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Utah Jazz looking to answer questions as they begin intersquad scrimmages in Orlando
ORLANDO • For the past two weeks, the Utah Jazz have been in a bubble inside The Bubble. The team’s first 15 days on the NBA campus here in Florida have been a mini-training camp, with players battling their teammates each day in practice.
That changes now.
The Jazz will play three scrimmages over the next six days, as Rudy Gobert and company look to test themselves against outside competition for the first time since March.
“It should be fun to get back out there and play against another team,” Gobert said.
Here are a few things to watch:
HOW DO YOU REPLACE BOJAN?
Bogdanovic’s season-ending wrist surgery leaves a giant hole in the Jazz’s lineup. The Croatian sharpshooter was averaging 20 points a game during his first season in Utah.
“Without Bojan our team getting adjusted to who we are right now,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said.
Obviously, that adjustment won’t be as simple as plugging another player into Bogdanovic’s spot. Instead, his production will likely be filled by committee—and with an emphasis on a faster tempo.
“When you lose someone like Bojan, it’s definitely tough,” All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell said. “We’re not looking it as a loss but looking for opportunities to fill in. “Obviously with myself, Joe, JC, Mike, Rudy … We’ve got to go out there and continue to elevate our games on both ends.”
The Jazz get smaller with Bogdanovic missing. So they may try to get faster instead.
“We’ve tried to play that way in practice and push the ball,” Joe Ingles said. “Everyone can handle, everyone can push, everyone can rebound the ball. … I think it can be a really dangerous team playing like that.”
WHAT DOES THE COACHING STAFF WANT TO SEE TODAY?
Snyder tipped off practices in Central Florida wanting his players to play freely instead of focusing on more detail-oriented game planning.
That should carry over into these scrimmages.
“When we got here, we felt like we needed to play a lot, whether it be scrimmage or up and down on both ends just to kind of get a feel for who our group is and how they interact,” Snyder said. “In this game, I think we need to do the same philosophy as far as just playing, playing the way that we play, defending the way that we want to defend.”
HOW DEEP WILL THE ROTATION BE?
This first scrimmage will be shorter than a standard NBA game, with four 10-minute quarters. Even still, it stands to reason that Jazz will go deeper into the bench than usual as guys get their first minutes against another team since March.
“We want to be smart about how much we play our guys, trying to get out of it as much as we can but also stay healthy,” Snyder said.
That could mean some extra looks at Juwan Morgan, Miye Oni, Jarrell Brantley and Rayjon Tucker. It will also be a chance for Snyder to tinker with his regular rotation guys.
“A lot of guys have played together before over the course of the year. I’d like to see different combinations play,” Snyder said. “You’re not looking at a typical rotation because it’s only 10 minutes.”
WILL IT BE WEIRD WITHOUT FANS?
The arenas here at ESPN’S Wide World of Sports Complex will have a different feel than playing in front of 19,000 fans at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
“The crowd, particularly at home, gives you a lift and can help provide momentum and energy in situations when you’re tired,” Snyder said. “That’s obviously not going to be there, so you’ve got to find other ways to accomplish that.”
Gobert isn’t worried.
“We practice every day without fans. When we’re on the court, we kind of zone in and kind of forget what’s around,” he said. “For me personally, I don’t think it’s going to make a big difference.
July 23 — Suns at Jazz, 6 p.m. MT
July 25 — Heat at Jazz, 2 p.m. MT (tape delayed until 7 p.m.)
July 27 — Jazz at Nets, 3:30 p.m. MT
All scrimmages to be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet and NBA League Pass.