Utah Jazz Danuel Home Jr. defends in opposition to Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) in the course of the second half of an NBA basketball recreation Monday, Feb. 14, 2022, in Salt Lake Metropolis. (AP Picture/Rick Bowmer) (Rick Bowmer, Related Press)
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PHOENIX — It was a choice that Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder hasn’t had the posh to make.
Like so many others earlier than him, Royce O’Neale struggled in opposition to Devin Booker and had a tough time navigating screens and staying linked to the Phoenix All-Star. Previously, Snyder did not actually have some other possibility to show to within the scenario.
Abruptly, he does.
Danuel Home Jr. performed practically eight minutes within the fourth quarter; and in what was considerably of a shock, he completed the sport rather than O’Neale.
The end result? Booker was rather more restricted with Home on the ground and the Jazz got here away with certainly one of their finest wins of the season.
Home was glorious in getting round picks and making life onerous for Booker and the Suns. Home picked Booker up at full courtroom, stayed linked to him and compelled the ball out of his fingers a number of instances. He dove to the ground, acquired his fingers in passing lanes and was all-around a nuisance.
“My job was to make it possible for I keep in entrance of my man and make it onerous as attainable tonight as a result of he is a gifted scorer,” Home stated.
Honest sufficient. It is simply that job is often reserved for O’Neale — no less than late in video games.
Does that imply Home has instantly taken O’Neale’s spot within the rotation? In all probability not (O’Neale, in spite of everything, is the higher all-around participant). What it does imply is Snyder is not afraid to place Home on the market, if want be; and after years of desperately looking for one other wing defender, Home’s efficiency — and Snyder’s choice — is important.
For a number of seasons now, the Jazz have been group with a deadly flaw. As soon as the playoffs rolled round, they did not have the personnel to constantly defend the sport’s high wing and guard scorers.
Home has by no means actually been often called a real defensive stopper however has constructed up a strong status throughout his time in Houston as a hard-nosed and hard-working man on the perimeter.
“That mindset is basically nice to have,” Rudy Gobert stated. “Being so aggressive defensively after which it is inspiring for different guys. We step it up a notch.”
Home has solely been a full-time member of the Jazz for a few weeks, and really properly would be the group’s finest perimeter defender. That is how dire the scenario was — and nonetheless could also be.
Snyder stated that with the group’s further depth, there will likely be alternatives based mostly on matchups for various guys to play. He credit his gamers for accepting that and rooting for one another.
“Danuel was doing a superb job, and Royce was the primary one on the bench speaking to him,” Snyder stated. “The identical factor with Hassan (Whiteside) and Rudy — how Hassan was enjoying, you possibly can end the sport with Hassan. Mike (Conley) stated perhaps let Jordan (Clarkson) end — in order that type of collective mindset and whatever-it-takes mentality and whoever it takes is one thing that is actually essential.
To Donovan Mitchell, that perspective is one thing he thinks makes the group distinctive. He stated egos might come into play when choices are made about enjoying time, however he would not see that throughout the group.
“You take a look at Royce after, he’s as excited as anyone. I feel that is what makes this group so particular,” he stated. “… Typically you simply take what’s working and that was tonight, after which we play Houston and it could be a distinct story.”