I just kept shooting. Shooters got to keep shooting, regardless if you make or miss you’ve just got to keep shooting and they went in tonight. —Rodney Hood
SALT LAKE CITY — Rodney Hood could’ve easily pouted.
After learning he would be coming off the bench for rookie Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz guard could’ve become a locker room distraction or a headache to the organization.
But the Southern boy from Mississippi isn’t wired that way. He’s a stand-up guy.
So instead of moping, the fourth-year pro has embraced his new role off the oak for the past two games.
During Saturday’s 114-106 win against Brooklyn, he posted 19 points in 30 minutes with five 3-pointers.
His approach is simple.
“Just being a professional and not taking a step back and don’t think nothing less of myself,” Hood said. “I know I can play with the best of them, regardless of when I’m getting in I’ve got to put in work so that’s how I approach it.”
Through 13 games, Hood has had his fair share of ups and downs with injuries and inconsistent shooting, and yet still finding his true role for the team but his shooter’s mentality has never wavered.
He knows what he has to do when he enters the game.
“I just kept shooting,” Hood said. “Shooters got to keep shooting, regardless if you make or miss you’ve just got to keep shooting and they went in tonight.”
Hood said he gained early confidence after making a 3-pointer to beat the buzzer at the end of the first quarter. Seeing shots go down is always good when you’re in his shoes. He doesn’t feel any pressure to produce any more than usual while coming off the bench.
“We all play well together, it’s kind of even scoring and some nights it’s going to call for me to score a lot of points but other than that I just play within the offense,” Hood said. “It’ll be times within the game, where I need to pick it up but other than that I don’t need to go out there and force a lot.”
Hood has started in eight games and is now Utah’s leading scorer with 15.3 points per game.
More than anything, Hood was happy to snap the team’s four-game losing streak. The Jazz (6-7) will be back in action at 7 p.m. Monday night to host the Minnesota Timberwolves before embarking on a four-game road trip.
“We needed a win bad,” Hood said. “We don’t care how we got it, how it looked, we just needed a win bad and we got one and we’ve got another one at home before we hit the road so we really need to try to win that one.”