INSIDER – Two plays from Gobert show his new strength

The basketball world was murmuring about Rudy Gobert and his 20 rebounds this morning. Last year, Rudy came to the Jazz with an almost unfathomable 9-foot-7 standing reach. The potential was obvious. The work that was going to have to be done was equally obvious.

If you go back to what the Jazz coaches and front office said about Rudy last year, every comment was laced with how he likes the game and how he’s willing to work. The work is paying off. Utah’s strength and conditioning staff of Mark McKown and Isaiah Wright built a solid plan for Gobert, and the work is coming to fruition.

Two plays last night best exemplify the newly found strength of Rudy Gobert. The most obvious was an incredible offensive rebound amongst four Los Angeles players. Rudy’s length was able to get him the first contact on the ball. He then proceeds to tap it a few more times before pulling it out of the crowd. The key here was that he was on balance for the entire play. A year ago, he wouldn’t have been able to stay with the play while taking the contact to the lower half of his body.

The second play was a fast break where Rudy sprinted with great alacrity past the defense and got a pass from Ian Clark. Rudy, though, was running so fast with such big strides that there was no way he was going to be able to catch the pass and in one continuous motion put the ball in the basket. Instead, Rudy made the catch and remarkably was able to control his body well enough to come to a complete stop and make a move to the hoop. Again, a year ago I doubt he had the body control to be able to make the catch, and even if he made the catch he likely would have traveled.

Rudy deserves the credit on these plays. He came to the NBA with the intention of being very good, and he’s not satisfied with a lesser role. In addition, the work of McKown and Wright is key to a successful franchise. It often goes without great recognition, but it’s some of the most important work that’s done behind the scenes.

INSIDER GAMEDAY Q&A – Is Hayward buried into a stat sheet?

I’m going to try to add another feature to my Jazz coverage at Locked on Jazz. It’s a simple gameday Q&A. I’ll accept questions at the # for the day’s game. Today is #LACatUTA. This is a great way to follow the game with other Jazz fans.

10-13 Question 2

Honestly, Rick I have not been in the locker room this season after a game. Our radio seating makes that much more difficult in some arenas than it used to be.

However, I’m not sure I see this as a big issue. Every player has a stat sheet waiting for him at the end of the game on his chair when he comes into the locker room. There’s a great story from last year when Rudy Gay no longer wanted them on the chairs in Toronto—maybe so his teammates couldn’t see how many shots he was taking.

Gordon has moved his locker, along with Derrick, into the middle of the locker room in order to have a larger influence on the room.

The premise of the question, however, might not be as big of a deal as it sounds. Having your head in the stat sheet may have simply been a way to stay within himself during frustrating times. This season he’ll need to be a leader, but sometimes leadership is silent as well.

INSIDER GAMEDAY Q&A – What is Coach Snyder doing that is original?

I’m going to try to add another feature to my Jazz coverage at Locked on Jazz. It’s a simple gameday Q&A. I’ll accept questions at the # for the day’s game. Today is #LACatUTA. This is a great way to follow the game with other Jazz fans.

10-13 question 1

Westin, I have to be a little careful here, because some of this might be an advantage to the Jazz until the rest of the league gets the scouting report. Being somewhat vague, I would tell you how we run the floor offensively is very creative and different. In addition, his out-of-timeout action in the opening two games has had some wrinkles that are unique to Coach Snyder and his coaching beliefs. The most general way I can answer this is Coach Snyder strongly believes in making the opposition think in the midst of the action and does a lot to make that happen.

INSIDER – Hayward envisions easier opportunities

When Gordon Hayward left EnergySolutions Arena last year at Locker clear-out, he was a frustrated man. For the first time, he had voiced specific frustration about the offense.   Hayward talked about a lack of tempo and a lack of space.

Today, Hayward voiced that he hopes those things have changed.

“With the spacing it makes everything easier on us,” Hayward said. “Things aren’t going to be as crowded, we aren’t going to be as down-to-the-wire on the shot clock where you have to make a play 1-on-1 to get a shot off. I envision something where the ball is moving around so much that you are getting a shot, or you attack or make a pass. It’s going to make the decision-making easier.”

Last year, the Jazz used 33% of their possessions in the final 10 seconds of the shot clock—the most of any team in the NBA. This year, Quin Snyder has talked about playing with pace. The pace is not only moving the ball up the floor quickly to get into the offense, but also making plays and decisions with alacrity. The vision is that with this pace the Jazz can get an edge and then continue to exploit more and more as the possession develops.

INSIDER – Obvious unselfishness

Quin Snyder revealed a phrase with the media today that his players will hear time and time again this season: “obvious unselfishness.”

“The biggest thing I have asked from them is to be unselfish—to have obvious unselfishness, to have it resonate with people that have watched us practice,” Snyder said.

Each of the last two days have had great examples of “obvious unselfishness.” Yesterday in the 4-on-4 setting, Derrick Favors took a pass off the pick-and-roll on the right side of the lane. Favors caught it in traffic in the lane and rather than forcing the shot, he immediately moved the pass to the corner for a wide open 3-pointer. For Snyder, that is “obvious unselfishness.”

Today, the Jazz were playing a high-intensity 5-on-5 where the defense must get three straight stops. The defense accomplished this on a missed three attempt by Rodney Hood, but Snyder was ecstatic about the play Enes Kanter had just made.

Kanter caught the ball on the left block and started a move to the middle. However, the space evaporated. Kanter, who had only eight assists as a rookie and averaged 0.9 per game last year, fired the ball to the top of the key to Hood for a wide-open look. It was “obvious unselfishness.”