the Pistons, which has been my inkling for a while now.
My reasoning here:
• The Jazz’s best game of the preseason came in the finale, with Neto and Hood both getting the start against Denver.
Because Rudy did his thing.
• Hood seems to give that starting unit better spacing.
• Snyder has said he might "hide" some of his roster’s youth in the starting lineup and that seems to point at Neto.
Regardless of who gets the start, I’m very interested in watching Burke tonight and over the course of this season. He’s looked great in the preseason and everybody around the team says he has a different look and focus entering his third season. I like Burke to have a decent night at the Palace because A) He always seems do well in these Michigan "homecomings" and B) if he comes off the bench, he’ll get more time against 35-year-old Steve Blake. Last night, backup point guard Dennis Schr oder led the Hawks with 20 points off the bench against Detroit.
Or as Notorious SVG did say, "We rebounded the hell out of the ball."
Detroit didn’t shoot the ball well, but it dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Hawks 59-40. The Pistons grabbed 23 offensive boards and gobbled up more than 83 percent of their chances on the defensive glass, according to SportVU’s numbers.
Andre Drummond, who led the NBA in rebounding in the preseason, kept doing what he does best and hauled in 19 boards on opening night.
That won't happen tonight.
This is Drummond’s team now and, even on the second night of the back-to-back, he can be handful for Rudy Gobert and the Jazz in the paint.
"You’ve got to put bodies on them," Quin Snyder said at shootaround. "Drummond is such a force, and they know the shots that they’re taking and I think that makes them even more effective. They have a good idea when they’re going to shoot the shots they want, whether it’s Morris on the post or Caldwell-Pope’s 3s or in transition. And they go after them. They’re a hungry team that plays hard."
Rudy will bring it. End of the bench will decide it for the Jazz like all year until they get someone that can.
Fans excited for the realistic possibility of returning to the playoffs after some rebuilding years?
Not as much as I should be.
Players tired of camp and preseason and battles against each other in practice while also being optimistic about getting the organization back to its winning ways?
A game that actually means something on the schedule for tonight?
Check, check and check.
Good. Now let’s get this 2015-16 NBA season underway.
“I think we’re at a good spot. I think mentally we’re prepared,” Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward said. “We put in a lot of work — everybody did individually — this offseason. We put in a lot of work collectively here in training camp. I think we’re ready. We’re ready to get this thing going.”
The first tipoff for this intriguing season is at 5:30 p.m. MT against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
As the clock winds down to that moment, there are a plethora of questions:
Can the Jazz pick up where they left off at the end of last season when they went 21-11 and transformed into the league’s most dominant defense?
Don't see why not.
Can Hayward, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert take their games to the next level, an All-Star-caliber-level that’s likely needed for the team to excel?
Should but what is needed more is a better supporting cast.
Can Trey Burke, Raul Neto and the experimental three-wing system compensate for the loss of starting point guard Dante Exum?
Exum sucked on offense as does Trey at both ends. Neto and the wings are better.
Is it possible to put 7-footer Jeff Withey, 7-foot-1 Gobert and 7-foot-3 German rookie Tibor Pleiss on the court at the same time?
Rudy can play with anyone certainly with Withey. Not sure Pleiss can protect the rim enough though.
Do the Jazz have enough outside firepower with Rodney Hood, Joe Ingles, Burke and Hayward or do they need to add another shooter to the group?
They need a lot more especially if you think Trey can shoot. Alec shot better than all those guys.
How big of an impact is the dynamic Alec Burks going to have?
Will rookie Trey Lyles, the No. 12 pick in June’s draft, see much court time with Favors and Trevor Booker ahead of him in the power forward rotation?
Not right away. Eventually. Maybe not this year. Probably by next anyway.
Do we really have to call the team’s new Brazilian Hah-OOL Neto and not Rau-OOL Neto?
Say what you want as long as it's not Trey.
Will Quin Snyder be able to help his young team continue to improve on the same trajectory as last season?
