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The 12 Days of Utah Jazz Basketball

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Falalalala the Jazz are coming

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

Only 12 days until the Jazz play basketball again. With their first preseason game vs the Perth Wildcats on Sept 29, it feels so close, and yet so far away. Many of you follow college football or the NFL, and have had sports to tide you over until the NBA season starts. If any of you are like me, however, you might be anticipating for two weeks with little relief. If this is the case, remember that NBA basketball is just around the corner, and before we know it, we will be watching the Jazz play on Christmas Day. Good things in life are worth the wait. Still, media day on Sept 24th cannot come quickly enough.

Donovan Mitchell has gotten involved with the college football around Utah. He made a showing at the University of Utah game this past Saturday. He was presented with a jersey and treated with VIP status.

Donovan didn’t forget about BYU either, sending out a congratulatory tweet after BYU’s huge win over Wisconsin.

This naturally provoked a little banter from Joe Ingles, who noticed Donovan had been playing both sides this week.

To which Donovan responded:

Regardless “what side” he is on, Donovan has been spending a significant amount of time in the Utah community. There has never been a star that has so publicly done so much in one offseason for Utah as a whole. This extends beyond basketball, Donovan may just be the hero that remedies Utah of many of the negative predispositions people have concerning it. This could make it easier to sign big free agents, and could even lead to more tourism and a small boost to the Utah economy as people see what this state has to offer.

Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype wrote a piece on Donovan Mitchell. Naturally, we will be covering it.

Many media members have made the comparison between Dwayne Wade and Donovan Mitchell. Donovan is playing in a different era, where three point shots are exponentially more important, but that is not all he will have to improve on to take the leap into stardom in his second NBA year.

Alex describes a few of the things Donovan needs, two of which are improved playmaking and finishing from areas on the court that weren’t immediately at the rim, such as his floaters. Here is an excerpt from that article.

Good players get buckets; great ones do so while using the threat of shrewd-yet-simple passes to keep defenses off-kilter whenever they have the ball. It’s the latter archetype Mitchell has to blossom into to truly turn the corner.

As far as his bucket-getting prowess goes, there are a few areas Mitchell needs refinement as well. He was a decent finisher around the basket as a rookie, converting 61.7 percent of his paint chances, a higher rate than Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook. That was part of the reason Mitchell was able to surprise so many as a first-year player. Coming into the league, there was concern about his finishing ability because, as a prospect, he showed a propensity to take off of two feet rather than one when going up for layups and dunks, a death sentence for guards trying to score over the trees down low. He managed to correct that and thus, became a 20-plus-point-per-game scorer as a rookie.

However, his finishing still needs to get better from another spot on the floor: the non-restricted paint area. Only 31 players attempted at least 200 shots from that location, including Mitchell, and 22 shot a better rate from there than the young Jazz star’s 39 percent. Too often, Mitchell would drive the ball and take off just a click too soon, making many of his scoring attempts exponentially more difficult than they had to be.

I always enjoy asking myself questions that create a discussion, and generate multiple different thought processes from different people. Today’s question is, what team in the NBA is the worst matchup for the Utah Jazz, and what team is the best matchup for the Utah Jazz? My second question is the same as the first, but with playoff teams.

I personally feel like Boston is the worst matchup for the Jazz currently. They are beatable, but play a brand of basketball that is the metaphorical paper to our rock. As I mentioned last week, I expect coach Quin Snyder to devise ways to beat any team, especially the teams that the Jazz are at a disadvantage with. It will be interesting to see what strategies the Jazz will use on Gordon Hayward’s probable first return to the Vivint Arena hardwood.

The best matchup for the Jazz has to be the Lakers. The Jazz have always been LeBron James’ bane, and many of our rosters in the past have felt as though they were specially designed to take down LeBron. We have so many defensive pieces to slow down any and all of LeBron’s current teammates, and LeBron might simply not have it in the tank any more to win games entirely by his lonesome. I sincerely hope the Lakers make the playoffs this season, if only so there might be a chance of dragging them through the dirt on our way to the second round. It is about time we got some retribution for years past, where we saw the Jazz match up poorly to Kobe and the skilled bigs on that roster.

One more question to round things out. On teams like the Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs, the system can often get more out of a player than you would see in a typical coach’s system. Which one of the Jazz’s players will end up benefiting the most from coach Quin Snyder’s system in the 2018-19 NBA season?

Poll

Which player will benefit the most from Quin Snyder’s system this season?

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    Ricky Rubio
    (300 votes)
  • 8%
    Donovan Mitchell
    (52 votes)
  • 9%
    Joe Ingles
    (63 votes)
  • 1%
    Derrick Favors
    (11 votes)
  • 1%
    Rudy Gobert
    (9 votes)
  • 5%
    Dante Exum
    (37 votes)
  • 6%
    Royce O’Neale
    (40 votes)
  • 5%
    Jae Crowder
    (36 votes)
  • 0%
    Thabo Sefolosha
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    Ekpe Udoh
    (1 vote)
  • 10%
    Grayson Allen
    (69 votes)
  • 0%
    Alec Burks
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Tony Bradley
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Georges Niang
    (10 votes)
  • 0%
    Naz Mitrou-Long
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Other
    (3 votes)
645 votes total Vote Now