The Utah Jazz just couldn’t quite finish off their season-ending tear. With a chance to win the division and clinch the third seed, the Jazz ran out of gas in Portland and handled on the road in their regular season finale.
Despite the disappointing loss, the Jazz had an incredible run. They had a regular season worth celebrating, and are not quite done yet. Reaching the playoffs was the ultimate goal for this season, and that was achieved. The historic turnaround that happened this season is something that I’ll never forget, and it’s pretty exciting that the season lives on for the Jazz.
If you would have told 100 Jazz fans on July 5th of last summer that they would be the fifth seed in the Western Conference, I guarantee you that 100 out of 100 would be completely ecstatic and satisfied. Jazz fans should be very, very proud of how this team has fought and how they came together this season. What happens in the playoffs should not diminish the overall success of this season, because the Jazz have already come much further than many expected. But the ultimate goal is to win a championship, so let’s go get it. Bring on OKC.
The Jazz got some love from national media members from several outlets, including ESPN and Sports Illustrated. Zache Lowe of ESPN released his winners of several NBA awards, and had Jazzmen in several awards categories. Lowe had Gobert winning the Defensive Player of the Year award, with Joel Embiid and Anthony Davis following behind him. Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated also had Rudy has his DPOY. Both Lowe and Golliver had Ben Simmons winning Rookie of the Year over Donovan Mitchell. In somewhat of a surprise, at least to me, Zach Lowe has Quin Snyder as his Coach of the Year. He had this to say about Quin and the job he has done this season with the Jazz leading their incredible turnaround.
They were confident they would go on a run with Gobert back, and that the offense would open up. They were right, and they did it by executing the mundane things Snyder and his staff preach every day -- the dribble handoffs, flare screens, and ball fakes (Joe Ingles, baby!), each designed to gain a few inches so the Jazz might have a few feet when it comes time to shoot.
They tinkered with Rubio’s shot habits, especially around the rim, and pushed him to stick with it. They found an able playmaker-defender in Royce O’Neale, and helped make him better. Gobert adds little touches to his rim-running every season.
Gobert is the keystone to Utah’s absurd defense, but Snyder has instituted an impenetrable, mathematically sound scheme around him. He has made the most of Gobert. Lesser coaches have failed greater talents.
A weaker team, with a weaker culture, would have caved. We knew Utah was not that kind of team. It wouldn’t have surprised anyone if they clawed back to .500 over their last 30-plus games. That doesn’t get you Coach of the Year. But this? This 27-5 rampage to home-court advantage in the first round? This is championship-level dominance. The foundation -- even with Gordon Hayward gone, and Gobert missing a third of the season -- is even stronger than we thought.
Some fun news broke on Twitter yesterday about the summer league in Salt Lake City.
Travis Schlenk just indicated on the broadcast that the Hawks will be playing in the Utah Summer League.— Peachtree Hoops (@peachtreehoops) April 11, 2018
This is fun because the Hawks have great odds receiving a top pick in the upcoming draft, which means the Jazz playing against this top pick in summer league. It’s exciting to see one of the top picks play in one of their first organized games as a professional, even if it is just summer league.
For this paragraph, and this paragraph only, SLC Dunk is adopting Kobe Bryant as our favorite player of all-time. This might seem incredibly disgusting and preprosperous, but hear us out. Kobe openely endorsed Quin Snyder as his Coach of the Year, and had some REALLY good and strong stuff to say about Quin and what a job he’s done this season.
“I’ve got to talk about my man Quin Snyder,” Bryant told USA TODAY Sports. “The job he has done is freaking insane. It is insane. I love Quin. I always have.
“I’ve been a big Q guy forever…and the job that he has done seems like it’s going under the radar, which, why, I have no idea,” he added. “But if there was ever even a doubt as to who should be Coach of the Year, the people who are second-guessing that need to have their voting credentials removed.”
Pretty cool stuff coming from Kobe Bryant, someone that obviously has some power in his words and where they might carry. Thanks for that, Kobe.
*Kobe Bryant has now been revoked as our favorite player, and returns back to the all-time BOOOO list in Utah Jazz history.
If you need a good laugh after that poor performance last night, look no further. Basketball impersonator Brandon Anderson normally spends his time mimmicking/mocking the shot and play styles of many big-time NBA players. You may have seen him impersonating James Harden’s eurostep or Russell Westbrook’s celebrations. Well, Anderson’s best work might have come with his last impersonation, which was that of legend Joe Ingles.