No. The end of last year will be hard to improve on. 8th seed won't even come close to it.
Big 3, Burks and Ingles
Can Utah take advantage of the versatility that has been talked about so much this preseason?
We'll see. Didn't see it last year so I'm afraid he'll go away from it.
Are the Jazz ready to move up into the next tier of teams and compete for a playoff spot in the extremely competitive Western Conference?
The fact that this is even a question is a joke for the front office.
Should we call the Jazz’s newly minted building The V, The Viv, Vivint Arena or Vivint Smart Home Arena?
John Stockton’s really going to help coach the Montana State women’s basketball team?
How excited are you for this to get going anyway?
“I’m excited to see who we are,” Snyder responded. “I think we’re finding ourselves with some players that have been here before and played last year, some of them overcoming injuries, some of them new roles. I’m interested to see how we’ll adapt.”
The success, failure or something in between will depend on that adaptation, of course.
Hayward’s been looking forward to getting going again since last spring.
“It’s something where last year we ended the season so well, we all didn’t want it to end,” the sixth-year player said. “We’ve been waiting for this for awhile. Hopefully, we can go out there and play the way we want to.”
The Jazz were all over the place in the preseason, looking strong against the Lakers in Hawaii but flopping against Phoenix and Oklahoma City, and dropping a couple of games against Portland with myriad lineup combinations.
The 2nd Portland game they looked great.
Even so, Hayward loves how his team responded to finish strong against Denver after a monumental reality-check speech by Snyder. In that, the second-year coach pointed out that the Jazz have a lot of work to do to become elite like OKC.
Good news: They’ve been working hard.
“The biggest thing I’ve been pleased with is really our focus throughout practices,” Hayward said. “We’ve had some long practices. They’ve been challenges mentally for us. I’ve been pleased that we’ve been able to get through this, and I think we’ve gotten better because of them.”
That is a positive characteristic the Jazz had last year as well. Before experiencing success in games, they worked hard to instill good habits in practice. Then it paid off.
The Jazz have been effective in learning from mistakes, too, which is why a blowout loss to the Thunder can be turned into an a-ha moment and spark them to have a strong last week of practice before the real thing starts.
“We’re ready, man. I think training camp preseason prepared us,” Burke said. “The Hawaii trip kind of slowed us down a little bit. We learned a lot about ourselves. … I feel like everyone has their energy back. We’re excited to go into the season.”
And play games.
Games that count.
“I’m very excited. We’ve been putting in a lot of work, going even before training camp, the preseason,” Hood said. “We’ve been a close-knit group over the summer. We’ve put in a lot of work together, a similar group from last year. We want to get off to a good start and it starts Wednesday.”
By the way, the season ends April 13 on the road against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Or, for the first time in three years, will it finish later than that?
That’s the real question.
Jazz possible starting lineups
Last used/best guess: Raul Neto, Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert
Most used/experienced: Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert
Could be: Trey Burke, Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert
The best line-up. Not sure they can go with that bench though.
Also possible: Raul Neto, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert
BIG BALL: Gordon Hayward (6-8), Trey Lyles (6-11), Jeff Withey (7-0), Rudy Gobert (7-1), Tibor Pleiss (7-3)
Not very shocking. Couldnt shoot last year and they did little to answer it. Too bad neto cant shoot.lol
Neto was the only one on the team who hit 3 pointers and was 3-6 overall. If Hood shooting 0-7 from 3 was the bigger issue in the game, as well as Burks missing a few jumpers he should probably be hitting if he wants to be a really dangerous player. Still early days though.
One loss with 81 games to go is hardly cause for panic. But for those so inclined, the Jazz’s 87 – 92 loss to the Pistons provided plentiful reinforcement for existing anxiety. Practically every concern heading into the season played out in the loss.
Everything heading into the off-season that for some reason has been unanswered still. Than you look at the Pelicans and they continue to try to upgrade their roster without the flexibility the Jazz have.
Inability to generate turnovers? 10 total for Detroit. Check.
