And that’s how Jazz basketball is back!
Having the first “normal” offseason since the start of the pandemic, it seems like forever since the Utah Jazz lost four straight games to the Los Angeles Clippers last June.
Now, with Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley in full health after a much-needed offseason to get back into shape, the Jazz are ready for one of the best chances they’ll ever have to aim for a title.
Although last season was derailed primarily from injuries to Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell, the playoffs showed glaring weaknesses with the Jazz’s defense. Against the Clippers, the perimeter defense of the Jazz was poorly exposed. One player they have chosen to fight is Rudy Gay. Gay will bring more consistency offensively but, and it could be more important, he will bring a solid defensive upgrade to Georges Niang who left for the Philadelphia 76ers.
The problem? It has just been revealed that Gay has had heel surgery during the offseason.
Rudy Gay just had surgery on his left heel during the offseason. He will miss the preseason and the Jazz expect him to return early in the regular season. It also goes through portions of practice
– Tony Jones (@Tjonesonthenba) September 30, 2021
It’s never good news to hear about an unknown offseason deal, especially for one of your most important offseason acquisitions, but it’s clear the Jazz won’t miss it for too long. this season. It’s a shame that Gay is not available this preseason as it would be good for Jazz to have opportunities on display to try out different programming, especially those that have Gay in the center. It will have to wait.
In the meantime, that probably means a lot of minutes for Eric Paschall, Jazz’s other new acquisition.
The other player to watch this game will be Jared Butler. The exciting young rookie fell way too far in the draft and in Jazz’s recent zoom practice he showed why.
In open practice, Butler has shown fantastic patience and poise for a first-year player. He also showed an ability to handle the ball in an exciting way. This preseason is a chance for Butler to really show what he can do and the Jazz should give him every chance. It fits perfectly with what Quin Snyder and Jazz do and could be a fantastic addition to Jazz.
When: 6:30 p.m. MDT – October 4, 2021
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
TV: NBA League Pass, Illegal Streams because AT&T Sportsnet chooses not to broadcast Jazz matches.
Radio: 97.5 FM, 1280 AM La Zone, KZNS / S: KTUB
Jazz starters are unlikely to play much in this match and the young Jazz hopefuls need to show their talent. A lot of eyes will be on Jared Butler and what he does in live action. Will it show the “it” factor that it has already shown so far? He will have that chance and if he has what it takes to contribute right away, he should play well against a young Spurs side.
It’s also a chance for Miye Oni to play and show some of the things he did at the Olympics. The Jazz need Oni to take a step. The Jazz’s perimeter defense last season left a lot to be desired and if they can have formations that include Royce O’Neale, Rudy Gay and Miye Oni, that will give them another wrinkle to throw against opposing teams. Utah really needs some defensive formation to throw when they have the lead. Sl several times last season we saw the Jazz’s second unit fail to hold their lead when needed. If they can lock things down with a group that doesn’t have Rudy Gobert on the pitch, that’s a huge bonus for that team.
Now with the preview written, I just want to say thank you to all of you who come to this site and read our coverage. It’s a lot of fun and I hope everyone is as excited as the SLC Dunk team for this season. Thank you for joining us!