Seven Utah Jazz players display unity by filling courtside row for NBA Summer League game
LAS VEGAS — First there was Donovan Mitchell, Dante Exum and Royce O’Neale.
Then, they signaled over Jae Crowder, Alec Burks and Raul Neto to join them.
The next thing you know, Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert was squeezing into a spot.
During Sunday’s Utah Jazz versus New York Knicks summer league game, seven members of the franchise sat courtside to watch the game.
Yes, seven — and that’s not even including general manager Dennis Lindsey and other assistants and staff members sprinkled throughout the arena.
I think that speaks volumes to the Jazz organization, we’re just one big family.
The Jazz held on to beat New York 90-85, with Georges Niang leading the way with 20 points and eight boards. Guys on the court certainly noticed them on the bench, too.
“I think that speaks volumes to the Jazz organization; we’re just one big family,” Niang said. “Everybody supports everybody, no matter what’s going on. I think all these guys coming out here and supporting us, sitting courtside is awesome.
“I think it gives the guys here an extra motivation to play well, and I just think it shows how gracious they are with their time to support us.”
Crowder has been doing most of his offseason training in Miami and called it unique to share such a close bond with teammates, especially after coming over from Cleveland after February’s trade deadline.
Throughout his six-year career, which included stops in Dallas, Boston and Cleveland, Crowder said he’s never felt such a close connection to members of his squad.
“This is the first time I’ve ever been in Vegas or anywhere in the offseason with this many of my teammates,” Crowder said. “This is the first time in my career, and it speaks volume of my teammates and what we’re about.”
Gobert also cherished the moment, calling it “fun.”
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Utah finished the 2017-18 season 48-34 with a fifth-seed in the Western Conference. The bulk of the squad will be back next year as they look to build off that second-round postseason run.
“Everyone is part of the family, and it’s great to see guys showing support,” Gobert said. “I didn’t know Jae was coming today, but most of the guys I did.
“Everyone that is here, we come to support,” he continued. “We all know it’s a business, but it’s great to be in a group where guys care more. For me, the most important thing is the human side and having guys that care about each other, and I think that’s what’s going to take us further.”
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Published at Mon, 09 Jul 2018 04:40:00 +0000