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Utah’s playoff appearance earns them new Nike jersey

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Winning has its benefits and ... merch.

NBA: Preseason-Toronto Raptors at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Wow. In a matter of days it feels like Jazz basketball has gone from 0-60 and we aren’t even done accelerating with the regular season set to begin in just a couple of weeks. Utah has a couple of preseason wins under its belt (yea, it’s the preseason but I’m too competitive to ignore the fact that Utah is unbeaten so far) and even better, a lot of Jazz-men have looked good during those wins, for the most part at least.

This first piece of news still has some rumor floating around it. What we do know is that the Utah Jazz will be getting a new “earned” jersey kit. They earned it by making the playoffs so the 15 other teams that made it to the postseason will also be getting a new jersey variant.

The cited Casey Vitelli even made concept art of what these earned jerseys could look like and it gave me chills.

These jerseys will reportedly debut on Christmas for the teams that earned them. The Jazz will be playing the Portland Trail Blazers that day so that’s just another reason to circle Dec. 25 on your calendar.

As has been noted by plenty of people already, Joe Ingles had his 31st birthday on Tuesday, the same day the Jazz downed the Raptors 105-90. Ingles led the Jazz with 24 points in 24 minutes of play on 5-of-11 shooting from three and 8-of-15 overall. He was also a team-high +23 in those minutes.

The birthday wish from Weber High did not go unnoticed in the sea of well-wishing fans. Ingles quoted the tweet, showing his appreciation for the support.

It’s not all been butterflies, kittens and rainbows in the preseason so far. While Joe Ingles’ birthday show was great to see and getting the W is nice, preseason games are all about teams executing schemes and players showing improvement. And against Toronto, that didn’t happen much when the main rotation players were on the court.

Tony Jones, no of The Athletic, wrote about this very thing, discussing how there plenty to work on in the time remaining before tip-off on Oct. 17 in Sacramento

“In truth, Tuesday’s win was simply window dressing. Well, window dressing beyond that whole meaningless preseason thing. In truth, the Jazz didn’t play very well in their first foray into true NBA competition — their opener was a win over the Perth Wildcats of Australia in a matchup that proved to be nothing more than a light scrimmage.

There were turnovers and missed shots during a horrific second quarter. An offense predicated on movement and execution looked like a jumbled mess. A defense touted as one of the best in the NBA was shredded by Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry. And Jazz coach Quin Snyder, usually a quick draw on a timeout when he doesn’t like what he sees, let it all go down as his team struggled.”

There was still plenty of good to be drawn from the game, but it’s clear that after a summer off, there’s some rust to shake out of the system.

You know how some players like Jabari Parker talk down the importance of defense, saying things like “you don’t get paid for playing defense.” Well Donovan Mitchell isn’t like that, which is highly unusual considering, just like Parker, he’s known almost exclusively for his offense. But unlike Parker, he’s also not a bad defender.

Though if you asked Mitchell about his defensive performance last year you’d get the response he gave to a reporter earlier this week according to Mike Sorenson.

“I was terrible last year.”

I’m not going to dive into the stats right now, so suffice it to say that that statement isn’t quite true. No, Mitchell was not by any means a lock-down defender. But compared to other rookies, he was among the best perimeter defenders in the league. He even set a Jazz rookie record for steals with 118, beating out Andrei Kirilenko.

But this is the mentality the Mitchell has. When he came into the league it was about defense, even during his offensive explosion, it was about defense. And now, after taking the world by a storm thanks to the dunks, 40-point games, and playoff takeovers, the 22-year old guard wants to improve in ways that won’t earn him fans or spots on the nightly highlight reels. He wants to improve in ways that get wins.

And lastly, I really hope each player has been practicing his signature.

It’s things like this that can make me glad I’m not a professional sports athlete. But then again, if this is the biggest downside in a job that pays you millions, I’d be willing to live with it.