The 3 things I miss most about Utah Jazz basketball

It’s been over two months since a global pandemic forced the NBA to indefinitely suspend its season. As a Utah Jazz fan, some things I miss more than others.

On March 11, 2020, following Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert’s positive test for the COVID-19 virus, Adam Silver indefinitely suspended the NBA’s regular season. Incredibly, on a global level, most major sports leagues followed suit. From there, it wasn’t long before nearly all state governments required the closing of “non-essential” businesses to try and contain the spread of the novel coronavirus …

Professional basketball not making the cut wasn’t much of a surprise.

I thought I’d be okay with this — I really did. Sure, a week or two might pass without hoops, but soon enough, things would be back to normal. Boy, was I wrong: to date, it’s been a whopping 64 days, 1,536 hours or 92,160 minutes since the NBA’s last slate of daily basketball games.

And to be frank, I don’t care at all about what Norman Chad of The Washington Post thinks about America’s need for sports — I need the Utah Jazz in my life to healthily function.

Okay, so “healthily function” might be a bit of a stretch, but mini tempter tantrum aside, you’re picking up what I’m putting down, right? If not, allow me to spell it out for you — below, you’ll find the three biggest (and most tragic) things that a lack of Jazz basketball has taken from me:

1. My evenings are embarrassingly empty

To somebody without an addiction to NBA basketball, this might sound strange …

The two or three nights a week on which the Jazz have scheduled games, my wife and I feel like we have legitimate “plans.” Watching Gobert and Donovan Mitchell go toe-to-toe with “the big-market boys” is as much of a serious to-do item as going grocery shopping or mowing the lawn.

These days, however, after wrapping up the workday, we play UNO, tackle 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles, get emotionally attached to contestants on “Survivor: Winners at War” or go for a walk in the park before it gets dark outside — basically, we’re now living like an 80-year-old couple.

2. Post-game podcasts are a thing of the past

Win or lose, one of my favorite parts of closely following the Utah Jazz is the post-game podcast coverage that takes place after a tight matchup. In most games, there are almost always a few key moments that are worth in-depth discussion: a game-altering foul, block, bucket or change in strategy. Regardless, I want to hear what experts like David Locke and Tony Jones have to say.

And I usually don’t listen to the episodes immediately after the game, either — I’ll use ‘em to get through the next workday. When my brain’s jonesin’ for a quick kick of dopamine, for better or worse, the audio’s there to help me stay on task, while reliving what took place the night prior.

The content game’s hard, though, folks …

With no actual Jazz basketball happening, hosts largely build their shows around past players, alternate franchise timelines and seasons that took place before I was even born. I’ve tried to maintain a faithful listening routine, but the passion’s gone — only the season will revive it.

3. There’s no way to know where the team is headed

Over the course of the past eight weeks, I’ve written extensively about the possible impact of the feud between Gobert and Mitchell. And it’s not just me — every NBA writer on the planet has beaten the holy heck out of this story. These are all takes about what could potentially take place, though; they’re opinion pieces — with no basketball being played, they’re impossible to verify.

And this isn’t just a Gobert vs. Mitchell issue, by any means …

Think of the storylines surrounding this year’s Jazz roster:

  • Should Gobert be given the supermax?
  • Does the Jazz’s future include Quin Snyder?
  • Will Joe Ingles’ 3-point shooting improve?
  • Is Mike Conley ever going to be worth his contract?
  • Can Mitchell keep the Jazz playing consistent basketball?

The answers to each of the above inquiries depend entirely on the level of play out on the hardwood — not on what some writer’s gut (this includes me) says is going to happen.

Until play returns, all we’ll have to base the Utah Jazz’s future on is conjecture — I hate it.

Good news: Jazz basketball might soon be upon us …

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnaroswki, a recent virtual meeting between the NBA’s board of governors and commissioner Adam Silver has players and executives feeling positive about a timely return to play. Specific decisions as to how and when games will resume haven’t yet been made, however.

It’s not much, but hey — it’s something …

For the time being, keep your foam fingers crossed, Jazz fans.

Next: What is the signature play in the history of each franchise?

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