Utah Jazz Making Conley’s Offensive Dreams Come True
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After playing on a Memphis Grizzlies offense that was rated 27 last season, Utah’s offense is like a dream come true for Mike Conley. He seemed to become a lot more comfortable in the system against New Orleans.
Utah’s first basket was a Conley alley-oop to Rudy Gobert. He made his first two shots in the 128-127 loss to the Pelicans. This after he went scoreless against Milwaukee last week.
“Offensively, that’s how I’ve always dreamed of playing basketball,” said Conley before Utah’s preseason game against Sacramento, “and being a part of teams that do that, not just one or two plays in a game, but every possession down…That’s as pure as the game can get for me. So I love it and I know a lot of the guys had some fun.”
Conley not only scored 13 points but dished out 7 assists in his 23 minutes of play. He said the lanes to pass the ball on offense were wide open.
“It starts with our bigs setting great screens and giving us room to operate and with the lanes being open it creates opportunities for us to just be basketball players, and for me, I’m not the tallest guy, so any little bit of vision is great for me to be able to attack the rim or get guys open.”
The Jazz had 37 assists on 49 made baskets against New Orleans.
“I think the biggest thing is unselfishness,” said Conley’s backcourt running mate Donovan Mitchell. “There were times when we overpassed. I think that is just a testament to the guys that we have and the mindset that we all have…The best way to score to get open shots is to move the ball.”
Conley was the main ball handler when he played in Memphis, but he’s not bothered by the fact that he’s not always bringing the ball up the court in this Jazz offense.
“I really prefer having multiple ball handlers…I’m a basketball player. I know how to play off the ball. I know how to cut and set screens. And that’s why I’m here, to just be a part of the system,” Conley said.
In fact, the 32-year old likes the fact that the offense doesn’t always run through him and that he can go to the corner, rest a bit and be a decoy for all the other offensive threats. Conley said this type of offense will keep him fresh for when he needs to make plays at the end of games.
Defensively, the Jazz still need some work but Conley believes that over time they’ll improve as they continue to play together.
Eventually, Conley wants he and his teammates to become so comfortable they don’t need to talk much to be on the same page. Don’t expect it by the time the Jazz play Oklahoma City in the first regular-season game.
“That can take a half a season or a (whole) season. It just depends on the guys you have in house. We have a good group of guys that take the defensive end seriously and they are going to do their best to expedite on the defensive end,” Conley concluded.