A questionable bench? Other than instant Sixth Man of the Year candidate Alec Burks1 (18 pts, 6 rbs, 1 ast), the rest of the pine mob contributed four points on eight shots. Check.
Poor perimeter shooting? Two of 12 from deep (16.7%). Triple check.
Yet the Jazz’s greatest deficiency hurt them every bit as much as these more obvious grousing points: as of now, the Utah Jazz are incapable of entering the ball into the post. Worse, it appears as much a lack of willingness and awareness as lack of ability.
Derrick Favors was the best player on the floor tonight.
Still go with Rudy.
He scored 26 points on 15 shots, including 6 of 8 from the line, and added six rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block. But his offensive consistency was the most impressive facet of his evening. He scored seven points on 3 of 3 shooting in the first, eight points on 4 of 5 shooting in the second, and nine points of 3 of 6 shooting in the third. That’s 24 points on 14 shots.
Then in a fourth quarter where the Jazz were consistently down but within reach, Favors shot the ball once.
This is a game where the Jazz’s best interior scorer should have shot the ball 25 times and headed to the line for 15 freebees. For much of the game he was guarded by Ersan Ilyasova, who when confronted by Favors’ two low post touches yielded an uncontested dunk and a desperate shooting foul. Yet additional deep touches were few and far between, and non-existent in post-up situations.
He did look good on those 2 straight post ups for a change but it was Ersan.
This continues a trend several years in the making
Does it coincide with 3 straight years with no NBA caliber pg?
: sporadic and poorly thrown post entry passes, inability to take advantage of smalls switching onto Favors, and allowing the team’s only interior scoring threat to disappear for large stretches of the game, especially in key moments.
The Jazz are a young team still battling several notable flaws, but their inability to maximize the value of Derrick Favors’ interior scoring is glaring.
His post game has generally sucked.
He is not only their best all-around player, he is their best player.
2 Tonight, Favors led the Jazz with 26 points when he could have had 40. If the team improves its ability to feed the ball into the interior, Favors will have a monster season and the Jazz will be truly frightening. If not, I think earning a playoff spot will be more than they can deliver.
The Player Behind the Player of the Game: Rodney Hood
Of the Jazz’s three staring-caliber wings, Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, and Rodney Hood, the young second-year player from Duke struggled the most with his shot, going 6 of 15 overall and a demoralizing 0 of 7 from three.
Still looked good.
Yet an eye to the long-term interest of the team shows he, more than his wingmates, stood up in support of Favors’ interior dominance.
While Hood missed all seven of his threes, at least he took them.
Raul Neto, a rookie point with a broken shot3, took and made two WIDE OPEN threes. The rest of the Jazz — and I mean the entire rest of the Jazz roster –attempted three shots from distance. Three. Two by Hayward and one by Joe Ingles.4
Yeah it's funny Neto is the one that can't shoot. Been said in every article about him despite the fact that the team as a whole sucks shooting wise.
The Jazz must shoot better to attain their goal of making the playoffs.
And you expect that the happen without roster moves?
But to even make that a possibility, they have to possess the confidence and courage to take open shots that are there. If Hayward, Burks5, and Trey Burke combine for two attempted three point shots a game, it won’t matter how much Favors is rolling. There won’t be a defender who steps a foot outside twelve feet.
They won't if those guys take 50 if they aren't hitting them. We saw it all last year.
Props to Hood for taking the shots he needs to take, missing, and keeping his finger on the trigger. The Jazz need their veterans to show such guts.
If there is such a thing as a perfect start for a role-playing point guard on the Utah Jazz, Raul Neto just had it: eight points on six shots, including hitting both attempts from deep, three assists to one turnover, a rebound, and an entry back into a game after a nasty-looking twisted knee.
Toughness? Offensive efficiency and low usage? Respectable defense when healthy and gutsy defense when gimpy?
His D is more than respectable. He's a pest. Guys on other teams will him!
I was a major skeptic of Neto heading into the season. Not now. I think this kid will do just fine in Utah.
