The NBA season is upon us, my brothers and sisters! Can I get an ‘Amen’?
The Utah Jazz won 92-73. Preseason is preseason, but what can we read into their first game against actual competition?
1. The starting five looks great. Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors is a line-up we drooled for last season and hardly ever got. Their plus-minus last night was tremendous, between +17 for Kanter to +24 for Favors. Each of them is capable of having 20+ points a night, but they’re even enough I see a lot of nights be like last night, where they’re all in double-digits, but no one hits 20. Burks led the Jazz with 12 points.
2. The defense is improved. The Jazz were the worst defensive team in the NBA last year; I do not see them repeating that. They held the Blazers to 34.6% shooting. Rudy Gobert looks like he’s made a nice leap between his rookie and sophomore years, and his endless arms altered a lot of shots. Official stats had him get two blocks but I counted three. The defensive rotations were crisp. Even Kanter seemed to usually know where he’s supposed to go. The Jazz won the rebounding battle 52-45.
3. They need to improve their shooting. The Jazz missed a lot of open mid-range jumpers. The looks are there; they need to knock them down. They finished 44.2% for the night, but a lot of the reason they only had 15 assists were the missed shots and free-throw trips. The Jazz had 30 free-throw attempts to the Blazers’ 20. Also, here’s a freaky stat: Burke, Burks, Hayward and Kanter were all 4-10 from the floor.
4. Could Dahntey Jones actually make this team? Ian Clark, Carrick Felix and Rodney Hood all could not play due to various strains and sprains, so Jones got a good look at the wing position. Quin might decide he wants a second guy in his 30’s on the roster (besides Steve Novak), and Jones looked like a decent 12-minute-a-night veteran backup who knows his role.
5. The Cyprus Credit Union commercial is still horrible. I hate this commercial. The shlubby guy acting like he’s going undercover, but he talks right into his microphone right in front of the girl helping him. Not that I’m thinking of switching credit unions, but if I was, I would let Cyprus know they are out of the running because of their commercial.