And here’s your weekly Utah Jazz wrapup
One. Gordon Hayward on road trips with a kid at home: The sleep. You definitely get more sleep on road trips, but, yeah, you know, I miss her, but you know, I miss my wife and, before that, you know, you miss your family, and, professionals, so. That’s all it is.
Two. Quin Snyder on why playing time is important for Rudy Gobert: That’s why playing is so important. You know, that’s why, his growth last year started with him playing, and it’s, you know, why this road trip is so important, is that you get a chance to measure yourself, and that teaches you what to work on.
And you know, you practice it, and then you, you know, you do it in practice, and you do it in competition, and your level goes up and up. And as soon as you can do it, you know, in a competitive environment, then, you know, can you do it in pressure? So, I think there’s multiple levels of that, you know, that growth process that occurs.
Three. Derrick Favors on putting the load on his back with Rudy Gobert out in Miami: Without him out there, you know, I just took it upon myself just to, you know, just to try to set the tone early. You know, I knew I wouldn’t get that many shots tonight, but you know, I just went out there, tried to set the tone early, try to get some stops, try to get some momentum for us on the defensive end, and I just had a good night.
Four. Jeff Withey. He makes us all dyslexic.
Five. Dante Exum update, courtesy of Joe Ingles: Who knows what Dante’s doing, to be honest? He, yeah, he i–so, he’s there every morning at practice. Comes in and talks to us, and not in an inspiring way, but he’s there to talk to us, and he watches most practices and then he has his treatment…
I know if he — whoever sees him next needs to ask him to smile, ’cause he just got some new teeth that cost him a bit of money, but they’re straight now, so he’s pretty happy little 20-year-old. Apart from that, I don’t know.
I mean, he did have his family here obviously helping him at the start ’cause he couldn’t do too much, and I gave him a job to do today, which we’ll see if he can do that. He’s picking up my wife from the airport today. He’s got a big job today. If he fai–if he doesn’t pass that job, then he’s officially out of my good book.
So, Renae — well, he actually owed me. Renae picked up him and his mum and brother when they flew in from L.A. after his surgery, so — we were on the road, I think, and he asked me to pick him up and I couldn’t, so Renae picked him up, and so, he kinda owed me.
And Ingles on his wife’s travel plans: She’ll probably kind of tour herself around a little bit, ’cause she hasn’t actually visited the States too much, and she’s only really been in Salt Lake, so she needs to get out and experience America a little bit more.
Six. This week’s edition of…
Seven. Quin Snyder, asked to comment on the Jazz’s “losing streak” after the loss in Orlando: I can’t even go h–go there on a losing streak when, you know, we’ve played the last couple games without Rudy. We lost to Cleveland in, you know, a one-possession game. And we lost to Miami in a one-possession game, and it’s a losing streak for sure.
We lost tonight on a back-to-back without two guys in Fav — I mean, I’m just not gonna be despondent about these games. I just, I won’t do it. You know, and I, that doesn’t mean I don’t wanna win more than anyone, but to characterize these last three games — and it’s correctly characterized as a losing streak, absolutely. That’s what it is. We’ve lost.
But that implies some sort of, you know, the sky’s falling, woe is me. And I’m not for feeling sorry for ourselves, and going in that direction.
We’ve played good basketball, and we didn’t tonight…If we don’t win [against Atlanta], our losing streak extends, but I don’t wanna look at it that way. You know, I wanna look at it like a team that’s focused on getting better and we gotta keep doing that, and sometimes if we have to lose to do that, that’s painful, but hopefully it can result in us being better.
Eight. Quin Snyder then:
Quin Snyder now:
Nine. Last week, we had a quote from Deron Williams perhaps showing some newfound self-awareness. This week, we have Carlos Boozer, who starts out by telling a fantastic Jerry Sloan story (H/T @5kl):
It’s 2010. I’m with the Jazz. We’re at a practice facility in Los Angeles — a day away from playing Kobe, Pau and the Lakers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals. They’re the No. 1 seed, we’re the No. 5 seed. It’s our last team meeting before the series starts.
Coach Sloan takes the floor. He paces a bit, and stares at us — the whole team, up and down. Real slowly. He takes his time to look each one of us in the eye.
And then he speaks.
“Look. We’re afterthoughts in this series … We’re big underdogs … We’re on the road … I don’t care. We need to f***ing beat these guys.”
And then he keeps going.
“If my knee was still good, I’m telling you, I’d go out there and play tomorrow. No … No … Honestly, if my knee was still good, I’d go out there and fight somebody tomorrow. Hell, if my knee was still good, I’d go out there and fight somebody right now. You know what? I’m serious. I’ll go out there and fight the Lakers.
“I’ll go out and fight the Lakers right now!”
For about a beat — a beat and a half — you can feel everyone in the room just sort of … processing what Coach had said. You see everyone looking around … looking around … not sure what to make of it. Is he joking? Is he being “rah rah”? Or is he for real? It’s like, wait — is Coach about to try to fight Luke Walton? It’s one of those, Well, that escalated quickly moments.
And like I said: This is 2010. Coach Sloan is 68 years old. Sixty-eight! And he’s out here, telling us, dead — listen: dead — seriously, that he would lace’em up and go to battle with us if he could. And he’s got us believing that he really, truly would — that he wants this badly enough, and that we should too. He’s not just spouting some “do or die” nonsense that he knows we’ve all heard a million times. He’s showing us.
I’m telling you: After Coach’s speech, that room went from “focused” to focused. We were a little overmatched in the series — 2010 was a championship-winning Lakers team — and we ended up on the losing end of it. But man were we focused, and man did we give them a run, and man did we fight like hell.
It’s five years later now, but I still think about that speech, and tell guys about it any chance I get.
It was a moment. …
Age has a way of revealing new things to you. Back in 2010, I thought it was funny that Coach Sloan was about to go throw down with the Lakers. I sort of figured that it was just, you know, “part of the act” — a really well done motivational speech. But now? Now I know.
Dude was serious.
And I’m not Coach Sloan’s age … but I’m starting to understand how he felt. You get a little older — you play this game for long enough — and you realize that so much of what you worried about earlier in your career doesn’t matter. You realize that it really all just boils down to a few key moments.
And then, finally, you realize something about moments: You’re only handed so many. (The Player’s Tribune)
Ten. Quin Snyder, Unintentional Dirty Quote Machine: Everyone wants to be long, you know? It’s just a question of, you know, can you be? (H/T @DJJazzyJody)