When Utah takes on Indiana Thursday night, it will mark an anniversary of sorts.
Nearly seven months ago, the Jazz faced the Pacers in a regular season game.
For most games during the middle of the season, it’s business as usual. But that night in Salt Lake City, there was a massive reason for celebrating more than just the eight-point victory.
It was announced that future first-ballot hall-of-famer Dwyane Wade had purchased a minority stake in the Jazz organization, joining Ryan Smith as co-owners.
“Partnering with Ryan and the Utah Jazz is the perfect fit as we share the same vision and values,” Wade said at the time. “Not only is this group focused on building a championship franchise, they are also committed to using their platform to do good and actively create a more inclusive, equitable world. We share a lot of the same goals and are trying to go the same places in life.”
Legend, Leader, Businessman.
Welcome to the Utah Jazz family pic.twitter.com/2YgPLHrTAu
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) April 16, 2021
Since that day with Wade — and ever since Smith took over as owner in Dec. 2020 — the Jazz have emerged as one of the premier organizations in the league. Not only has Utah been winning on the court (finishing last year with the NBA’s best record), but the Jazz have been winning off it as well, taking the lead in the fight against social and racial injustice throughout the country.
The organization is not afraid to speak out regarding social and racial issues throughout the country. Stars Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles spoke with the media this morning regarding the tragic death of Izzy Tichenor, a 10-year-old girl who died by suicide after being bullied at school.
“As an organization, there’s no doubt that everyone’s behind them (Tichenor family). Whatever we can do, we had a really good chat about some things that we can do obviously now, to try and help as best we can,” Ingles said. “But also in the future to make sure this doesn’t happen again. And not just to a kid with special needs just any kid every kid, every adult, everyone deserves to go to work or school or whatever we are doing and go and be free and enjoy it.”
Facing the Pacers
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) November 11, 2021
After much talk has been made regarding Utah’s lack of outside shooting this year, the Jazz had one of their best performances Tuesday night against Atlanta.
Utah shot 39.5% (15-for-38) from beyond the arc, their second-best percentage on the year. Six different players knocked down a three-pointer, with four of them knocking down at least two.
“It gives you life,” Mitchell said postgame about the team finally knocking down some shots.
Mitchell leads Utah in scoring at 25.9 points per game, one of five Jazz in double figures.
While the offense is currently second in the NBA with a 113.8 rating, the real story has been Utah’s defense. The Jazz are eighth in defensive rating — and their +9.7 rating currently ranks second in the league behind the Golden State Warriors.
*Rudy Gay: OUT / right heel recovery
*Udoka Azubuike: OUT / G League – On Assignment
*Jared Butler: OUT / G League – On Assignment
*Elijah Hughes: AVAILABLE / non-COVID related illness
*Isaiah Jackson: OUT / left knee hyperextension
*Caris LeVert: OUT / low back soreness
*T.J. Warren: OUT / left navicular fracture
*Duane Washington Jr.: OUT / G League – Two-Way
*DeJon Jarreau: OUT / G League – Two-Way
Time: 7 p.m. MST
Location: Vivint Arena / Salt Lake City, UT
TV: AT&T Sports Network
Radio: 1280 The Zone