The past two months have been brutal for the Utah Jazz. Things could still get worse, but one thing can help right a series of unfortunate wrongs: on-court effort.
Isn’t it about time the New York Knicks did something dumb? For real, though, while those involved with most teams in the league are dealing with little more than boredom and a few bedsores, the Utah Jazz have fans, players and even management falling slowly into the crippling depths of depression — reality’s been a series of repeated groin kicks.
Let’s review, shall we?
First, on March 12, both members of the team’s one-two, All-Star punch tested positive for the COVID-19 virus: Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. To make matters worse, this, of course, came within only a few days of Gobert jokingly copping a few feels of multiple beat reporters’ recording devices during a press conference — not a good look for the French Slender Man.
From there, Tony Jones of The Athletic reported on an apparent disconnect between Gobert and Mitchell that wasn’t started by the positive COVID-19 test results, but exacerbated by them. Or, in other words, this franchise-altering feud was one that’d been around for a good, long while.
Thankfully, the third Sunday in April would bring with it some actual basketball content: “The Last Dance,” ESPN’s 10-part documentary on Michael Jordan and the 1998 Chicago Bulls.
Good news, right? Eh, not so fast — reliving Jordan’s “push off” is one thing, but fabricated, slanderous attacks on a Pizza Hut in Park City? As if Twitter needed another bogus reason to launch an attack on #TakeNote Nation, Jordan went and made the malicious practice a trend.
Still, things would get worse — impressively, three times in only five days.
On Monday, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Bojan Bogdanović would undergo season-ending surgery to repair a ligament in his right wrist. Three days later, rumors would swirl about that Joe Ingles, a not-so-shy voice on the dangers of playing basketball amidst a global pandemic, would understandably retire before endangering his young family — these were just rumors, though.
And finally, only yesterday, Jerry Sloan, one of the greatest coaches to have ever paced a sideline in NBA history, passed away at the age of 78 due to complications with Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia. If you’re new to #TakeNote Nation, know this: coach Sloan is just as big a part of Jazz history as John Stockton or Karl Malone ever will be — he’ll be missed dearly.
Oh yeah, and there’s no Jazz basketball being played …
Must’ve slipped my mind.
There’s a light at the end of this tunnel, though, Jazz fans. And believe it or not, flipping the switch on it has little to do with winning an NBA title, and everything to do with something this year’s Jazz roster isn’t all that great at — giving constant, reliable effort out on the hardwood.
Don’t get me wrong: the 2019-2020 Jazz are a talented bunch. At the same time, however, they’re also one of the most inconsistent Jazz teams in recent memory. This season, back-to-back, five-game winning and losing streaks became commonplace — one giant rollercoaster.
And that’s not just a “rollercoaster” for the players, mind you — it’s one for the fans, as well.
Jazz supporters can be irrational, but the “NBA smart guy” ones in the stands understand the reality of the situation — out west, the Houston Rockets are explosive (pun intended), the Los Angeles Clippers are deep and LeBron James doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
Heck, depending on when the season comes back, there’s a very good chance Chris Paul and the lowly, “rebuilding” Oklahoma City Thunder are the ones responsible for prematurely ending the Jazz’s title hopes — at this point, it’d be hard to shock the Utah Jazz’s emotionally-drained fanbase.
What might legitimately “shock” the current, COVID-induced coma right out of ‘em, though?
Regardless of when Utah Jazz basketball is back in full swing, balls-to-the-wall effort on a nightly basis for 48 straight minutes. It’s all pretty simple, really — as the late Sloan once fittingly observed:
Inspired by rowdy fans, fellow teammates or as a way of paying homage to Sloan’s greatness in light of his recent passing, it doesn’t really matter much: effort’s all that’s required to get things back on track in Utah. It’s the players’ choice as to whether it’ll happen or not — choose wisely.