The Weekly Run is The Salt Lake Tribune’s weekly newsletter on the Utah Jazz. Subscribe here.
Minneapolis • Is it good luck? Or is it actually a bad thing that the Jazz have missed several of the opposing team’s top players on this road trip?
No Chris Paul in Houston. No Anthony Davis in New Orleans. No Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas. And now, the word came out Wednesday morning, no Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague in Minnesota.
It certainly hasn’t hurt Utah in the win-loss column, as they’re 3-0 on this trip so far, and their chances seem to have improved now tonight against the Wolves.
But it’s also deprived them of the opportunity to see how they fare against some of the best players in the league.
Quin Snyder said he can’t afford to worry about who’s not on the court, though.
“I think we can overanalyze all those things. Teams are gonna miss players during the year. Really, for everybody, you hope you get guys that are healthy, your team’s healthy. We’ve had plenty of those situations on our end where we’ve played without Rudy or Ricky or whomever,” he said from Wednesday’s shootaround at the Target Center. “The focus is on Karl-Anthony Towns like the focus was on James Harden; the focus is on [Andrew] Wiggns the way the focus was on Jrue Holiday. On any given night … we’ve played Minnesota when Karl was out and Jimmy was out, and Wiggins took the game over in the third quarter last year. So I don’t think our team is thinking about anything other than — what we should be thinking about is us. That’s the way to approach this.”
Ricky Rubio, meanwhile, added that teams are simple too good to give much thought to how games might have gone had so-and-so been available.
“This league has a lot of good guys. Of course there’s special guys, like Chris Paul, Anthony Davis, but at the end of the day, there’s a lot of talent in the NBA,” Rubio said. “And sometimes when your main star doesn’t play, sometimes other players step up and play bigger roles. So we gotta be ready for whatever comes. But a win is a win, and we’ll take it. We have to worry about what were doing and improving us as a team, and don’t worry about who we’re facing.”
Week in review
Ricky Rubio played well against the Warriors and dominated against the Pelicans. But he’s struggled offensively in the rest of his games this year. I wrote about his continuing search for consistency. [TRIB]
If it seems like Rudy Gobert is on pace for a million dunks this season, well, you’re only off a little bit. Andy Larsen wrote about the center’s record-breaking pace of slams. [TRIB]
Thabo Sefolosha was eligible to return vs. Dallas but didn’t play. Niang had simply been too good in his role to give up his minutes. [TRIB]
Andy wrote a column about how, with the exception of Golden State, of course, all of the Western Conferences top teams have struggled to some degree. [TRIB]
Andy also did a cool feature about Quin Snyder’s “DAV Program,” which takes the duties of a traditional video intern and instead gives the people involved a potential pathway to NBA coaching opportunities. [TRIB]
During last week’s game against the Rockets in Houston, Donovan Mitchell wore sneakers that paid tribute to slain University of Utah student-athlete Lauren McCluskey. [TRIB]
Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News checked in with Jae Crowder, who’s been checking in with former Marquette teammate Butler. [DesNews]
Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated writes about how the Jazz’s status as legit contenders mostly depends on just how good Mitchell can become. [SI.com]
Meanwhile, former @tribjazz writer Aaron Falk, who now writes feature stories for UtahJazz.com, asked players about the dietary sacrifices they’ve made to be NBA players. [UtahJazz.com]
And finally, Jazz president Steve Starks was in attendance for the record-setting 18-inning, 7.5-hour World Series Game 3, from which he issued some epic tweets. [Twitter]
After the Jazz wrap up the road trip tonight in downtown Minneapolis, they return home for a one-off on Friday vs. Memphis at Vivint Smart Home Arena. That is actually the front end of a back-to-back, as they’ll be in Denver on Saturday to take on the Nuggets. Then, they actually have a three-game homestand: Next Monday vs. the Raptors, Wednesday, Nov. 7 against the Mavericks, and Friday, Nov. 9 against Gordon Hayward and the Boston Celtics.