Amazing when you actually see someone play before making an opinion.
Booker’s Suspension Turns Costly
I loved it when Trevor Booker palm-slapped Roy Hibbert up the front of his melon in the preseason. Talk about buyer’s remorse! The only bench big Quin Snyder tapped all evening was rookie Trey Lyles, who managed a depressing -15 plus/minus in a scant 8:14 of play.
Booker’s testiness and aggression is needed on a team of mellow personalities. But he has to keep that fire constructively hot rather than raging out of control. This team needs some front court stability off the bench, and without the senior citizen on the Jazz roster, that was sadly lacking tonight.
They probably win if he plays because they would have had 8 NBA caliber players instead of 7.
For Now, Multiple Offensive Options Means Uncertainty
For two years now, Gordon Hayward has slogged under an offensive burden greater than anyone desired. Tonight showed those days are over. Both Rodney Hood (15 FGA) and Alec Burks (14 FGA) took more shots than the Jazz’s offensive leader (11 FGA). While I don’t expect that to be true most nights, the days of Hayward being the only stick that stirs Utah’s offense are gone.
Won't happen with Burks getting 24 minutes. Seriously what the ****!
Having three perimeter players who can both initiate offense and score from multiple levels will prove invaluable to the team’s continued development, but at the start of the season, it’s clear no one knows how to fit three sticks in the same jug. It’s transparent that at this point, the Jazz have little ability to utilize their three wings in unison, allowing for synergy.
They look a hell of a lot better than the alternatives that the coach seems to prefer.
In Rodney Hood’s only efficient quarter (the 2nd), he shot 4 of 5 from the field. Meanwhile, Hayward and Burks combined for three shot attempts.
Then in the fourth quarter, No-Conscience Burks6 dragged the slogging Jazz offense along with 4 of 9 shooting. Again, Hayward took only a single field goal attempt in that span, a total matched by Hood until two desperation shots at the very end of the game.
Snyder’s motion offense is designed to bring multiple offensive weapons to bear on an opponent simultaneously through unselfishness and frequent ball movement. Tonight, the Jazz’s offensive orchestrators took turns leading the way single file. That isn’t the plan and isn’t an approach the Jazz’s second-year coach will tolerate. These three versatile players will learn how to feed off of rather than compete against each other, but its a synchronicity they don’t possess now. Clint Johnson
What they don't possess is enough NBA caliber talent or a coach that knows what to do with the talent they have. Burke, Lyles and Millsap are the reason they lost this game. Where was Withey? Where was Johnson(who is at least solid)
Because of Jeff Withey’s $200K guarantee, he won’t start earning incremental cash until the 36th day of the season, or December 1. At that point, he’ll be fully non-guaranteed until January 10, earning $5,572 per day. That means that by December 15, the date when most NBA players can be traded and therefore the de facto start of the trade season, he can be dealt as a non-guaranteed contract. An acquiring team could use his $947K cap number could be used to make trades work even though they would owe him $0 guaranteed2.
Based on last night I wouldn't expect him or Johnson to be around past the guarantee date.
The Jazz may like him enough to make that point moot, but it’s the second straight year that Dennis Lindsey has timed a guarantee that way, so it sure looks strategic. Toure Murry’s 2014-15 salary guarantee ran out less than a week before last December 15.
Situations to Watch
These partial guarantees and day-by-day salaries are only important if you expect the Jazz the use their remaining cap space to jump on opportunities that may come up.
Exactly they didn't even use the contracts they had in camp because they love this star studded roster so much and they have no holes to fill!
Based on everything included in team salary today, they have $7.28M to maneuver with — plus they can finish a trade up to $100,000 over the cap without needing an exception. They can get up to about $9.8M if needed through waivers, but that number is shifting all the time based on the day-to-day earnings of non-guaranteed players.
Most people presume that if the Jazz were to seize an opportunity to use that cap space, it would likely be for a player to bolster the point guard rotation. If that’s the case, there are some teams to watch as the season gets going.
