Utah Jazz Fail to Live up to Expectations in Opener
By Rustyn Burnside, ESPN 977
The Jazz falling short of expectations is a common theme for fans. It happens year in and year out. Even with our most cherished squads featuring the most lovable Jazz men, Utah’s product never met the demand of their supporters. This failure year after year led to the most drastic of changes in the offseason, producing a new coach, a new team, a new color scheme. The best part of this new team was clearly that fans could expect to lose right? No worries about being a certain seed or drawing a specific playoff matchup in sight, not a single hope or thought of being any type of contender. Fans could enjoy basketball without the stress of making sure their team was measuring up.
Or that’s what we thought. In classic Jazz fashion, they come out and fail to meet our standards. They let us down. They made us look like fools. We put our trust in them and they threw it in the dirt. We expected a team that was as carefree and careless as the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs when it came to the on-court product. Instead on opening night, we get a Jazz team that was insanely fun to cheer for. We got a Jazz team that played with passion, heart and grit. We got a Jazz team that looked like they wanted to be there, that looked like they wanted to compete. The Jazz shocked the title hopeful Denver Nuggets 123-102 and unfortunately, when we least needed it, we got a Jazz squad that made us invested in basketball again.
Fear not, this is not to say the Jazz will contend for a championship or even be a playoff team. They certainly would prefer not to sniff the play in game and most likely won’t. But even if the lottery is in the near future, we have a team that can get the home town faithful on their feet. Collin Sexton taking one on one matchups with Jokic personally? Sign me up. Walker Kessler being the first ever Jazz rookie to debut with a double-double? Hook it into my veins. Malik Beasley learning from James Harden’s mistakes and doing the shimmy after he MADE a shot. Love it. Jarred Vanderbilt with a game high 12 boards in 18 minutes? I’m sold. I still don’t expect much from this Jazz team in the long run pertaining to the win column, but if they play with the energy we saw in game one, I will love tuning into every single game. We were expecting losses, and tons of them. They are likely still on the way, but for one night the Jazz fail to meet expectations in the best way possible and that is incredibly refreshing. I don’t expect wins, but after last night, I expect to have fun cheering on this team. I expect to see hustle and energy and development as Utah builds that “Winning Culture” for the future.