SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah Jazz head to Orlando on Tuesday to continue practicing for the NBA restart later this month.
On Sunday, the media had a chance to hear from Jazz head coach Quin Snyder and guard Jordan Clarkson.
Clarkson has been active in the Black Lives Matter movement, and he said he had doubts about whether the return of basketball would overshadow the fight for social injustice.
“It isn’t the ideal situation for us to go play now but we are going in,” he said. “I know a lot of players have agendas and things they want to put out using their platform.”
Clarkson has used his platform by participating in marches and being active on social media. And he has strong words for those who think athletes should just stick to sports.
“I think that everybody who is saying shut up and dribble, maybe they should shut up and go look in the mirror,” he said. “Really think to yourself, there really is something wrong so you got to face it and something has to change, its a problem that everybody is noticing.”
Clarkson was one of the players who thought hard about not going to Orlando, for fear of risking injury coming in to a contract year.
“After I read through a lot of stuff, I don’t think the NBA is going to put us in any kind of harms way,” he said. “I want to go hoop! I’m bored sitting at home and ready to go back to work.”
But the players will be going to work without their teammate, Bojan Bogdanovic, who is out after having wrist surgery. So everyone is going to need to step up.
Head coach Quin Snyder says flexibility is going to be a key.
“I think one of the key things to this experience is being able to adapt,” Snyder said.
“All of us are going to have to step up, Royce, Mike, Donny, just go down the list,” Clarkson added. “That’s a big loss for us but everybody is going to have to step up and make it happen.”
Snyder always preaches defense, but he knows finding more offense with Bogdanovic out will be important as well.
“I think we need to get a lot of shots, I think we need to play with confidence,” Snyder said. “We’re a group that needs to be in attack mode.”
Even though the Jazz have yet to be on the court at the same time, Snyder feels like his team is ready to go.
“The enthusiasm right now is around playing basketball,” he said. “The format is foreign to everybody, it’s new, but the courts and the baskets and the balls are the same whether there are fans or not. Guys are going to compete and I know our guys are looking forward to having that opportunity.”
The Jazz will restart the NBA season July 30th against New Orleans.