SALT LAKE CITY — Three weeks ago, Jazz coach Quin Snyder met with Jonas Jerebko.
Training camp didn’t go great.
The veteran forward logged four total minutes during the first seven games.
And honestly, he was still trying to figure things out in Utah as a free agent signee, but he kept his faith.
“Be ready. Stay ready,” Snyder told Jerebko. “You’re not going to play but don’t detach from the team. Keep working. Keep trying to get better.
“OK,” Jerebko responded. “I got it.”
Sure enough, Jerebko would get an opportunity when Rudy Gobert (knee) and Joe Johnson (wrist) went down with injuries. He immediately went from riding the bench to becoming a starter.
The Jazz (13-11) have now won six consecutive games with Jerebko starting 10 of the last 11 contests.
He came off the bench Monday night, but still played 29 minutes to help the Jazz beat the Washington Wizards 116-69 at home with six points, five rebounds and a plus-21 rating.
He’s averaging 6.4 points and 3.7 rebounds in 16.2 minutes. His season-high was 15 points and eight rebounds during a Nov. 28 home win against Denver.
Jerebko is so successful in this offense because he’s able to catch and shoot his corner 3-pointers while playing with an unselfish group that swings the ball for the best options. His commitment to defense is also on display with his 6-foot-10, 231-pound frame.
In return, Jerebko is feeling as good as he ever has throughout his eight-year career.
“I’m feeling like I’m playing the best basketball I ever played,” Jerebko said. “I put in the work this summer to do it so I’m just excited to be with the Utah Jazz and to be able to do it.”
With the return of All-NBA Jazz center Rudy Gobert, after an 11-game absence, roles are likely to change, but Jerebko is still finding ways to earn minutes. During the window where guys like Raul Neto, Rodney Hood, Ricky Rubio, Joe Johnson, Sefolosha, and Gobert have been hurt, others have jumped in to seize advantage.
Snyder said he wishes he could play everybody, but unfortunately things won’t work that way with key guys returning from injuries.
“When Rudy’s back, when Joe Johnson comes back, I won’t say guys won’t have opportunities, but those opportunities could potentially be different,” Snyder said. “The game will always dictate that and how guys perform. Nothing is set in stone but you have to make some decisions.”
JOHN WALL OUT: Four-time NBA All-Star John Wall made the trip to Utah with the Washington Wizards Monday but didn’t suit up as he battles left knee soreness. Wall has missed the past five games after receiving PRP injections but there is still no timetable for his return. He’s back to shooting and getting in treadmill work, but still hasn’t been on the court running yet. Tim Frazier has started in the backcourt with Bradley Beal in his absence.
“Don’t know,” said Wizards coach Scott Brooks. “Don’t really want to put a time on it. I know we said two weeks, (but) nothing's set in stone. It could happen or it could be a few days later.”