Media reactions to Utah Jazz scrimmage at Hill Air Force Base

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - JULY 6: Dante Exum (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - JULY 6: Dante Exum (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Based on the exciting reactions of the media members in attendance, there were clearly several positive takeaways from the Utah Jazz’s scrimmage on Friday at Hill Air Force Base.

With the start of NBA preseason just around the corner, the Utah Jazz hit the court in some 5-on-5 action in a scrimmage at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah on Friday. It was both an awesome way to kick off the season as well as give a nod of appreciation to our service men and women stationed in Utah.

Although the contest was also supposed to be viewable on Facebook Live and, unfortunately the broadcast ran into some technical difficulties, so those of us who didn’t have the fortune of attending the event can only speculate on how the team truly looked. The good news, though, is that Utah’s slew of excellent media members were at the event in full force and offered some great insights on this Jazz team.

After perusing the tweets and/or articles of KSL’s Andy Larsen, the Salt Lake Tribune’s Kyle Goon and Tony Jones, the Deseret News’ Jody Genessy and Radio Voice of the Jazz David Locke, there were a number of reoccurring takeaways that, although it’s extremely early, ought to bode very well for the Jazz.

The first of those is that both Derrick Favors and Alec Burks appear to have their athleticism back. The injuries that both these guys have had to suffer through have been so discouraging, so to see them fully back in action would be an enormous blessing both for them individually and this Jazz team.

Below is a highlight of the incredible Burks dunk mentioned above:

We’ve pounded it into your head all summer that for the Jazz to continue to be a spectacular team, they’ll need several of their guys to step up in spectacular ways. Burks and especially Favors are two guys that absolutely fit that mold. They’ll need to remain healthy and provide a big lift offensively to keep Utah on track.

Another theme that several media members touched on was how solid Ricky Rubio’s passing was throughout the scrimmage and how impressive his vision was. This comes as little surprise as it has been Rubio’s best trait since joining the league, but experiencing it in person and while he’s alongside his new Jazz teammates has to be an impressive sight to behold.

On that same note, the Jazz apparently shared the ball extremely well. This team will find success by using its incredible depth and vast array of talent to make its whole better than the sum of its parts, so that’s excellent news to hear. The Jazz were good at sharing the rock last season and finding improvement in that area without a solidified go-to scorer like Gordon Hayward was last season will be absolutely vital.

Here’s what David Locke had to say about the ball movement:

"There was passing, more passing and then more passing. Quin Snyder has always talked about obvious unselfishness and it was present in this performance by the Jazz.   The passing was lead by Ricky Rubio.  Rubio made numerous passes in the opening 8 minute quarter that I have not seen from a Jazz point guard or player in years."

Another bit of insight that came as little surprise, but was still awesome to hear was that Rudy Gobert looked absolutely dominant. The Utah Jazz will need him to take yet another step forward and truly establish himself as their star player if they are to have any hope of returning to the postseason this year.

Although it was quite simply put, I particularly liked this tweet from Tony Jones:

Donovan Mitchell also received high praise and it appears that he could very well be an impactful offensive threat for the Jazz once he get a more comfortable grip on the NBA game. This excerpt from David Locke’s thoughts on the scrimmage really stood out to me:

"Donovan Mitchell scored the basketball. If the Jazz are in fact a team that struggles to score it is going to be hard to keep Mitchell off the floor.   His decision making and his ability to stay under control will dictate his playing time.  A great sign was when he got a pass from Joe Johnson at the angle left and looked as though he had every intention to shoot.   The defenders closed quicker than he anticipated and he flaired the pass back to Joe Johnson in the left corner who was wide open.  If Mitchell makes those decisions he gets a lot of time."

And these additional reactions also seemed to bode very well for the young Jazz rookie:

A few other players received some nice nods as well, including Tony Bradley, Joe Ingles, Raul Neto  and Dante Exum, among others, of course. Yes, taking insights from a scrimmage will be much different than when the Jazz actually hit the court against NBA opponents, but it’s hard to not get excited when the team seems to be receiving such praise and playing so well together.

All in all, there certainly appeared to be a lot of positive takeaways from the scrimmage and even more reasons to be absolutely ecstatic about the upcoming Utah Jazz season. If you’re looking for a little taste of your own of how the team looked, be sure to check out this highlight reel from the Utah Jazz Twitter here below:

When all was said and done, the gray team, which originally consisted of Utah’s projected starters Ricky Rubio, Rodney Hood, Joe Ingles, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert triumphed over the blue team whose starters were essentially the presumed second unit – Dante Exum, Donovan Mitchell, Thabo Sefolosha, Joe Johnson and Ekpe Udoh – by a score of 49-41. Although, it should be noted that a few players switched teams throughout the entertaining event.

Next: Utah Jazz notes: Sefolosha’s offense, Hayward’s first pitch at Fenway

Fans will get an even better look at the Utah Jazz as they’ll take the court against the Sydney Kings out of Australia on Monday, October 2nd at 7:00 PM MT. Although it won’t exactly be against NBA-caliber talent, it will still be fun to see both the newcomers and hopefully improved returning Jazzmen engage in actual competitive play.

And hopefully with each passing game this team will get more and more comfortable with one another until they’re ready to outperform expectations beginning with their regular season opener on October 18th against the Denver Nuggets.