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"I Want Our Group To Be Deeply Competitive" | Utah Announces Four-Game Preseason Schedule

Ryan Kostecka
Digital Content Writer

Announced on Wednesday morning, the Utah Jazz will begin preparations for the 2022-23 NBA season with four preseason games. 

Utah will kick things off with back-to-back road games, beginning with a trip north to face Toronto on Oct. 2 in Edmonton. They will finish out the road trip in Portland on Oct. 4

"We're excited to be featured in the preseason NBA Canada Series," said Jazz General Manager Justin Zanik. "It is a unique opportunity for our organization to engage with the league's Canadian fans in Edmonton. Our players and staff are looking forward to it."

The Jazz will return home to face San Antonio on Oct. 11 before wrapping up the preseason on Oct. 14 against Dallas in a rematch of last season's playoffs. 

Broadcast and ticket sale information will be announced at a later date.

It's been an exciting offseason for the Jazz as they've got numerous new pieces coming into the fold season — most notably being head coach Will Hardy. 

Just 34 years old, Hardy — replacing the departed Quin Snyder — was widely regarded in NBA circles as one of the young up-and-coming assistants in the league. With the hire, he becomes the ninth head coach in Jazz franchise history and the youngest active head coach in the NBA.

"Toughness, sacrifice, and passion are the three things that are most important to me," Hardy said. "I want our group to be deeply competitive and able to deal with adversity. I would like everybody to recognize that this is bigger than them individually. Everybody is going to have to get out of their comfort zone a little bit as we move forward."

His NBA journey began in San Antonio in 2010 as a video intern under the legendary Gregg Popovich. From 2013-15, he was the Spurs team video coordinator before being promoted to Popovich's coaching staff, where he also led San Antonio's summer league squads for four consecutive years. 

"I couldn't be happier that Will has been given the opportunity to lead one of the finest programs in the league in the Utah Jazz," Popovich said. "His intelligence, ability to teach, and most importantly his manner, brings immediate respect from players, management, and staff. He's a competitive young man who understands the responsibilities of the position, and no one will work harder to continue the success the Jazz have enjoyed for so long."

He got his big break last season when he joined the Boston Celtics as a lead assistant for head coach Ime Udoka. He helped continue the development of the Celtics' big three Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart. A team that reached the NBA Finals for the first time in over a decade.

"Will has a great basketball mind," Udoka said. "I've watched his growth from our time together in San Antonio and throughout our season in Boston. He was an integral part of what we accomplished and will do great things in Utah."

The other significant change is that longtime Jazzman Rudy Gobert will no longer be patrolling the paint for Utah on a nightly basis. 

CEO Danny Ainge and Zanik completed a trade with Minnesota that sent the three-time defensive player of the year to the Timberwolves in return for Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro, the draft rights to Walker Kessler, future draft picks, and a draft swap.

Even with the roster changes, Ainge and Zanik have said that the retooling of the roster isn't over yet. 

"We're still in free agency and the offseason, so we're going to look at every opportunity," Zanik said. "We still have a couple roster spots open and, obviously, the evaluation of Summer League and any other opportunities that come up to continue to do what we can to balance and improve the roster.