SALT LAKE CITY — Excitement was riding high among Utah Jazz fans on Wednesday in anticipation of the team’s first preseason game against another NBA team, the Milwaukee Bucks.
Coming off a 52-point win over the Adelaide 36ers of Australia’s National Basketball League last Saturday without starters Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, fans were eager to see what a Utah team with high expectations looked like against more equal competition.
There’s always the qualifier that preseason doesn’t matter, but if Wednesday was any indication, the Jazz have a long way to go to become the type of team they want to become, as they led just once early and trailed by 18 at halftime before head coach Quin Snyder pulled his starters.
Utah wound up losing by 34, 133-99.
Here are three takeaways from the game.
- Mixed guard play
How well Conley and Mitchell will play together has been a big storyline since the summer, but in their first action together, it was a mixed bag. Conley struggled quite mightily in multiple areas, as he missed all six of his shot attempts and had just one steal, one rebound, zero assists and two turnovers in 17 minutes of play.
He did make all six of his free-throw attempts.
Mitchell, on the other hand, was very good, as he finished with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting with five rebounds, two assists and just one turnover in 18 minutes. More abstractly, he played at a nice pace and took what the Milwaukee defense gave him.
2. Other newcomer play mixed
Bojan Bogdanović, Jeff Green and Ed Davis were the other three starters as Gobert and Joe Ingles sat out, and the play of the trio was also mixed. Like Conley, Bogdanović struggled, as he finished 0-of-8 from the field with two rebounds and two turnovers in 17 minutes. Also like Conley, however, Bogdanović was perfect from the foul line, finishing 6-for-6.
On the plus side, Green and Davis were very good. Green finished with 7 points, six rebounds and two assists in 20 minutes as he did a variety of things, while Davis was tremendous on the boards, finishing with seven rebounds in 14 minutes.
3. Offensive initiation
Early in the game, it was apparent that the Jazz will have a number of players who can initiate the offense, as Conley, Mitchell, Bogdanović and Green all took turns doing so. Others such as Ingles, Dante Exum and Emmanuel Mudiay are also capable of it, which should allow Utah to be able to get into their offense easier than relying solely on point guards to get them set up.