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Jazz Remain Positive Despite Preseason Problems

Bojan Bogdanovic #44 of the Utah Jazz attempts to drive past Brendan Teys #7 of the Adelaide 36ers at Vivint Smart Home Arena on October 5, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah.(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Defense may be the obvious issue, but the Utah Jazz also needs to work on cohesiveness and chemistry after losing their final preseason game.

The team is probably tired of talking about their defensive woes, but it’s hard to ignore when one of last season’s top NBA defensive teams has the worst defensive rating this preseason. They have given up over 126 points a game against NBA competition.

“Maybe everyone thought it was going to be easy,” said Rudy Gobert. “We signed a few guys…and we think everything is going to be great but that’s not how it works. It’s basketball. It’s the NBA.  Everyone that comes into our building wants to kick our a–.”

Gobert said that’s what happens when you are a good team. The two-time NBA defensive player of the year sees their defensive lapses as a motivating factor. He believes the fix is simple, yet hard at the same time.

“We have to just keep doing what we do. There is no magic. We have to do everything we do a little bit better and every time things go wrong, we shouldn’t doubt what we do…Just protect the rim, protect the 3-point line and be a physical team,” said Gobert.

Head coach Quin Snyder wants to see his team impose their will on opponents. He did not see enough of that against Portland. Before the game against the Blazers, Snyder was hopeful the team’s defense would improve because the team is made up of high character guys who want to play good defense.

Donovan Mitchell is just glad that they’ve recognized their biggest weakness so that they can fix it.

“You know, for us, it puts a lot more spotlight on what we need to do and puts a lot more urgency behind it and out of my three years here, this is the preseason that we have all been on the same page as far as…this is what we need to do,” Mitchell said.

While the team’s defense has been the obvious weakness, Mitchell said there are still other nuances of the game they need to work on before the regular season begins on October 23 against Oklahoma City.

“I think we just need to get comfortable with each other.  We’ve been in games that we could have won if we had made more shots…It’s getting to know each other, get more comfortable with where guys are getting their shots from, where guys need to be defensively.  I think that will be the biggest thing.”

Can they find that comfort level in less than a week?  Mitchell remained positive that it would happen.

“For us it’s just continuing to build…We have guys with (plenty) of experience…Now it’s just a matter of locking in and then we will be in good shape,” he concluded.

The Jazz Notes podcast drops at least weekly and can be found at KSLSports.com, the KSL Newsradio app, Apple Podcasts or other podcast providers.