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The Utah Jazz’s Ricky Rubio is a new man

And might be the biggest benefactor of Quin Snyder’s system.

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Sports Illustrated recently published a piece about how the Utah Jazz version of Ricky Rubio is his best version:

Rubio was selected in the 2009 draft, one of two point guards (who could forget Jonny Flynn!) taken back-to-back by Minnesota with Steph Curry still on the board. We’ve seen plenty of versions of Rubio over the years, beginning with his time as the Spanish YouTube sensation dating back to 2006. Now older, wiser and heavily bearded, Rubio still isn’t long in the tooth. In fact, he’s now the best he’s ever been...

His Minnesota tenure ended in 2017 when the Timberwolves shipped Rubio to Utah in exchange for a protected first-round pick. And in one season with the Jazz, Rubio was reborn, reforming both his career and Utah’s standing in the West...

I can’t wait to see Ricky Rubio with a full offseason in Utah under his belt. He got better and better as the season wore on, culminating in a triple double and playoff victory over Russell Westbrook and the OKC Thunder.

Could Ricky Rubio be the present and future at point guard for the Utah Jazz?

The Ringer put out a list of The 34 People and Things that will most influence the upcoming NBA season. Coming in at 17th on the list was Utah’s defense:

17. Utah’s Defense

Verrier: Offense rules everything around the NBA. The proliferation and proficiency of shooting 3-pointers has sent scoring rates through the roof the past two seasons and forced defenses to scramble all over the half court to try to keep up. But most Jazz games this season will be a throwback. With a healthy Rudy Gobert clogging the paint last season, Utah lost just six of its final 35 games and put up a defensive rating lower than any team since the glory days of the Thibodeau Bulls. It wasn’t a fluke, either; the Jazz are the only team in basketball to finish with a top-three defense the past two seasons. If anything, there’s room to improve: They’ll get full seasons from Jae Crowder, Royce O’Neale, and an (ostensibly) healthy Dante Exum. A league-average offense will need Donovan Mitchell to avoid a sophomore slump; if he does, the Jazz could easily become the greatest challenge to Golden State’s five-peat bid in the West.

I love that this is Utah’s identity. I’m sure it makes Jerry Sloan proud to see a team play with such tenacity and passion on defense. With the Defensive Player of the Year backing up some aggressive wings, Utah’s defense will win them a ton of games this year.

FanPost time!

ukraineisnotweak comes back again this week to talk about the Dream Season for the Utah Jazz:

Ingles takes all the open shots.

There’s a lot more in there (so click and read!), but what could possible be more dreamy than Joe Ingles shooting all the open that the offense generates for him?

Russell Kanning talks about his favorite defensive lineup self-dubbed the “Drill Team” referencing Dennis Lindsey’s quote about being the world’s worst dentist:

“I want teams to come into our games as excited as going to the world’s worst dentist” - Dennis Lindsey

We all like to build up unusual Jazz lineups as we get excited about the upcoming season. Last year we envisioned the speed lineup with Dante and Donovan. I also like the Long/Tall lineup, or Sharpshooters lineup, or All Defensive Team.

My wife and I were picturing a lineup with a particular set of skills. She calls them the “Drill Team”. I picked them for their opponent annoyance quotient.

Ricky Rubio, Grayson Allen, Joe Ingles, Jae Crowder, and Rudy Gobert

Thanks both of you!

Donovan Mitchell has started making the rounds with local university athletics again. He made it to the Utes game this last weekend, but the recruiting hasn’t finished.

Utah State may have put together the most compelling package. They also gave Royce O’Neale an offer for a jersey as well as part of the package.

Do you like Utah’s chances of winning the Northwest Division this year? Here’s some Vegas odds for the upcoming season:

They aren’t the favorites, but they are pretty darn close. The Northwest Division might be the most competitive division in the NBA again. There will certainly be multiple teams in the playoffs amongst those 5.