After 180 long days, the Utah Jazz are playing a game that counts for something, and putting a team on the floor that looks drastically different from the squad last year. Instead of one guard carrying the whole scoring load as Mitchell often had to do last year, the Jazz will have five men who can score. Donovan can put the ball in the bucket from anywhere. Joe Ingles and Bojan Bogdanovic have sneaky driving skills, but are especially lethal from outside. Conley can beat you from deep, slash inside, or throw lobs to Rudy Gobert, who is poised to have a breakout year on offense.
Funnily enough, the largest question mark to come out of the preseason is the defense. Will the Jazz continue to give up 128 points on a normal night, or will they tighten up the ship and return to last season’s form?
And what of the Thunder? After having amassed what is arguably the greatest war chest of draft picks in NBA history by trading both of their stars, the Thunder aren’t on the radar for most NBA junkies this season—their core is simply not built to win this season. However, Chris Paul presumably has something left in the tank, and you know Steven Adams is going to compete every night. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should be a handful, too, and many in the NBA blogosphere are calling him the Thunder point guard of the future.
So many questions, and so many games left in which to answer them. All 82, in fact.
When: 7:00PM Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
TV: AT&T RSM
Radio: 1280 The Zone
What to Watch For
Defense Wins Championships?
Just as we suspected, the Utah Jazz are coming out of the preseason with a top-5 offense and a . . . bottom-5 defense? True, the preseason doesn’t matter. Remember when the Jazz went 8-0 in the preseason that one time? I try not to. However, giving up 128 points is bad no matter what format you’re playing in. In theory, the Jazz should be able to ease into things a little bit with a weaker opponent like the Thunder, which is exactly why this game makes me so nervous.
Will Bogdanovic Bounce Back?
Bojan Bogdanovic has been one of the league’s best 3-point specialists in years past, but not in the 2019 preseason. The good news is that he’s struggled from deep in pretty much every preseason and found his stroke soon after. This is important, because NBA teams in this era of the game live and die by the three-pointer. Thankfully, with three other deep threats on the floor with him, he should get plenty of open looks.
Nothing more needs to be said.
Game Thread Ground Rules
Welcome to the SLC Dunk Game Thread.
Dunkers know how this thing works, but for you lurkers ready to make the jump to Dunker, we have a few guidelines. Remember to follow our community guidelines (no swearing, trolling, excessive use of Jerry Sloan’s name in vain, no personal attacks, no debates about Utah liquor laws, etc.). Remember to have fun. Anyone who dare blasphemes that Tim Duncan was a Power Forward (this means you, Pounding the Rock), Ben Simmons can hit threes, Gordon Hayward should not be booed, Exum Island isn’t a 5-Star resort, Donovan Mitchell is Monta Ellis 2.0, men should never cry, or John Stockton is not the best point guard of all-time will receive an automatic ban. Just kidding. But seriously.