I don't think they necessarily need to get a pg. I'd be fine with Neto as the only pg on the team. They have 4 wings who I'm comfortable having the ball in their hands.
Atlanta already has a PG logjam on its hands, as reserve Dennis Schröder has started his “start me or trade me overtures.” Of course, the Hawks aren’t obligated to do either. There are plenty of recent examples3 to remind us that teams have all the leverage here. But if the Hawks should decide to entertain discussions about Schröder or current starter Jeff Teague, that could be of interest to Utah.
The fact that they are the Jazz of the east I would imagine the Jazz might actually be interested but with Golden boy Trey around why would they?
There are also some middling teams like Dallas and Milwaukee who are swimming in point guards. If someone like the Mavs or the Bucks come out of the gate looking underwhelming, they might start working the phones.
Yeah Deron is coming home I don't want Felton or Harris. Maybe Barea. Probably not though.
Sacramento essentially has two starting point guards — Rajon Rondo and Darren Collison both closed Wednesday’s game — so if early losses start piling up, they may lose some patience.
Collison showed he was an NBA starting pg last year so I can't imagine he's happy.
And of course, there are several point guards the Jazz may be keeping an eye on from a health standpoint. We talked a lot over the summer about the likes of Jrue Holiday or Jose Calderon, but Utah would want to know that they’re a reasonable facsimile of their pre-injury selves before they started looking into those options.
They won't go after an old guy like Calderon as much as they could use him.
Or, they may do what my SCH boss Andy Larsen has suggested: use that room to acquire a prominent player with a big-money deal, since they have money to spend against the 2016 cap.
Yep they could certainly take on a contract that goes into next year maybe longer.
Speaking of which…
Now that they’ve exercised all their rookie contract options for next season, Utah has $56.6M committed to 11 players, plus a likelihood of adding a first round draft pick
We don't know that. A lot could happen between now and then. Don't they have a couple 1sts next year?
, and three non-guaranteed players making another $3M combined.
So if nothing else changed between now and June 30, they’d open free agency with $30M in cap room and 15 players on their roster.
Moral of the story: expect something to change.
I thought that this off-season but not much changed other than finally bringing their best pg to the team after two years of waiting and tanking. They already picked up Burks for next year.
By now you’ve heard a lot about the “affiliate player” rule, a tag that NBA teams can place on training camp cuts so that their D-League team has first dibs. This is probably on purpose, but the Jazz have more players eligible for that designation than they can use.
They shouldn’t need the rule to keep tabs on Jack Cooley or Grant Jerrett. While transparent D-League rights rules are not easy to come by4, it seems as though Idaho already has “returning player” rights to those two. Bryce Cotton’s returning player rights are held by Austin, so he also wouldn’t count against Utah’s four allowed affiliate player designations.
But Utah also acquired and subsequently waived JJ O’Brien, Treveon Graham, Erik Atkins, EJ Singler and Phil Pressey. And the Stampede can only automatically claim four of them.
Interesting. Most of the guys they brought to camp on partial guarantees went to Europe. Only Cooley didn't so I imagine that will be the case with at least one of these.
They might have done this in case one of the five was claimed off waivers or signed by another NBA club, but all of them have cleared now. So Utah must decide which of those guys is less of a priority in terms of keeping them in the extended Jazz family.
Wesley & Wishful Thinking
Mavericks guard (and Jazz alumnus) Wesley Matthews logged 26 minutes in Dallas’ season opener. I bring that up in this context because it’s a good reminder that injuries and rehab processes can vary widely based on a crazy number of factors. Brandon Jennings tore his Achilles on January 24, forty days before Matthews ruptured his, and yet Jennings isn’t expected back to Detroit’s lineup until sometime in December.
Relate this news to Dante Exum, who continues to rehab his repaired ACL, but for whom Utah still hasn’t announced a formal timetable. ACL rehab timelines can run the gamut, but recent encouraging news about the young Aussie indicates that he might be tracking to the front of whatever that range is. “X” is already pain-free and has been walking without assistance or a limp since the second week of October.
