Pregame Post-Ups: Jerebko Impacting Jazz, Just as he Did C's
Friday, Dec. 15 - Jazz at Celtics
Pregame – Jerebko Impacting Jazz, Just as he Did C's
BOSTON – Jonas Jerebko enjoyed some of the greatest moments of his NBA career while playing for the Boston Celtics. He spent much of Friday reliving those memories as he prepared to take the TD Garden court for the first time as a member of the Utah Jazz.
“I had three great seasons here,” Jerebko said Friday morning ahead the matchup with his former team. “We made the Playoffs every year, the fans are great here, the organization is great, I had good teammates, good coaches. I’ve got all good memories from here.”
Celtics coach Brad Stevens has nothing but positive memories about the Swedish swingman, as well. Shortly ahead of Friday’s tip-off, Stevens fondly recalled when Boston acquired Jerebko from Detroit just moments before the 2015 trade deadline. It was a hectic day that also included the last-minute acquisitions of Isaiah Thomas and Gigi Datome.
Jerebko, with his constant energy and ability to space the floor, would quickly become a weapon for the Celtics, especially during the Playoffs when he had the tendancy to turn his game up a notch.
“He had that great playoff series against Atlanta (in 2016) when he became a starter for us,” Stevens recalled. “And then last year, I thought he was really critical to help us beat Chicago in the first round. And then obviously the game in Cleveland (Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals) that we ended up winning, we don’t win without him (10 points, five rebounds and a plus-22 rating during 12 minutes of action).”
Jerebko, a free agent this past summer, left the Celtics to sign with the Jazz. He didn’t see much playing time at the beginning of Utah's season, appearing in seven of the team’s first 12 games while averaging 2.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 8.8 minutes of play.
But he didn’t give up in his pursuit of a larger role.
“Jonas knew coming in that there may not be a lot of minutes for him at the start,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder,” and that’s something that he was willing to live with, but maybe not accept entirely, in a good way, because he was going to continue to compete.”
Jerebko’s relentless work ethic gained him a significant workload increase when Joe Johnson was sidelined with a wrist injury. He has now started 10 of the last 15 games, while averaging 8.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG and 21.1 MPG.
“For us, his energy and activity have been a boost defensively,” said Snyder. “And then I think his ability to move the ball – both to move the ball and move without the ball – have been things that he’s really demonstrate and that have helped us.
“He is a good rebounder, a good passer, just a solid basketball player,” the coach continued. “I think he’s able to take advantage of the opportunities that he has, and, as a result, oftentimes those opportunities grow.”
Just like the way things unfolded for him during his memorable two and a half seasons in Boston.
- Taylor Snow