Posted by: Diana on October 2nd, 2010The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
Arriving at 10: 15 or so for a scrimmage that doesn’t start until 12:30. Its a must when the Utah Jazz are holding a free event. If there are any fans that support their team its Utah Jazz fans. Luckily for us the line isn’t too long yet maybe 40 people or so. Shortly after we arrive the line gets a lot longer by 11:00 its wrapped around the side of the ESA, I can’t see the end.
The doors are finally opened there is a rush to seats that most fans can only dream of sitting in for a regular season game. The fans are excited, there is a new feel in the arena. The excitement of the new floor shortly to be revealed, excitement of the new jerseys revealed earlier in the summer and most of all excitement for a team with new players, returning players, players that want to be in Utah.
We find good seats, 4th row center court. We are in the purple folding chairs. Despite being our third year in a row going to the scrimmage and always having good seats, its unbelievable to me that we are sitting so close to the floor.
Not too long after we find our seats, David Locke addresses the crowd. Locke talks of training camp the differences he has seen this year compared to previous years. No more Boozer rumors, no more questioning of leadership. Locke explains that the coaches however have had to do a lot of teaching. The Jazz offense is complicated with intricate details. They have probably only learned about 20% of the offense in training camp this first week. Locke says it will take a while for all the players to be on the same page. A quick Q & A with the fans and then its time for the court to be revealed.
The Jazz dancers have the honor of removing the dark plastic that is covering the court. A quick countdown and bam the beautiful new court is finally revealed
Now the real fun begins. David Locke introduces the players. All the players receive a nice round of applause but Raja Bell, Al Jefferson and D-Will get the loudest cheers. Locke introduced AK as “Isn’t it good to see AK still here, Andrei Kirilenko” It was certainly clear that the fans at the scrimmage are very happy that Andrei is still a Jazz man.
The fans are treated in being in and watching the players film commercials. So when you see the fly away promotion this season and the Jr. Jazz commercials know they were filmed at the scrimmage.
The players stretched and did layup and shooting drills after the filming. My favorite part of the scrimmage is the drill called the three man weave, it is when they run in pairs or in threes across the court passing the ball to each other ending in a layup or dunk. Evans, AK and Price (though they didn’t run together) were the most exciting during this drill.
Now its scrimmage time. The teams are blue and white. Deron leads the blue team along with Raja, CJ, AK and Jefferson. White team: Watson, Hayward, Gaines, Millsap and Fesenko.
Its a very slow start. The defensive intensity is insane, a lot stronger than in many regular season games last season. The offensive didn’t really click for either of the teams, a lot of new players learning new plays, young guys trying to impress and older guys (including D-Will) letting the young guys shine lead for not a pretty game.
Things that I did observe from the 30 minute scrimmage and the event overall.
AK is very happy to be with the team and the fans and team are very happy he is here too. AK played with great energy on both sides of the floor and by far looked the best.
Al Jefferson is big. He looks and plays A LOT bigger than Boozer. Jefferson is still learning the offense and it looked like he didn’t want to be the focus at the scrimmage which I imagine will be different in a real game. Jefferson’s moves were almost all with his back to the basket. He is a true post player.
Watson-is a very confident player. Watson and Millsap had some great plays together. Watson is a good point guard who will help our 2nd untit a lot.
Bell -is intense. During warm ups it was obvious that Bell was upset if he missed a shot, after he made a few he calmed down and did well. Bell looked comfortable on the court with Deron and the other players, he seemed right at home.
Evans- is a big bundle of energy. Evans was all over the court at both ends. Evans would jump over guys to get rebounds, had some nice put backs and good dunks.
Elson- is a lot bigger than I remembered him, he is a true 7 footer. Elson made some nice jump shots. Elson like Bell looked comfortable, something that comes from being a veteran.
Fes- is lean he looked more mobile but still a little confused on the court.
Players on the bubble- Jeffers played his heart out, making on the hustle plays, Gaines played well still struggling from the free-throw line and Thompson is really athletic.
The team overall seemed to really like each other, they seemed more mature than in years past. The veterans, Bell, Watson and Elson bring that maturity which will help throughout the season especially on the road. They will help the young players keep the proper perspective. The young players seem really excited to be on the team and ready to prove themselves.
If the scrimmage is any indicator of how the season will be we should be excited. Good defense, good leadership and happy players.
A link to pictures of the event http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/104658909
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