The Weekly Run is The Salt Lake Tribune’s weekly newsletter about all things Utah Jazz. Subscribe here.
Monday was a bad night for the Jazz, without question, given that it yielded another poor defensive performance, a fourth consecutive defeat, and an 0-4 record at Vivint Smart Home Arena this season.
Rudy Gobert, for one, is ready to leave it behind.
“Every day’s a new day. Today, we have an opportunity to get our first win at home, so that’s what we’re focused on,” he said at Wednesday’s shootaround, hours before a game against the Dallas Mavericks.
Asked how his demeanor is different in the midst of a four-game skid as opposed to, say, a four-game winning streak, the center said it was important for he and his teammates to remain upbeat.
“At the end of the day, you gotta have fun on the court. When you don’t have fun, usually you don’t play as well as a team,” Gobert said. “Just have fun, be confident, play as a team, and see what happens.”
So, he hasn’t been grumpy then, one reporter asked.
“What does that mean?” he replied, genuinely perplexed but smiling about the unfamiliar word.
Told it equated to “upset,” the Frenchman quickly clarified.
“Nobody’s happy to lose games, but at the same time, today’s a new opportunity for us,” Gobert said. “So, we can’t be crying about the last game. Today we have to show the team we can be and get a win.”
The game against Dallas begins at 7 p.m. and will be televised on AT&T SportsNet. With the Jazz commemorating the 40th season in franchise history, they’ll be wearing their purple throwback jerseys.
Week in review
• Everyone acknowledges the Jazz’s defense has not been up to its usual standards so far this season. But what, specifically, is the problem? I took a look inside some of the numbers to see what hasn’t worked through 10 games. [TRIB]
• On the night the Jazz faced the Raptors, Andy Larsen took a look at the teams’ opposing coaches, Quin Snyder and Nick Nurse, and how they actually became friends while coaching in the then-D-League a decade ago. [TRIB]
• Andy also detailed so-called “Schedule Alert” games, an incredibly predictive metric based primarily on scheduling factors. It predicted trouble for the Jazz vs. Denver, and turned out to be right (though it was wrong for Toronto in its matchup vs. the Jazz). [TRIB]
• Thabo Sefolosha took a run at the NBA’s new emphasis on “freedom of movement,” saying it was giving offenses an “unfair advantage.” [TRIB]
• Andy and I put out another edition of “The Weekly Run” podcast, touching on, among other things, Rudy Gobert’s strong start and Ricky Rubio’s early struggles. [TRIB]
• The Jazz’s 3-1 road trip seems forever ago at this point, doesn’t it? It wrapped a week ago today. Afterward, I went into what we learned about the team during that stretch. [TRIB]
• In honor of the franchise’s 40th season, former @tribjazz Aaron Falk, now working for the Jazz as a feature writer, put together a cool oral history on utahjazz.com about the team’s move to Salt Lake City, and its early struggles here. [Utah Jazz]
• Willie Reed has bounced around the NBA a bit, and is now dominating for the Jazz’s G League franchise, the Salt Lake City Stars. But Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News took a look at how Reed is already planning for a post-hoops career in broadcasting, and how he got an early taste by shadowing the JAzz’s broadcast crew. [DesNews]
• Kaleb Searle of slcdunk.com previews tonight’s game against the Mavs, taking a look at Dallas' young and intriguing backcourt of Dennis Smith Jr. and Luka Doncic. [SLCDunk]
• A couple of basketball players with ties to SLC threw a shoutout to the past via Twitter.
Delon Wright, the former University of Utah guard now with the Raptors, showed up in SLC wearing a U. letterman-style jacket:
And Stars guard Trey Lewis, who spent the summer with the Jazz, posed with former Louisville teammate Donovan Mitchell and their former Cardinals coach, Rick Pitino before Monday’s game:
Quote of the week
Quin Snyder was asked before the Toronto game if, given the way scoring has exploded across the league, allowing a 30- or 40-point quarter was not quite the defensive failing it used to be. Suffice it to say, he was not fully on board with that notion:
"I don’t think our goals have changed to reflect higher scores. What you’re seeing — it stands to reason that if pace is way up, scoring is going to be way up, [but] oftentimes points don’t tell the story of what level you’re defending on. If it’s a real slow game, chances are it’s going to be a lower score, but you can still not be defending at the level you want. So we look at efficiency — but odds are if there’s a 40-point quarter, you’re not being very efficient, regardless of the pace. We’re aware of all those things, but there isn’t an acknowledgement — nor should there be from us, from me, as a staff, as a coach — that it’s OK because people are scoring more that we can give up more. That’s not the way we’re approaching it.”
Obviously, the game that’s on everyone’s minds is Friday’s game at The Viv against Gordon Hayward and the Boston Celtics. It’ll be his first game against his former team since leaving in free agency in the summer of 2017. After that, the Jazz embark on a five-game road trip, with stops in Memphis, Dallas, Philadelphia, Boston, and Indiana.