Eye on the prize: Why accountability matters so much in Jazz’s quest for a title

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) listens to coach Quin Snyder during an preseason game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) listens to Jazz coach Quin Snyder during an NBA preseason game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. The Jazz won 127-96. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

The Utah Jazz have proven themselves in the regular season, but they’re still chasing the dream of winning an NBA title. Could that dream be realized in 2021-22 season?

Donovan Mitchell used to dream of someday becoming an NBA star.

Today, it’s not uncommon for him to see kids wearing his jersey, wearing his signature sneakers, he’s one of the most intriguing and dynamic young stars in the league. It really is a dream come true … almost.

You’d be hard-pressed to find an NBA player who says their dream was to make it to the NBA and be a regular-season champion. That’s not the goal. The ultimate dream is to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy overhead after winning the NBA Finals, to be a part of a ring ceremony, to raise a championship banner in an arena. That’s the dream, and Mitchell has imagined what it would be like to win a title not just with any NBA team, but with the Utah Jazz.

“The fact that it’s not just the finals, but it’d be the first one in (team) history,” Mitchell said when explaining what it’s like imagining winning a title. “It’s just one of those things that puts a smile on your face.”

In order to achieve that dream, the Jazz will need to take advantage of the rare opportunity they have in front of them. The team is loaded with players who are capable of winning and they are all aware that the window available to them won’t last forever.

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The Jazz have proven that they are a team that can dominate in the regular season. They are widely expected to be one of the top teams in the Western Conference through the regular season and to have a top seed going into the playoffs. But that regular-season success means nothing if they can’t take things to the next level. First- or second-round playoff exits will not cut it. They have to prove that they’re more than just a great regular-season team.

“After last year — obviously falling short — after the regular season that we had it’s obviously disappointing,” Joe Ingles said. “The regular season is great, but you don’t get anything for winning the regular season. You want to win in the playoffs.”

Looking back while moving forward

The Jazz held training camp in Las Vegas for a couple of reasons. First, Jazz coach Quin Snyder wanted to give the team a chance to bond in a bit of an isolated environment. Second, there were some finishing touches on renovations at Zions Bank Basketball Campus that needed to be wrapped up. And finally, Snyder wanted the team to process what happened last season, to really talk it through.

Certainly there are things that can be taken …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News


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