The Zions Bank Basketball Campus has been rocking the past two days.
Since the Utah Jazz returned home from their two-game preseason road trip in Texas they’ve ramped up the intensity of their practices, and with the exception of Rudy Gay, who continues to rehab from offseason surgery, the Jazz have had all of their rotational players fully available.
Bojan Bogdanovic, who was nursing a sore shoulder through training camp and the first two preseason games, rejoined the team as a full participant in practice on Friday and Saturday.
“It’s great and he’s looking good,” Rudy Gobert said of Bogdanovic. “He’s a huge part of our team and it’s great to see him back. Hopefully we can have a healthy season, knock on wood.”
As the Jazz prepare for their final two preseason games against the New Orleans Pelicans and Milwaukee Bucks on Monday and Wednesday, players have reported that practices have been ultra competitive with heavy doses of full-contact scrimmages.
“Right now the competition level is super high,” Jordan Clarkson said. “We ain’t got Grade-A refs, so we’re in there beating each other up. People are coming out with bloody lips, scratches and stuff. It’s going to get us ready and physical for when that time is going to come, when we need to play like that.”
For many of the younger and deeper bench players these practices and preseason games are crucial for their development. For the main rotational players, no matter how many minutes they actually play in the exhibition games, the nature of their practice time serves as a building block toward the regular season.
“Practice has been competitive. It puts you in a good mindset that you want to have, and I think they’ve been purposeful,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. “We want to be really intentional about how we’re spending our time.”
When the season tips off on Oct. 20 at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Jazz want to have done everything they can to be ready for the task ahead. And from the sound of it, they’re leaving it all out on the court.