By most accounts, that’s ahead of where most people are five weeks after ACL surgery5. So let’s just say for argument’s sake that Exum stays ahead of the curve, and that he’s cleared for activity six months after surgery (seven months after the injury). That would be early March. Do we really think the Jazz would keep him on the shelf at that point?
Probably. I would hope he'll play if the doctors say ok even if it's just rehabbing in Idaho.
I don’t have any inside information here, so this is 100 percent speculative and hypothetical. It just seems, assuming the re-injury risk creeps low enough at some point this season, that the kid would be better of next October if he’s come back and gotten a few reps. Even if he wasn’t in a position to help the team measurably in the playoff race, it would be better for 2016-17-and-beyond Dante to be in a position to play some minutes, basketball gods willing.
Just something to think about. It’s still likely we won’t see X until next season, but the Matthews return is a good reminder that people rehab differently and that you can’t apply one player’s timeline to another player’s injury. And if there was literally zero percent chance of that happening, it would have been easy enough for the Jazz to announce that instead of leaving an open timeline. Dan Clayton
They don't like to give out anything they don't have to.
• Always a bummer to lose the first one. However, all the signs of what is going to make the Jazz a good team were prevalent tonight. Jazz had a monster defensive stretch down the stretch. They balanced scoring of Favors, Burks, Hood and Hayward was evident. In a lot of ways if you are a 50 win team you win this game but if you are still in the process as we are you have a hard time coming up with this game.
They were a 50 win team at the end of last year. Why are they not trying to improve the roster?
• The Jazz defense for the final 8 minutes tonight was awesome.
* This was a slow paced game tonight. Very limited fast break chances. The Jazz defense was about 1 pt per possession at 92 points and near 92 possessions which is pretty strong
Like it will be all season I imagine. Was last year. All the talk in the pre-season about running was probably just talk again.
* The Jazz were the #1 offensive rebounding team in the NBA last year grabbing 29% of offensive rebounds. They were also #1 in the NBA in putback percentage. This is a large part of the Jazz offense. Trevor Booker is a large part of this. The Jazz got 4 offensive rebounds tonight.
Gobert is the biggest part and he got none.
• Jazz started Neto and Hood and the starting line-up had a really good start to the game. The defense was fabulous and the game was flowing. When the bench came into the game things got a little out of whack.
The Jazz missed Trevor Booker presence in a lot of ways tonight.
Mostly they missed having one of their 8 NBA caliber players.
• Rudy Gobert looked like Rudy Gobert again for the first time this year. He was active, he impacted the paint, he rebounded the ball and he made an offensive play or two. This may be as difficult a match-up as he will have all year. Andre Drummond is mammoth.
Drummond was no problem for him. Rudy didn't make the shots he took but his touch looked a lot better. It's just a matter of time before it starts to click amd he gets confident at that end. Could be scary.
• Derrick Favors was terrific. Can he score with Rudy on the floor? The answer was most certainly yes tonight. He was a force in the post on undersized stretch 4s. This is really important. If teams are going to play this stretch game with undersized 4s then Favors has to abuse them in the post and he did exactly that.
And if he doesn't the Jazz need to pull him and stagger his minutes with Rudy which they actually pulled off last night. They were the only two centers. I'd have no problem with that.
• Ersan Illysova may have won the game for the Pistons taking 4 offensive fouls tonight.
• What are the chances of a career 39% free throw shooter making 6 in a row. Since you asked the chances of that are 0.3% not 30% but .3%
• Detroit is going to be tough for people. They make the playoffs in the East.
• The shot distribution for the Jazz was off tonight. Hayward needs to get more looks. Hayward should be our leader in possessions used followed by Favors, Hood and Burks in some combination.
Not Trey? But he was so good again in pre-season!
• Raul Neto did a nice job as the starting point guard. He made his 2 threes which were the only threes the Jazz made all night. Neto was +12 tonight. He plays a nice floor game and finds people. He looked every bit an NBA starting point guard tonight.
