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What I’ll be watching closely once the Jazz are back in action

One question that needs answering: Will Quin Snyder play his main rotation as much as last season?

Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder puts his hand on the back of the head of Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell.
Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder puts his hand on the back of the head of Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) during Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals against the LA Clippers at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
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As we wade through this NBA-less part of the calendar, I still find myself thinking about what’s to come for each team, and especially the Utah Jazz, when training camp opens in late September.

When I sat down to write today’s newsletter, I thought that I would share a list of my thoughts and questions, but that started to get out of hand. So I looked through my notes and there was one question that I just don’t have an answer to. That’s what we’re focusing on today.

Is Quin Snyder going to play his main rotation as much as last season?

There was plenty of fan criticism for the way the Jazz head coach handled end-of-game rotations last season. It wasn’t just the fans, though. I shared in criticizing how long Snyder would keep his main rotation players in a game.

Even in a 20-point win, Snyder would sometimes have starters on the floor up until the last minute of the game. If the Jazz were up by 30, there were starters on the court up to the four-minute mark of the fourth quarter.

I really tried to be on Snyder’s side about this, and I was for a while. Especially when Donovan Mitchell mentioned that in those moments he isn’t thinking about the score of the current game, but already projecting forward to the next game and looked at those minutes as preparation for the next team.

I suppose I can understand some of the reasoning behind those decisions. You want to train players to never let go of a lead and the Jazz were fighting to keep the No. 1 seed. They wanted to leave nothing to chance and win as many games as possible.

Also, with limited time for practice, getting a little extra run seemed to be ... an idea, I guess. But all of that also meant that some of the developing players on the roster got a lot less run and fewer opportunities to get better.

Conventional wisdom would suggest that this season can’t be about a top seed or running players longer than necessary. At least you’d think that’s the case. With the need to conserve energy and health for the playoffs, you’d think that Snyder would have to change things. But will he?

Does that go against his coaching philosophy? Will the players be on board for changes?

I honestly don’t know what the answers are and it’s something that I’ll be watching closely as soon as the Jazz are back in action.

Stat of the week

The Jazz are scheduled to play 26 nationally televised games in the 2021-22 season. I did some digging to compare that number to other seasons and I can confidently say that it’s the most national TV appearances by the Jazz in the last 15 years, possibly more. I couldn’t confirm beyond 2007, but once you start getting back past then there were some seasons in which the Jazz were only on national television between three and six times in a whole season.

This week on ‘Unsalvageable’

Check out “Unsalvageable: A Utah Jazz Podcast,” hosted by Deseret News Utah Jazz beat reporter Sarah Todd and lifelong Jazz fan Greg Foster (no, not that Greg Foster). This week the “Unsalvageable” crew breaks down the Jazz’s Summer League performances and looks at the 2021-22 schedule.

New episodes come out every week. You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast and anywhere else you stream podcasts.

From the archives

Extra points

  • Donovan Mitchell’s defense, Jazz small ball, rotation changes and more (The Athletic)
  • Hassan Whiteside is the Utah Jazz’s new center enigma (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • 50 reasons to be excited for the Jazz 21-22 season (KSL Sports)

Around the league

Unvaccinated players could be facing tough restrictions and protocols this season.

Rajon Rondo and the Los Angeles Lakers are together again.

An offseason trade tracker.

Up next: NBA preseason

Oct. 4 | 6:30 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ San Antonio Spurs | TBD

Oct. 6 | 6 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ Dallas Mavericks | TBD

Oct. 11 | 7 p.m. | Utah Jazz vs. New Orleans Pelicans | TBD

Oct. 13 | 7 p.m. | Utah Jazz vs. Milwaukee Bucks | TBD

*Broadcast information for preseason games to be announced at a later date.