As we all know, the Jazz had their first Preseason game on Monday night. The next game is.... Friday? Seems a little odd to have a 4 day break in between games, but if you think about it a bit, it actually makes some sense. After playing one game, the Jazz coaching staff now has the chance to work on the deficiencies identified after the loss to Golden State. Judging from Andy's breakdown of the game and various recaps, these seem to be shooting, defense (especially Pick and Roll), shooting, and more time to gel. This all makes sense considering the starting lineup includes two completely new players, with the point guard really having a steep learning curve as it relates to putting the ball where his teammates like it. This also means learning his teammates style of play. For example: you can't throw a Lebronesque lob to Paul Millsap.
Did someone say shooting? How can you not be anxious to see Kevin Murphy when Coach Corbin says this:
"He can shoot it, man. He can really shoot it."
Pics or it didn't happen.
You would not have noticed, because there was no tv coverage of the game (I for one, am not letting that go), but our other sharpshooter was missing from the bench. No, not Randy Foye. I'm talking about Coach Hornacek who has been away from the team dealing with unidentified family issues. We hope that everything is okay with Coach Horny and his family, and will continue to send thoughts, prayers, and various other positive vibes and gyrations their way.
This will make many of you especially happy: Yesterday, I heard from a very large bird that I was fitting for an amazing new suit, that Coach Johnson will be back on the Pre/Half/Post game show to lend his years of experience and insight. No information as to how frequent, but its good to know that he'll still be around and not lingering around the Spurs. Breathe a sigh of relief, Moni.
Info from the Jazz/ Root Sports press release says that Boone will also be filling in on occasion and last, but not least, Boler and Harp will be back to do the game broadcasts. Mr. Harpring, if you're reading this, come see me about a suit.
The next preseason game (this one IS televised) will be against the Oklahoma City Thunder this Friday. Its good that we, as a community, seem to have moved past reading too much into these Preseason games, but this will be an interesting challenge for the Jazz. The Thunder are, by almost every account, legit title contenders this year, so if you're going to really mete out your weaknesses there is no better way than going against the best.
The Thunder play their Preseason opener tonight against the Rockets, so keep an eye out for how many minutes KD, Westbrook, Harden, and Ibaka play.
Finally, this isn't really Jazz related, but I wanted to touch on the news that has come out surrounding Royce White because it is a subject that hits close to home. If you haven't heard, White announced that he suffers from a quite debilitating level of Anxiety, which is affecting his ability to play now that he is doing it under so much scrutiny. It is good that players such as White and Keyon Dooling have been able to talk openly about their psychological problems, following in the footsteps of Metta World Peace. In a profession that is so often dominated by an eye-rolling worthy level of machismo, these guys are stronger than their chest beating peers for being able to step up and acknowledge their conditions.
Conditions such as anxiety disorders can be worse than a torn ACL, when it comes to being able to play. Imagine that feeling you had when the butterflies built up in your stomach before that Junior Jazz game. Now, imagine those butterflies are the weight of 20,000 fans standing on your chest. You can't breathe. Every gasp of breath feels like you are struggling to keep your head above water. You begin to panic, which makes the situation worse. The only thought that races through your head is, "I am dying". At this point if you don't get help, you run the risk of the situation spiraling out of control and ending up in a full blown seizure.
I wouldn't wish that on anyone, and hope that the Rockets help Royce White get all the help he needs.