The Weekly Run newsletter: Joe Ingles says ‘it’ll be a challenge’ against Denver tonight, ‘but I’m confident in our team’
(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (23) battles Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles (2) for a loose ball in the first half of their NBA game at Vivint Smart Home Arena Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, in Salt Lake City.
The Weekly Run is a Salt Lake Tribune newsletter on the Utah Jazz. Subscribe here.
Ahead of tonight’s Jazz game vs. the Denver Nuggets, Joe Ingles
was asked at shootaround about the unique challenges inherent in playing a team that primarily runs its offense through its center, Nikola Jokic.
Ingles conceded it’s a bit unusual, but also said it’s becoming less so.
“Yeah — I think we’ve seen it more this year from other teams; obviously, we’ve played [the Nuggets], as well. Pick-and-pop bigs passing the ball back and forth, and letting bigs have the ball a lot more — a lot of teams are doing that,” he said. “I guess it’s different that Rudy and Fav will be on the ball more [defensively], but it doesn’t change what we do and how we’re gonna play.”
While the forward noted that Denver coming in at 31-14 wouldn’t fundamentally alter the Jazz’s approach — “We’re trying to play every game the same way, we have the same intent going into every game” — he did say he expected the game to be a challenge.
“Obviously, for us, it’s a great opportunity to play a really good team. They’re playing well. They’re at the top [of the West] somewhere, first or second or whatever they are.
They’re playing really well,” Ingles said. “They’re playing well together. They’ve had injuries, and had they’ve kinda had to fight through them, and different guys have stepped up. They’ve got some great players, and it’ll be a challenge for us to win the game, but I’m confident in our team.”
• First things first: That other
“Weekly Run.” The latest podcast from Andy B. Larsen and me is here, and we have lots of important stuff to talk about — some looking back, some looking ahead, and some discussion of what kind of tattoo Andy could get to impress the ladies. [TRIB
• As previously mentioned, the Jazz are facing the Nuggets, whose slow rise through the West has now become a meteoric ascent. But how did that happen? What are the Jazz in for? Andy took a look. [TRIB
• After two weeks away due to injury, Ricky Rubio returned Monday night vs. Portland. How’d he do? [TRIB
• While Rubio was out (and Dante Exum, and Raul Neto), Donovan Mitchell was playing point guard, and Jazz fans got excited at the long-term prospect of that. Should they be, though? I went inside the numbers to find out how Donovan really did. [TRIB
• The Tribune’s Christopher Kamrani sat down with Kyle Korver to discuss just how the Jazz reserve got that beautiful shot of his, and why he’s never completely satisfied with it, despite being one of the best 3-point shooters in NBA history. [TRIB
• Donovan Mitchell announced last week that he would not be defending his slam dunk title at All-Star weekend, noting that the experience wore him out last year, and his energy is more needed for helping the Jazz. [TRIB
• Tribune columnist Gordon Monson posited a scenario: The Jazz are down by one with 2 seconds left in a must-win game. Who do you want taking the shot? And who should not be allowed anywhere near it? [TRIB
• Former Jazzmen Rodney Hood and Alec Burks returned to SLC last week with the Cavs. What did they have to say about facing the team that traded them away? [TRIB
• Joe Ingles is, somewhat improbably, getting a reputation as one of the NBA’s best trash-talkers. How exactly did that
• Speaking of Ingles, someone started a Change.org
petition seeking to get the Saucy Aussie into the All-Star Weekend’s Skills Challenge. [Change.org
For what it’s worth, Ingles pretty much shot down the idea at Wednesday’s shootaround: “You know exactly what my thoughts are on that. You know what my answer’s gonna be — I’m going on vacation! I wanna spend time with my kids and my wife. And that’s it. I don’t know who started it, I don’t know why they started it — they should have known the answer. I’m having some time off.”
• Speaking even more
of Ingles, Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer posits that Jingles is actually the most singular reason for Utah’s recent resurgence. [The Ringer
• It was announced that the free-falling Memphis Grizzlies are now considering every kind of move, including trading the likes of Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. The latter has a lot of Jazz fans intrigued. Could it happen? Should it? James Hansen of SLCdunk.com examines. [SLC Dunk
• As for trades that actually have
happened, you may have heard about Carmelo Anthony going from the Rockets (where he wasn’t playing) to the Bulls (where he won’t play, either). Deseret News writer Ryan McDonald points out that what you maybe didn’t know about the deal is Anthony was traded for a guy who was actually drafted by the Jazz … back in 2008 … and who never made it to the NBA. [Des News
• You heard Andy and I discuss Rudy Gobert’s All-Star candidacy in the podcast (you definitely
have listened already, right?!), and now you can read about it. ESPN’s Zach Lowe has the Jazz center as a “lock” to make the All-Star Game. [ESPN.com
• Lowe isn’t the only one making that argument, either. Kevin O’Connor — NOT
the former Jazz GM, but a writer for The Ringer — also argues that Rudy should be a lock to make the team this year. [The Ringer
• NBA.com’s John Schuhmann has been impressed with the Jazz’s recent rise, putting them at No. 12 in his weekly Power Rankings while also listing Utah as a team to watch. Of course, that was
before they lost to the Blazers. [NBA.com
Kyle Korver made it to TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal’s lowlights segment called “Shaqtin’ a Fool” for grabbing a Damian Lillard airball while standing out of bounds and thus returning possession to the Blazers. Korver at least was able to have a laugh about it and keep it in perspective:
“Damian Lillard shot it, right? Yeah. I thought he probably made it. I lost a lot of respect for him,” Korver said. “Where it dropped, I was trying to box somebody out, and it had fallen right there, and I figured it went in. So I’m on ‘Shaqtin’ a Fool’? It’s my first time, so I’m alright.”
Two games of the Jazz’s latest four-game homestand are down, and there are two more to go. The first of those comes tonight against the Denver Nuggets, presently the No. 2 team in the West. Then, on Friday, the Jazz host Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves. They actually get the T-wolves in consecutive games, as they’ll be in Minneapolis on Sunday for the first of two straight road games. After that, they’ll see the Blazers again, with a game in Portland next Wednesday.