Despite a middling start to the NBA season, the Jazz remain steadfast in their belief that they are championship contenders. Utah is currently 13-10 and seeded at No. 6 in the tough Western Conference. The Athletic’s Michael Lee appraised Jazz stars Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley‘s feelings about the team’s underwhelming start to the season.
Conley exuded confidence, saying, “It’s great to have pressure. Great to have expectations.” Though frustrated with a recent 1-4 road swoon for the Jazz, Mitchell stressed patience. “We’re all making adjustments,” he said. “We’re all finding ways to get to know each other. And when you’ve got guys who are unselfish, it makes it easier.”
Here’s more from out of the Northwest:
- Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune assessed rookie shooting guard Jarrett Culver‘s uneven start for the Timberwolves. Culver is shooting 36.9% from the field, 25.9% from three-point range, and just 43.5% from the free throw line. At 10-11, Minnesota harbors legitimate playoff aspirations in the West, where the team is currently seeded seventh. Improvement from Culver could make a significant difference in a playoff push, and he remains optimistic that his shooting would stabilize. “I’ve put in a lot of work,” Culver said, “so I trust it and I know it’s going to fall.”
- Thunder head coach Billy Donovan spoke with reporters about the likelihood of a Danilo Gallinari trade this season. “I’ve had no conversations with anybody about that,” Donovan said, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. “My feeling has always been that all these guys that are here, that they’ll be here… If you’re focused on things that are out of your control, you’re not gonna necessarily be able to do anything well.” A free agent in 2020, Gallinari is a versatile stretch forward on the last season of a three-year, $64.8MM contract.
- New Trail Blazers starting power forward Carmelo Anthony spoke with reporters after a Tuesday shootaround at the Staples Center. ESPN’s Baxter Holmes reports that Anthony was enthused about his fit with Portland, and the early returns have backed up Anthony’s sentiments. “Man, when you feel wanted,” Anthony said, “it settles a lot of things.”