SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – It was supposed to be a championship caliber team. But the Utah Jazz are leaving the NBA playoffs early once again.
When Bojan Bogdanovic’s three-pointer bounced off the rim in the final seconds last night, the Jazz season came to a disappointing end, losing in six games to the Dallas Mavericks, 98-96.
“I was wide open,” said Bogdanovic. “The team trusted me and unfortunately I missed the shot but it was a great look.”
“That’s a tough one,” head coach Quin Snyder said about the loss. “I think we felt like we were playing well enough to win this game.”
The Jazz now head into what could be an extremely tumultuous off-season. Will the Jazz trade either Rudy Gobert or Donovan Mitchell? Will Quin Snyder be back? Has this team reached its peak?
On this night, those questions came too soon to answer.
“It’s just early, we’re not used to finish so early,” said Gobert. “Just a lot of disappointment.”
“We fell short of our goal,” Mitchell said. “This hurts, I’m not gonna lie.”
“We had high hopes, high expectations to be playing,” added Jordan Clarkson. “It’s just tough losing in the first round like this.”
Coming off a season filled with injuries, Covid absences, and tensions in the locker room, the Jazz need to figure out just went wrong.
“When you look back, obviously frustrating, you try to ask yourself, why?” Gobert said. “Why can’t we just be consistent? I think this year is the first year that at times we really lost our identity.”
“A lot of hurdles for us, things that we just didn’t overcome, adversity that championship teams overcome,” Mitchell said. “We weren’t able to do that, whether it was mentally or physically, and that’s on us. That’s on us as a group.”
Some people say that’s the coach’s fault, and it’s time for a change. But it sounds like the team doesn’t feel that way.
“[Snyder] is one of the best coaches in the league,” said general manager Justin Zanik. “There’s no one I’d rather partner with.”
“This has been a great team to coach and I love these guys,” Snyder said. “You want the result to be different.”
Snyder also has the support of the players.
“I love my time with Quin,” Gobert said. “There’s always going to be talk about a lot of things, especially when you have a disappointing ending like we had this season.”
“People got to look out for themselves,” Clarkson said. “This is a business, but I love playing for coach Quin.”
“Love Quin,” said Mitchell. “Quin is a guy that, there’s talk, but I think he’s done a phenomenal job of continuing to lead us as a group and I love coach Quin.”
As far as which players will be back next year, that’s a topic for the offseason.
“I’m a competitor and I feel like if you give us another crack at it,” Mitchell said. “We can go get it, but in the same token, there’s things that could change. I’m not ready to discuss that to be honest with you right now.”
“This group, we’ve done so many things together,” said Royce O’Neale, who has been the subject of trade rumors himself. “Who cares what everybody else says, we’re just going to stay together.”
“I want to win,” said Gobert. “When I came here nine years ago, my goal was to win a championship here, and nothing has changed.”