Utah Jazz basketball is back! The Utah Jazz open the season against the Sydney Kings of the NBL. This is part of an NBL-NBA initiative having NBL teams face off against their American counterparts for this preseason and next preseason.
When: Monday, October 2nd at 7:00 p.m. MT
Where: Vivint SmartHome Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
Utah Jazz: None. Seriously. There’s no injuries. Yeah, we’re surprised, too.
Sydney Kings: None.
What to watch for
Can Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert play together?
This question has become an annual tradition and for the past two years the answer to this question has bordered on a no. The problem in the past has become spacing. Derrick Favors has said he worked on his outside jumper and 3 point shot in the offseason. The hope is Favors takes a Millsap-ian leap and can stretch the floor. That’s a tall order. The Utah Jazz brought in Jerebko as insurance as a stretch 4 in case Derrick Favors is unable to make that transition.
With the team looking to compete for a playoff spot this season, expect Quin Snyder to have made his decision as to whether Favors and Gobert can play together by the end of preseason.
Is Rodney Hood the primary scoring option?
Rodney Hood looked every bit an above average spot up shooter in the scrimmage last week, but the real question will be can he take on Hayward’s mantle and lead the team in scoring? The scrimmage didn’t give any info one way or the other. Ricky Rubio most likely is going to dominate the ball in a way Utah hasn’t seen since Deron Williams or John Stockton, so that might not leave much for Rodney to have to create his own shot.
The open looks on the perimeter will be there for Rodney Hood, but will he have the ball in his hands enough to be the primary scorer? We’ll find out.
Dante Exum and Donovan Mitchell
The young backcourt pair looked dynamic in the summer league and the scrimmage. These young guards are athletic, savvy at the defensive end, and play fast. Whenever they enter the game, the pace of play will pick up in a hurry. Will Dante Exum start to live to his potential and will Donovan become the player Utah dreamed of when they drafted him?
Most Likely Jazz Killer: Brad Newley
Brad Newley is the best Australian Small Forward (Ben Simmons hasn’t played a game yet) that Australia has produced other than Joe Ingles according to many in the NBL. He led the Sydney Kings last year in points and assists and could give the NBA Aussie some struggles. He could go off for a big game against the Utah Jazz.