Newcomers Make Good Impression in Open Practice
If you’ve ever wondered what a coach might say to one of his players during a practice, the Utah Jazz were able to provide you with that answer on Saturday afternoon.
In an unprecedented move, thousands of fans were able to get an in-depth look at head coach Quin Snyder and the team thanks to the Utah Jazz Open Practice on The Road To Tipoff, presented by Udo.
“For the Jazz fans that don’t have an opportunity to see behind the curtain, so to speak, it gives you a little bit of an idea of what’s going on,” Snyder said.
Over the course of an hour, fans watched the final part of a scrimmage on Zoom where they were able to get their first glimpses of Utah’s 2021-22 roster.
The open practice started with a live-mic moment with Snyder, understanding how he converses and connects with the players. Apart from listening to him explain different nuances and specific techniques, the best part was a short snippet with Joe Ingles in which he proclaimed to Ingles, “I’m the ref.”
While the one-hour Zoom session was focused solely on the team scrimmage, Craig Bolerjack and Thurl Bailey broke down the upcoming season for the team. They talked about last year’s struggles in the playoffs, the new additions for this season, and what the expected rotation can be.
Utah digital reporter Nayo Campbell also joined multiple times throughout the broadcast, giving viewers an in-depth look at what training camp in Las Vegas was like and answering questions from the fans.
One of the biggest takeaways from the practice was how promising rookie Jared Butler looked.
There were rumors that he was one of the breakout stars of camp thanks to his knowledge and NBA-ready skill set. He appeared to confirm those rumors as he made several impressive moves, including a catch-and-shoot three-pointer and an impressive layup in traffic over Rudy Gobert.
Fellow newcomer Eric Paschall also impressed with his big frame, looking very comfortable down on the block and driving to the hoop with aggression and strength—including a highlight where he bullied his childhood best friend Donovan Mitchell in the lane for an easy score.
The battle of the big men appeared to be a hot topic amongst fans as Gobert and free agent addition Hassan Whiteside continually pushed each other inside. While both were able to score and rebound efficiently, it was impressive to see Whiteside hold his own against the three-time defensive player of the year.
“His half roll, his short roll, obviously his floater,” Mitchell said of Whiteside. “He’s done it against us, he’s done it for his whole career, I think that’s one thing that he brings.”
The Jazz will now finish final preparations before they hit the road for one of two preseason games in Texas next week. Utah starts the preseason on Monday at San Antonio, with tipoff set for 6:30 p.m. MST. Fans can listen to the on-air broadcast on KSL radio.