Utah Jazz: 3 important takeaways from Media Day

Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Utah Jazz Media Day came and went on Monday, and left fans of the team with an irresistible sense of optimism. It’s a common sentiment across the National Basketball Association, as Media Day represents an opportunity for teams to communicate their goals and vision for the season.

That’s something that will get every fanbase ready for the season. Yesterday’s Media Day was uniquely exciting in that it was the first opportunity members of the Utah Jazz have had in 18 months to answer questions in person, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

That creates a perfect recipe for hype, but there’s substance behind any amount of excitement felt by Jazz nation. Here are 3 key takeaways from media day that should have fans in Salt Lake City more-than-prepared for the 2021-22 NBA season.

Utah Jazz cohesion

So, about that COVID-19 pandemic.

The Utah Jazz won’t have any additional drama on-or-off the floor this year as a result of it. The team took the opportunity on media day to announce that their roster was 100% vaccinated.

“We are 100 percent vaccinated, so very comfortable” said General Manager Justin Zanik when asked how comfortable he was with his team’s protection from the virus.

“Our guys, our staff is committed”.

Regardless of one’s personal feelings about the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s nice when your team is 100% anything. If the Utah Jazz do roster any anti-vaxxers, it’s obvious that they didn’t feel strongly enough about the issue to become a voice of dissent among their teammates.

That counts during an NBA season where there will inevitably be discord in some locker rooms over what has become a contentious political issue. High-profile players like Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal, Jonathan Isaac and Andrew Wiggins have all publicly denounced the vaccine, and it isn’t difficult to imagine their decisions creating tension with teammates.

No such tension will exist in the Utah Jazz locker room, and heading into a season where the team will be expected to compete for the NBA Championship, that’s a major relief.

Utah Jazz focus

When veteran Utah Jazz players spoke on Monday, a coherent theme emerged: this is a veteran team, their NBA title window is narrow, and it’s time to capitalize on it.

“This window won’t be here forever. We have to take advantage of each day, each opportunity” said veteran floor general Mike Conley Jr.

“The goal is to be the last team standing” added Donovan Mitchell.

Even Rudy Gobert, fresh from winning a meaningful silver medal in Olympic play with his home country of France, doesn’t sound like he’ll be satisfied with his accomplishments this year without an NBA title.

“What we did for the country was huge for the game of basketball in France, it was great, (but) we have bigger goals like winning a championship” said the Stifle Tower.

It should come as no surprise that an aging, deep, talented team like the Utah Jazz are focused on an NBA championship, but it should inspire the confidence of their fanbase to have that fact reaffirmed.

Utah Jazz newcomers

By all appearances, the incoming Jazzmen are just as focused on contributing to a championship run as the incumbent members.

“I still have a purpose” said newly-rostered Utah Jazz member Rudy Gay on Media Day.

“I want to win, I want to be part of a champion”.

Incoming backup center Hassan Whiteside sounded satisfied to be joining a veteran outfit heading into his 11th season as a pro.

“A lot of these guys are around my age. In Sacramento, I think I was the oldest guy there” said the veteran rim protector.

Indeed, it feels like the newest veteran additions to the Jazz are ready to gear up for an exciting season, but the youth movement is in full swing as well.

Tony Jones, who covers the Utah Jazz for the Athletic, was present at the conference and confirmed that Zanik has high expectations for incoming rookie Jared Butler as well.

Butler is certainly in a position to fill a rotational need for Head Coach Quin Snyder, if the young guard is up for the task.

Next. 4 Storylines to watch for in Jazz training camp. dark

Regardless of the rookie’s readiness level, it seemed apparent on media day that the Utah Jazz as a whole are ready to attack this season as a unit, with the singular goal of an NBA Championship being shared throughout the entire organization.