So uh.. about last night..
What in the world was that?? Did anyone see that coming? I sure didn’t. The Jazz hosted and dominated the reigning MVP Jokic and fringe-contender Denver Nuggets for nearly a full 48 minutes last night, which was exactly what every Jazz fan was expecting. To be real, I don’t think any Jazz fan, media member, or even maybe players, coaches, or front office really knew what to expect last night either. First game of the season, completely new players, new jerseys, new branding, new coach, the list goes on and on. No one truly could have predicted how things would go, and that left me a little uneasy approaching last night’s game. The uneasiness quickly faded away as the Jazz just came out and, for lack of a better word, played.
Lauri Markannen, who I personally was most excited to watch this season, got the Jazz started with a nice pull-up jumper, which was a great sign to see him knocking down his first shot.
Markannen got things rolling quickly, dropping 13 in the first half.
When they got up 20+ points early in the first half, the vibe on Jazz Twitter was like.. “wait what??”. Many, including myself, were lowkey shocked. “Are the Jazz good???” was the question pounding in my brain as I watched Markannen knock down shots, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley suffocating with their perimeter defense, and Collin Sexton being a literal bull and abusing Nokic in the paint to close out the game.
Listen to the crowd during this second quarter run, doesn’t really sound like tanking to me.
Walker Kessler looked reeeaaaally good in his NBA debut, scoring 12 points on perfect shooting and snagging 10 rebounds off the bench.
Was Quin Snyder holding Rudy Gay back?? 16 points on 6-8 shooting, PLUS-24 (!!!) off the bench in 25 mins.
So, are the Jazz good? They looked pretty good last night. But what does that mean for them going forward? Much has been discussed lately about tanking, but watching this team play, they are just built too well to be a tanking team. They probably aren’t a playoff team, but then again, who really knows at this point? If certain guys take some strides and play like they did last night, they could absolutely squeeze into the play-in game, which in my opinion would be so much fun. I understand the tanking sentiment, but looking at the odds it just doesn’t look promising enough to throw a whole season away and the “winning culture” that has been talked about recently. The Jazz now have the draft capital and plenty of young prospects to pull off something crazy if they wanted to try and make a run at the #1 pick even without tanking. But then again, whoever ends up with that #1 pick probably isn’t trading it. Bottom line, this Jazz team came out on fire last night, and it was awesome to watch, and gives us hope that this season can be fun to get behind this new-look bunch.It’s crazy how refreshing it felt watching this team play last night. A new sense of pace. A new sense of determination, goals, and aspirations. Are they playing for a championship? Probably not. But these guys played hard, played as a team, and played to win. And the vibes?? They were immaculate.