The Utah Jazz held their first practice of the 2018-19, and it was a full house.
In addition to the regular rotation players, the Jazz also have a host of roster hopeful’s that will likely end up with the team’s G-League affiliate by the time the regular season roles around. From what I witnessed, here is how the groups were paired of into units.
Donovan Mitchell/Jae Crowder/Grayson Allen
Ricky Rubio/Alec Burks
Royce O’Neale/Dante Exum
Tony Bradley/Derrick Favors
Joe Ingles/Georges Niang
Thabo Sefolosha solo
Rudy Gobert was talking to Alex Jensen
Raul Neto is out with a hamstring injury
While you can’t read too much into shooting in practice, Grayson Allen looks like a very natural shooting, with his shot going up very easily, and barely moving the net when it falls. I don’t think he’ll play a lot for the Jazz this season, but adding a high caliber shooter to the backcourt would be a big deal for a roster that doesn’t have a legit 40% three point shooter at either guard spot.
Rudy Gobert is bigger than he was last year, which has been the case each season for the star center. I don’t want to say Gobert’s commitment got improving in the off season is rivaling Karl Malone, but he might be the best since then. Gobert sincerely wants to be one of the best players. Continuing to get stronger will make him more durable, and a better finisher offensively.
Jae Crowder is down 14 lbs from last season. Crowder said he can feel the difference more on the defensive end than offensive end, and I would imagine the Jazz asked him to drop weight to improve his lateral quickness on switches defensively. For the defensive reputation Crowder has, he got burned defensively quite often on the perimeter last season, if he can reduce the frequency of those errors he’ll improve considerably.
For more photos, and thoughts on Jazz practice, follow me on twitter @BensHoops.
— Ben Anderson (@BensHoops) September 25, 2018
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