After an absolute drubbing of the Adelaide 36ers without their three best players (no offense to Joe Ingles), the Utah Jazz will travel out to Milwaukee to take on last year’s one seed in the East, the Bucks. Led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks will provide the Utah Jazz with their first real measuring stick for their offseason progress.
The only players who are ruled out for tonight’s game for Utah are Dante Exum and Emmanuel Mudiay. Other than that it is all systems go for Utah. Jazz fans will—fingers crossed—get to see how a team with Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Rudy Gobert will fare against tough competition. Utah’s main motivation in gathering all this talent was to get past teams of the Bucks’ caliber in the playoffs after falling short to the Houston Rockets last season.
The Bucks are also looking to move past playoff woes as they ultimately fell to the eventual NBA Champion Toronto Raptors and Kawhi Leonard. While the Jazz loaded up in the offseason, the Bucks did their best to navigate the salary cap while trying to retain their best players. While they were able to keep Brook Lopez, they were unable to retain Malcolm Brogdon who is now with the Indiana Pacers. Their in-season extension to Eric Bledsoe might have been the nail in the coffin to any future with Brogdon.
The Bucks in their last contest beat the Chicago Bulls 122-112. Much like the Jazz in their first game, the Bucks withheld their best players (Bledsoe, Giannis, and Khris Middleton). The Bucks may very well have the same idea as Utah tonight as they use this game as a temperature gauge for their training camp progress.
When: 6:00PM Wednesday, October 9th, 2019
Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
TV: AT&T SportsNet - Rocky Mountain
Radio: 1280 The Zone
What to watch for
It is time. Jazz fans will finally get to see Mountain Mike Conley in a Jazz uniform and playing with Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. I may as well just copy and paste what I said last preview about this. It’s just an exciting time. Jazz fans got a slight preview of the spacing that Utah can achieve with a 4 out offense when Utah played Adelaide. We will all get to see if the spacing was a fluke due to bad competition or a sign of things to come. If it is a sign of things to come, Mike Conley is going to fit in just fine in Utah.
How will Utah guard the Greek Freak Giannis?
While Utah has effectively guarded Giannis with Rudy Gobert before, Quin Snyder may want to test the upper limit of his smaller power forwards in Milwaukee. If Royce O’Neale, Jeff Green, or even Joe Ingles can prove to match up to Giannis and be effective, that’s a new wrinkle Utah could gain without having to stress test it in the regular season with win/loss column consequences. If Quin Snyder is the scientist, finding out who could guard a unicorn like Giannis will be his main experiment.
Rudy Gobert + Spacing
I said before that fans got a preview of what the Jazz spacing could be this season. Ed Davis had all the space in the world to work with against the 36ers last game. I couldn’t have been the only one who imagined what the result would be with Rudy Gobert down low in his place. Against tougher competition and with a better active roster, we will get to see if it was fool’s gold against an NBL team or the first tangible proof that Justin Zanik’s first offseason as General Manager was a success.
Is it time for the first "wheels up" post?— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) October 8, 2019
It's time for the first "wheels up" post.
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.