Bojan Bogdanovic expects to play when the season starts, Mike Conley returns to practice
Former BYU and UVU star Jake Toolson making the most of his opportunities at Jazz camp
Bojan Bogdanovic is as surprised as anyone at his progress following surgery on his wrist.
“I’m expecting to play at the start of the season,” he said Tuesday via Zoom.
The Croatian forward remarked that he’s been pleasantly surprised by his recovery and his ability to play full-contact, five-on-five everyday at practice with only a little bit of soreness, which is to be expected.
He’s yet to experience a hard fall using his right hand as support, something Bogdanovic is a little worried about, but only as much as anyone would be following surgery to repair a ruptured ligament.
Outside of that, everything has been smooth sailing for Bogdanovic and his optimism at being able to play at the outset of the season is welcome news for the Utah Jazz squad that desperately missed his scoring prowess during the playoffs.
Without the normal ramp-up to training camp and a shortened timeline to prepare for the season, the Jazz have been using their practice time for a lot of scrimmaging, which Bogdanovic noted as being advantageous for the Jazz since they didn’t have to use much time getting new players up to speed.
“It’s great for us because the core of the team has stayed from last year so we don’t have to review our set offenses. So I think that we are in pretty good shape to start with the season right away.” — Bojan Bogdanovic
“It’s great for us because the core of the team has stayed from last year so we don’t have to review our set offenses,” he said. “So I think that we are in pretty good shape to start with the season right away.”
Rookies Udoka Azubuike and Elijah Hughes are among the few players on the Jazz roster who will need some extra time to familiarize themselves with the different sets and schemes, but according to Bogdanovic they’ve been holding their own during practice and have impressed with their readiness.
“I think that both of them are kind of ready to step in and play,” Bogdanovic said. “The big guy (Azubuike) is pretty athletic. I’m surprised that he’s that good and he was drafted late in the first round. He’s really been going hard against Rudy (Gobert). Like I said, I think they can help us.”
Mike Conley returns
After missing the first week of training camp Mike Conley returned to practice on Tuesday.
Conley had been isolated away from the team after coming in contact with a family member who had tested positive for the coronavirus.
In following the league’s protocols, Conley had to return several negative tests before rejoining the team.
Jake Toolson staying present
Former BYU and Utah Valley University (and then BYU again) player Jake Toolson is doing as much as he can to make an impact during training camp with the Utah Jazz.
“Obviously shooting and spacing is at such a premium, and that’s what I can do. I have my foot in the door and, coach (Quin) Snyder came up to me yesterday and he said, ‘I want you to shoot that thing.’ … and that’s what I do best.” — Jake Toolson
With the team on an Exhibit 10 contract, which allows the Jazz to retain his rights for G League play or to waive him without having to pay out a full year’s salary, Toolson understands his strengths and is feeling confident in being able to show what he can do at an NBA level.
“Obviously shooting and spacing is at such a premium, and that’s what I can do,” Toolson said. “I have my foot in the door and, coach (Quin) Snyder came up to me yesterday and he said, ‘I want you to shoot that thing.’ … and that’s what I do best.”
After shooting 47% from 3-point range at BYU last season, Toolson’s skillset might be enough to earn him an extra look beyond training camp. But, in an attempt not to get too far ahead of himself, and with some uncertainty about what the 2020-21 G League season will look like, Toolson is trying to stay present and just take everything as it comes.
“I’m just trying to learn as much as I can and make the most of every opportunity,” he said. “But you know, it’s been a smooth transition and the guys have been really good and the energy in the building is great.”