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The Utah Jazz are heading into year No. 2 under head coach Quin Snyder and after a rocky start, excelled at the end of last season on their way to a 38-44 season. With the way that Utah finished last year coupled with a strong remaining corps, its clear the Jazz are heading into the new season full of optimism.
There were a few speed bumps in the offseason, especially with the loss of second-year man Dante Exum, who played a vital part of the success last year on the defensive end. That leaves some questions at the point guard position, but there are several options there. Bryce Cotton had a strong Summer League, Raul Neto signed his deal after playing overseas, and then theres Trey Burke, who very well could return to form after a stressful sophomore slump. Utah also brought in German center Tibor Pleiss over the offseason, and retained a pair of veteran leaders in Trevor Booker and Joe Ingles.
How did Utah succeed at the end of last year? Through defense and theres optimism that wont change. Theres plenty of hope with a clean slate across the league.
In this week's episode, hear what Utah Jazz front office members, coaches and players have to say about the new season, the return of a healthy Alec Burks and more, including the state of chemistry on the team.
"I think our team is really special. Its a great group of guys to be around and one of the only teams Ive been around that everyone is so close, everyone gets along really well and happy to hang out with each other even though we spend so much time together. Even going out to catch up to eat in Salt Lake and the time we dont have to be around, we still spend a lot of time together. Its a really exciting environment to be in," Ingles says.
Jazz forward Gordon Hayward and center Derrick Favors also talk about becoming parents.
"Having a baby girl changes your perspective on life," Hayward says. "(Its) definitely a game-changer. (Its) pretty fun, there are times where its not so fun — when shes crying in the middle of the night. Shes been awesome for me and like I said, it changed my outlook on life."
Players were asked all about their offseason, goals and work preparing for the new season, but also goofy things such as going to Salt Lake Comic Con and who their favorite superheroes are, giving a good laugh before getting to work.
"My favorite superhero — its a great question by the way — probably would have to be, Im going to have to say Batman because hes just a normal rich dude and anybody can be a normal rich dude if you work hard enough," Jack Cooley says, garnering laughs.
This and much, much more on the Deseret News Sports Podcast!
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