Of course it means something! It is preseason and the competition is never as tough as in the regular season, and two of the teams the Jazz played weren’t even from the NBA (the Perth Wildcats and the Adelaide 36ers are from the National Basketball League in Australia). But with as many young guys as the Jazz have, any game that is against other professional players is a good experience. In terms of proving whose better, the preseason isn’t going to answer that question, but in terms of building confidence for the upcoming season in yourself and in your teammates, preseason games do matter!
Yesterday (Oct. 10) the Jazz exercised their team option on Donovan Mitchell. This was a no brainer. Mitchell led all rookies last season averaging 20.5 points per game and was unanimously voted onto the 2017-2018 all-rookie 1st team. He also led his team in scoring as a rookie, joining a short list of players who led their team in scoring as a rookie during a winning season. That list includes David Robinson (1989-90), Larry Bird (1979-80), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1969-70) and Wilt Chamberlain (1959-60). He was also named the break through athlete of the year at the 2018 ESPY awards. He has been quoted saying he wants to be in Utah for the long haul.
Rudy Gobert was asked a while ago if he will ever go somewhere else to form a “superteam” in order to win a championship. His answer was “I have a lot of pride, I might win a championship. I might win two or three. I might not. The journey to get there is, for me, the most important. People say, ‘Oh you’ve got a ring? How many rings you got?’ If I want a ring, I can go to the jewelry store and buy a ring. What’s most important is what’s behind it and how you got it.” Gobert is really enjoying his time in Utah. He is from a small town 90 minutes northeast of Paris. SLC reminds him a lot of his home town of Saint-Quentin in France. The reigning defensive player of the year likes it here and he wants to stay. He is contracted till the 2021 season. With him and Donavan Mitchell here for the next few years, the future is bright in Utah.
Last season, head coach Quin Snyder said something in an interview that to the JazzNation subscribers has now become a mantra.
“The Strength of our team is our team”
Considering what the Jazz have shown us so far this preseason, Quin Snyder’s words from last postseason is holding true as we enter into the 2018-2019 season. When you add Rudy Gobert’s award winning defense, Donavon Mitchell’s prolific scoring and instigative tendency for team spirit, Ricky Rubio’s “tricky Ricky” ball-handling and passing skills, Joe Ingles’s clutch three point ability and every other player that dons the Jazz Note night in and night out, we see a winning juggernaut.
Utah’s activity over the summer, or lack of activity as the case may be seems to have worked in the Jazz’s favor. Since these games are the first opportunities to watch the Jazz play since last postseason, these preseason games where very entertaining. For this fan, I am still pretty excited about a undefeated preseason and the upcoming regular season,