Looked like an NBA rotation player anyway. Not sure if he's a starter ideally yet anyway.
• Rodney hood was 0 for 7 from 3. Really 0 for 5 and then two bombs out of desperation. However, the 5 were good looks. He need to knock those down. The Jazz need to be better than 2 of 12 from 3. Only 16% of the Jazz shots were threes, the league aveage is going to be near 25% this year. Alec didn’t attempt a three tonight.
Maybe because they can't shoot?
• The Jazz lost the most games of any team last year by 5 or less and only came from behind to win in the 4th quarter 3 times all year. However, the late game offensive execution was better than last year. The final numbers will be 3 for 8 shooting in the final 5 minutes but that includes Hoods two desperation three points. Jazz were 3 for 6 and 3 of 4 from the line with two turnovers before that time. Not great but better. Alec made some big shots and Gordon had a great driving lay-up.
• Jazz were down 5 with 5 to play hard to win that.
• With Trevor Booker out Jazz played a lot of small line-ups with Ingles or Hayward at the 4. The Jazz didn’t play either or Withey or Pleiss tonight .
Withey wasn't dressed! Don't understand that at all!
• Jazz played well tonight. They need to refine some things. This probably not a game they should be expected to win.
The 6th best team at the end of last year shouldn't be expected to beat a lottery team from the east?
But Booker doesn't consider himself the Jazz's enforcer.
"We got guys that, you know, they don't take anything from anybody anyway," he said. "They know how to step up for themselves."
You're the only one we've seen it from
Now Booker is ready to step up and step back onto the court.
The 6-foot-8 lefty put together a nice week of practice before heading out on the road trip, glad to finally be rid of the protective mask he'd had to wear for the past month.
"It's sitting right over there," he said one day, pointing to the bleachers inside the Jazz's practice facility. "Think we're going to have a burial ceremony for it later."
Just before the start of training camp, Booker broke his nose in a pickup game. He needed surgery. He was fitted for a mask, but it was a nuisance, obstructing his vision every time he shot and every time he tried to do the dirty work the Jazz have come to expect from him.
"We missed his energy, his rebounding," Snyder said Thursday, ticking off the ways Booker might have helped in Detroit. "He manages to do a little of everything to help you win."
On Friday night, he'll actually be back in the arena to do it.
The Utah Jazz's thinnest position looked a little thinner Thursday, with only one healthy point guard available to practice.
More importantly only 7 NBA players.
A knee contusion kept Raul Neto out of action during the team's practice Thursday on the campus of Temple University. He is listed as questionable to play Friday against the 76ers.
Kind of expected that.
The Brazilian point guard was injured in an awkward fall during Wednesday's season opener at Detroit. In the second quarter, Neto contested a shot and fell to the ground. He lay there for a while, clutching his knee in pain before limping off the court under his own power.
"He scared me for a minute there," forward Joe Ingles said.
Neto was able to return to play in the second half of that 92-87 defeat, which gives Jazz coach Quin Snyder hope that the injury won't be a long-term issue.
"I'd leave that to our trainers and doctors to make that determination," Snyder said when asked if the injury was serious. "I hope not. Based on the fact that he was able to go back in the game, maybe that's an indicator, although you never know."
Shouldn't have been in the game if it was serious!
On Wednesday night, Neto became the sixth different Jazz point guard to start opening night in as many seasons, and the first Jazz rookie to start at the position since 1979.
Stockton should have as well as Deron.
Neto scored eight points and dished out three assists in the 92-87 defeat. He played 26 minutes; Utah's other point guard, Trey Burke, played 15.
"[Neto] was solid," Snyder said. "That's what he's been doing. … He made a couple shots. Made our only two threes. And defensively, he's just solid."
He's solid and Trey is great. I thought this guy was supposed to be intelligent?
