This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
This is year two of the Great Rebuilding, and most people seem optimistic that the Jazz are on the right track, that this team can win again eventually.The question, and a fair one I think, remains: When?Ask the team's brass and you'll probably hear something about not wanting to "skip steps," which seems to be code for "probably not this year."But there have been a couple of optimistic comparisons that two veterans new to the team have offered in the last couple weeks.Both forward Trevor Booker and guard Dahntay Jones see similarities between their new, young teammates and their old, young teammates."It's very similar," Booker said. "In Washington my rookie year, we had some good pieces to build around. It's the same way herea young team, but some great talent to build around."Jones, meanwhile, has compared this Jazz squad to the Indiana Pacers around 2009."It was a team that was rebuilding," he said. "One year, we were like four games from the playoffs. The next year, we were in the first round. The next year, the second round and then the final year the Conference Finals. It snowballs like that. I think it's the same type of progression these guys are having."And here's the "but" from both vets …"I think this team is a step ahead in the foundation that they have," Jones said.Added Booker, "They're definitely [further] along than my rookie year in Washington. The guys here are more mature than we were my rookie year. I think we're off to a better start."• Quin Snyder smiled (and probably fought rolling his eyes a little) when he was asked Saturday afternoon about giving his players a day off following Thursday's presesaon win in Portland."I've given them one day off," he said.By my count, the Jazz have actually had three days without a game or official practice since training camp opened, though I don't think that's out of the norm."My basic philosophy," Snyder said, "is practice and try to get better every day. Some days, you can inundate them with a lot of information and they need to process it. Some of those days are spent getting shots. I feel like as long as they practice hard, we can be smart about how we practice. But I'll tell you, I don't think there's a team working harder than us in the first two weeks of the season in the NBA. I know that, no matter how many days they've had off."The players have also noted the intensity of practices."It's pretty hard," Enes Kanter said. "But it's like more mental. You have to be keeping our focus. You cannot let other things distract in practice because there's too much stuff going on."As training camp opened, veteran forward Steve Novak mentioned how unusual it was for a team to have spent nearly a full month together (in open gym and at P3 in Santa Barbara) leading up to the start of camp. In most places, Novak said, veterans might arrive a week before. The time together has given the Jazz a jump on the season, according to Novak."We've gotten a lot in because most of us came in with a good base of what we're running," he said. "Especially offensively, we were able to kind of hit the ground running. Defensively, we've spent a lot of time every day. We start our practices with our daily braid, our defensive principles. Then we tend to drill them in scrimmage."• The Jazz are 2-0 in the preseason, and they're happy about it. But, Novak said, "I don't think we're overly excited.""We know the guys that we're playing how they played last year and who they are. They're All-Stars. There were times we played good agains them and there were times they kind of abused us a little bit."• As he walked over to the three reporters at practice Saturday, Kanter asked SaltCityHoops.com's Andy B. Larsen if he'd recently had his hair cut. Turns out, Andy's 'do was about a month old, but this started us down a quick tangent about haircuts."In Chicago, I go to a Turkish barber," said Kanter, who makes the Second City his offseason home in the U.S. "Here, they don't have a Turkish barber."So Kanter has to settle for a regular ol' cut."I think it's like 20 bucks," he said.But what's the big deal about a Turkish barber anyway?"You go there, you'll see. Ask Alex Jensen," Kanter said of the Jazz assistant who played professionally in Turkey. "It's nice. They shave you. They give a haircut and it's like $4-5. In Turkey, though. Maybe not even that much."Later, Kanter pointed out that I could use a shave.He may have lost a lead in a 3-point shooting contest with Jeremy Evans (for which Jazz assistant Brad Jones playfully gave Enes the choke sign), but Kanter nailed that one.• The Jazz brought guards Dee Bost and Kevin Murphy into training camp with the idea that they could end up back with the team's D-League affiliate in Idaho. After Bost and Murphy were waived on Friday, their futures remain somewhat uncertain, though the Jazz would like them back in Idaho if they don't land somewhere else."We appreciate all the energy and the work they gave us in camp," Snyder said. "Both of them did a good job. Right now it's just competitive. I think both of them have a chance to be NBA players. Hopefully they'll pursue that in Boise."• Carrick Felix, who sprained his left shoulder on the first day of training camp, partially participated in practice on Saturday. Snyder said he hoped the second-year guard was progressing faster than initially anticipated.• After being held out of the team's first two preseason games with a hip flexor injury, expect Rodney Hood to suit Monday against the Los Angeles Clippers."He had a good practice today," Snyder said. "He was aggressive. We look forward to having him back out there."• The Jazz played with more pace Thursday night in Portland than they did in the preseason opener. But don't expect Snyder to set a firm number of fast-break points he'd like to see in a a given game at this point."I still don't know how they tally fast-break points," he said (mostly joking, I think). "I don't know what they are. To me, it's more big-picture stuff during the course of the game. … We want to play fast and pass the ball."– Aaron Falk