SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – There is more excitement around the Utah Jazz than there has been in perhaps two decades.
But as highly regarded as this Jazz team is, they’re not getting caught up in all the hype.
“People are going to say whatever they’re going to say,” said Donovan Mitchell at the Jazz annual Media Day. “But, for us, we have to start over really. I don’t think any guy in the locker room is saying, oh we’re this in the West or we’re that or we could be here. I think that’s setting yourself up for failure if you start to look too far ahead.”
“Obviously, the ultimate goal is to win a championship,” said new point guard Mike Conley. “But we’re not fooling ourselves like we’ve been there and done that.”
The biggest acquisition this off-season was Conley, who had played his entire 12-year NBA career in Memphis, but has already become a leader on this team.
“I’m just coming here to be myself,” Conley said. “I’m not going to try to come in and be overwhelming or take over the room because these guys have played together for a while. Donovan has turned into a great leader, Joe is a great leader, Rudy, all these guys. I demand a lot out of myself, which means I demand a lot out of the team.”
“Mike Conley is an elite point guard,” said head coach Quin Snyder. “He impacts the game, he’s an excellent shooter. I think he’s excited to play pick and roll. I’m excited to see him connect with other guys on our team and lead.”
Bojan Bogdanovic comes over from Indiana, where he averaged 18 points per game last season, and gives the Jazz a unique three-point weapon in a guy that can stretch the floor that they’ve lacked in recent years.
“I’m really excited to be a part of this team,” Bogdanovic said. “This is probably the best team that I’ve ever been a part of. There is still a long season in front of us, but I think that every other player that signed with the Jazz this summer brings playoff experience.”
Then add in NBA veterans like Ed Davis and Jeff Green, and the biggest challenge at the beginning of the season may be getting all the new players to mesh together.
But with all the experience on the team, the Jazz don’t see it as a problem.
“I think it’s going to be an easy, smooth transition,” Davis said. “It has already started. We’ve been here the last couple of weeks, and being around the guys, I think it’s going to be a smooth easy transition.”
“You’ve got guys that are willing to put aside egos and do whatever it takes to win,” said Green. “It makes everything easy when the season starts.”
Snyder will be tasked with the challenge of finding the right lineups to play, but he says have an abundance of talent isn’t a problem at all.
“Having multiple threats is something that can really be to our advantage if we play to it,” he said. “I think these guys want to play that way.”
The Jazz tip off the preseason Saturday night against Adelaide.