Jazz officials will hope Neto doesn't take long to recover from his knee injury. Utah was already thin at the position entering the year after starting point guard Dante Exum tore the ACL in his left knee in August. And the Jazz have hopes for Neto's continued progress this season and fit with the roster.
"He'll get more and more comfortable the more he plays," Ingles said. "That second half, I don't know how he felt on the knee. … But he plays his role. He knows what he's out there to do. He's not out there to score 30. He knows what's out there to do and he does a great job of it."
Stockton to Bozeman
John Stockton is set to join the coaching ranks, but the legendary Jazz point guard doesn't sound like a man angling for a return to the NBA anytime soon. In an interview with the Dan Patrick Show on Thursday, the league's all-time assist leader called his new assistant coaching job at Montana State University "definitely a part-time thing" and simply a chance to spend more time with his daughter, a senior on the team.
"I'm coming in when I can a couple days a week and trying to get to most of the games that we were going to try to get to anyway," Stockton said. "This isn't a big lifetime change for us or a career change. It's just an opportunity to spend some more time with her and enjoy some basketball."
Utah will get an early look at Rookie of the Year candidate Jahlil Okafor. The Sixers center, and the No. 3 overall pick in this year's draft, scored 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds Wednesday night in his NBA debut. … Philadelphia is expected to be without one of its best scoring threats on Friday. Forward Robert Covington, who averaged 13.5 per game last season, is dealing with an MCL sprain. …
Okafor gets to face Rudy! Good luck. Should be a blowout.
Utah committed 12 turnovers in Wednesday's loss to Detroit. After finishing 26th in the NBA last season with an average of more than 15 a game, taking care of the basketball remains a top priority for this year's Jazz.
The elder Raul Neto loved to watch his favorite NBA player, John Stockton, suit up for the Utah Jazz.
When his son's name was announced to a chorus of boos here Wednesday night, Raul Neto had done something Stockton didn't do: He started a season opener as a rookie.
Neto, 23, became the first Jazz rookie to start a season opener since Luther Wright in 1993 and the first Jazz point guard to start as a rookie since Duck Williams in 1979.
Luthur started! Says a lot about the organization!
"It's not a thing that I think about too much," Neto said before the game. "… It's not like a big deal. We have 12 players that can play. It doesn't matter who starts and who finishes the game."
He can't count but I still like you!
In his debut, Neto scored eight points and dished out three assists. He gave the Jazz a scare in the second quarter when he landed awkwardly and clutched his knee on the floor a while. But the Brazilian point guard, who has four years of professional experience in Spain, was able to return.
"I was a little nervous because we need him," Derrick Favor said afterward.
There have been questions swirling since point guard Dante Exum tore his ACL in August about what the Jazz's starting backcourt would look like this season. On Wednesday night, coach Quin Snyder gave the nod to Neto and second-year shooting guard Rodney Hood.
Snyder called the issue "overblown," and said the decisions weren't demotions for point guard Trey Burke and shooting guard Alec Burks.
"It has nothing to do with any type of judgment about who's a better player," Snyder said. "We should introduce the whole team, and then it wouldn't even be an issue."
Snyder had said he might want to hide some of his squad's youth in the starting lineup and added that Hood's shooting will help with spacing on the offensive end of the floor.
Burke, playing about an hour's drive from where he starred for the University of Michigan, finished last season as a scoring punch off the Utah bench and took Wednesday's news in stride.
"I'm sure that's important for everybody. I think that's the goal for everybody," he said when asked if he wanted to be an NBA starter. "But not really. Right now it's not important to me. I know what type of role I have on this team. I know how important I am to the team, so I don't let it affect me."
I got to think he's happy knowing he'll be getting paid through next season despite not looking worthy.
He said neither he nor Burks would view their roles as demotions.
"We know we're going to play," he said. "With us two coming off the bench … we look at it like we're going to have a deep bench this year and teams are going to have to prepare for that just like they do starting lineups."
On Wednesday night, Burks scored 18 points off the bench. Burke went scoreless, finishing with an assist and a rebound in 15 minutes.