The Jazz’s season is now only days away. For the first time in decades, however, their success won’t be determined by wins and losses. The most important thing for this young team is something that won’t show up on a stat sheet—good losses and bad losses.
Not many expect the Jazz to compete for much this season other than lottery balls. The wins might be few and far between. The current six-game preseason losing streak is just a taste of what’s to come.
I left each of the most recent back-to-back losses against certain LA counterparts with very different feelings. Both produced the same result in the standings, but one left me completely unfulfilled while the other optimistic. Tuesday’s game against the Lakers was ugly to say the least, and the Lakers are bad right now. Wednesday featured a much tougher Clippers team, and the Jazz held their own.
Two losses. One bad. One good.
Let’s start with the bad, and finish with the good. The Lakers hopes this season are about as high as the Jazz. As such, they gave the Jazz every opportunity to get back into the game, and the Jazz couldn’t capitalize. Hayward kept settling for long jumpers with his heels on the three-point line, and Favors had zero offensive prowess. Brian Cook was the Jazz’s leading scorer (this really happened). And of course, players like Jordan Farmar started to torch them off the bench. Always a good sign, right? Bad. Loss.
24 hours later, a symbolically-different Jazz team showed up against a literally-different LA team. No championship banners were hanging in the rafters this night, instead fans were welcomed by the oversized, smiling face of Jared Dudley. I don’t think this actually had any impact, but the number of empty seats comparative to the night before might have. From the first tip, the Jazz seemed to have more energy. Hello Mr. Favors, he of 24 points and 17 rebounds. His sudden offensive dominance was a very pleasant surprise. Hayward messed around and accumulated 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. And can you say #FreeRudyGobert and #FreeIanClark? Not all aspects of the game were great, but for the most part it was promising. Good. Loss.
Right now, I don’t need to see wins. I do, however, want to see potential. I want more good losses. If they can’t win, I’d like to think they let them slip away due to inexperience, not ineptitude.