Nobody really knew what to expect from the Utah Jazz this season. Would they contend? Would they tank? Could they score any points? Many questions were posed about this team prior to the season beginning. While some have been answered, others remain quite complicated.
Chris Mannix of Yahoo! Sports took a detailed gander upon the state of the Utah Jazz organization, speaking with GM Dennis Lindsey, Quin Snyder, and several players about which direction the franchise is headed in a post-Hayward era.
Quin Snyder discussed his optimism coming into the season, and how it has been slightly modified given recent events relating to the Jazz.
“There is always an optimism at the beginning of the season,” Snyder told Yahoo Sports. “And I’m not saying there isn’t that now, but it’s tempered a little bit with the personnel changes.” Indeed, since losing Hayward, Utah has been ravaged by injuries, from the potentially season-ending shoulder injury to Dante Exum, to a balky right wrist that has cost Joe Johnson all of November, to a knee injury that will keep Rudy Gobert on the sideline for at least the next month. Gobert’s injury looms largest: The 7-foot-1 pivot was the anchor of one of the NBA’s top defenses, and the Jazz have been gashed badly in the two games he has missed.
The article also looks at Utah’s complicated rebuilding process, and how a certain plan or “blueprint” doesn’t exist for the specific challenges they face as an organization moving forward.
Utah would love to offer up a blueprint for how to rebound from Hayward’s departure. Fact is, there isn’t one. The team bet everything that it could lure Hayward back, and his decision to leave has left a hole it can’t hope to fill. “There isn’t a silver bullet,” Snyder said. “What there is, though, is a challenge. That’s something you can really embrace and enjoy.”
As part of this complicated rebuild, the Jazz need to figure out what to do with Derrick Favors. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports published an article directed at Favors’ situation now that Gobert is out due to injury.
All eyes on Derrick Favors as Jazz begin life without Rudy Gobert https://t.co/Nwuy0VnBeQ— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) November 15, 2017
He spoke with Favors about his rearranging of responsibilities and offensive adjustments with Gobert out.
“It’s something different because at the four I’m so used to popping out to the free throw line, or beyond 3-point line, while Rudy’s in the paint,” Favors said. “Now my main job is to roll to the basket, roll in the paint, try to draw a lot of attention so guys can get open on the corner three or perimeter. It’s definitely something new this season that I have to get used to, but I’m ready for it.”
Rudy Gobert sat down with Adrian Wojnarowski on the Woj Pod and discussed several topics that made for an interesting conversation.
Utah Jazz's @rudygobert27 on his long journey to becoming an All-NBA center, post-Gordon Hayward era, French national team and the dream of beating @usabasketball. The Woj Pod: https://t.co/oQpWj5kWmm— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 15, 2017
Gobert expressed his lingering frustration with his injury and Dion Waiters’ reckless play, as well as his goals for recovery and getting back on the court.
He made it clear that he and the Jazz have no intentions of “starting over”, and that they believe that they can still play at a high level with everyone healthy.
Rudy also opened up in a Q&A with Eric Woodyard of Deseret News.
He discusses his role as the Jazz captain, and his positive mindset amid a frustrating start to the season and his recent injury.
He talked about coming up short in the DPOY race last season, and stated his confidence in his ability as the best defender in the NBA.
Every year, I think I’m the best defensive player in the league and I want to be the best. I think being the defensive player in the league is making your team better because, like I said, there’s a lot of things you don’t see on stats. When you make your team better, usually it means a lot.
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