The first practice for the Utah Jazz was drills intensive. Coach Quin Snyder looked to build the foundations of the team by reviewing the principles of who they were going to be offensively and defensively. In what order depended if you asked the rookie or the head coach.
Donovan Mitchell met with the media after his first NBA practice and when asked if Coach Snyder had a message in his first practice he responded, “big on getting up the floor and fast-paced basketball.”
When Coach Snyder was asked about this comment he broke a smile and wondered “what we worked on was defense. The majority of the practice was reminding ourselves of who we are defensively.”
Coach Snyder continued saying “we have depth and we need to figure out how to use our depth, that is something that can be a strength of ours whether it is defensively or scoring off our defense.”
Certainty, Mitchell is correct in what he said as well. The two comments together are revealing to how Snyder is planning on building this team. The foundation of the Utah Jazz will be who they are defensively. Elite defensive teams win in the NBA, no differently than elite offensive teams just with much less fanfare.
At the same time, the depth Snyder refers to may allow for a more aggressive defensive with intentions of creating scoring opportunities defensively. Last year, the Jazz ranked 26th in the NBA in forcing turnover and 25th in points off of turnovers.
A more aggressive defense using the Jazz roster, loaded with 13 viable rotation players, may be able to cause those fast-paced basketball opportunities of which Mitchell was referring. Those that have alluded the Jazz in the past seasons.
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