UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Host Favors, Thunder In Season Opener

Oct 19, 2021, 5:23 PM
Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson defended by Thunder guards Lu Dort and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Pho...
Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson defended by Thunder guards Lu Dort and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz will open their 2021-22 campaign Wednesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Jazz are coming off one of the best seasons in franchise history having finished the 2020-21 season with the best record in the NBA at 52-20 before being eliminated by the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round of the playoffs.

The Thunder meanwhile are still in the midst of a long-term rebuild as they continue to develop their talented backcourt of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort.

Jazz Building Off Late Preseason Momentum

Jazz coach Quin Snyder took a conservative approach to the preseason letting several of his starters rest in anticipation of the regular season. Rudy Gobert missed each of the team’s first two preseason games and played in only two halves total over the four games stretch.

Joe Ingles played only the first half of game three, while Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley also sat out at different points during the preseason.

However, in the team’s final exhibition against the Milwaukee Bucks last Wednesday the Jazz appeared to be in midseason form.

Six players scored in double figures including Jordan Clarkson who finished with a team-high 18 points as the Jazz downed Milwaukee 124-120.

Thunder Looking For Growth

The Thunder finished last season with the second-worst record in the Western Conference, though the final standings don’t reflect the amount of talent the team has on its roster.

Oklahoma City lost 26 of their final 29 games in order to improve their draft pick, but despite their efforts, the Thunder ended up dropping to the sixth pick in the draft where they selected Australian Josh Giddey.

Giddey was impressive during the preseason finishing as the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.5 points per game while shooting 52 percent from the floor and 40 percent from the three-point line.

The Thunder were led by Dort who averaged 14.7 points per game while shooting an eye-popping 55 percent from the floor and 62 percent from the three-point line. Dort has been a thorn in the Jazz side during the first two years of his career having averaged 20.5 points, 1.2 assists, and 3.5 rebounds in four meetings.

In a bit of cruel irony, the Jazz will match up with longtime fan favorite Derrick Favors when they face the Thunder

Favors helped oversee a total Jazz rebuild after the departure of Deron Williams in 2011. After resigning with the Jazz in 2020, he was traded to the Thunder to trim the team’s luxury tax bill over the summer.

The Big Question

The most pressing question for the Jazz as they enter the season is whether they can find time for rookie Jared Butler in the rotation. The Baylor product finished the preseason as the Jazz leading scorer (18.3 ppg) and leading assist man (4.3 apg) but appears to be the 10th man in a traditional nine-man rotation.

“To the extent that Jared’s focus is on achieving something or showing something or playing X minutes or doing these things or that,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder cautioned, “that’s taking the focus away from what he needs to be doing which is just trying to get better.”

Will Snyder create room for the Jazz rookie in the regular rotation, or will he be left to find time filling in the cracks of the rotation? That’s a question for Jazz fans to monitor against the Oklahoma City Thunder and beyond.

Broadcast

The Jazz and Thunder will tip-off at 7 pm MT. The game will be broadcast KSL NewsRadio and The Zone Sports Radio Network and televised on AT&T Sports Net.

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

Utah Jazz

Donovan Mitchell - Utah Jazz - Memphis Grizzlies - Game 2...
Ben Anderson

Donovan Mitchell Enters Concussion Protocol

Donovan Mitchell was added to the team's injury list due to a concussion suffered late in the first half of the team's loss to the Lakers.
1 day ago
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)...
Ben Anderson

StatMuse Continues Bizarre Tirade Against Rudy Gobert

The popular social media outlet StatMuse continued their bizarre renegade against Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert on Monday.
1 day ago
Utah Jazz forward Danuel House Jr. defending against the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mark Blinch/Gett...
Ben Anderson

Jazz Re-Sign Danuel House Jr. To 10-Day Contract

The Utah Jazz are signing free-agent guard Danuel House Jr. to a 10-day contract following up the expiration of his hardship contract.
1 day ago
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert dunks (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)...
Ben Anderson

Jazz Offense Stalls In Ugly Loss To Lakers

The Utah Jazz momentum from Sunday's over the Denver Nuggets was dashed with an ugly 101-95 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. 
1 day ago
Utah Jazz forward Royce O'Neale Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert dunks (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty ...
Ben Anderson

Jazz Drop Fifth Game In Six Outings With Loss To Lakers

The Utah Jazz played sluggishly throughout the game failing to match the Los Angeles Lakers physicality in their 101-96 loss.
2 days ago
Mike Conley - Utah Jazz - Los Angeles Clippers...
Kyle Ireland

Jazz Guard Mike Conley Torches Lakers From Three-Point Range

Jazz guard Mike Conley torched the net from beyond the arc during Utah's game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
2 days ago
Jazz Host Favors, Thunder In Season Opener