PREPARING FOR A BRIGHT FUTURE (PART I)

//PREPARING FOR A BRIGHT FUTURE (PART I)

PREPARING FOR A BRIGHT FUTURE (PART I)

2018-12-20T13:42:01+00:00April 27th, 2015|

There’s been a lot on my mind over the last couple weeks as I put the 2014-15 season in the rearview mirror. I wanted to share some of what I was thinking about the season that was, and what’s ahead, with all of you.

I want to start by thanking our amazing fans. I’m proud to say that I play for the Utah Jazz. We have the best fans in the league. As a collective group, all of us really appreciated everything you did for us this year and the support you brought to ESA every night — even early in the season, when we were struggling and went through that nine-game losing streak. That’s when the support meant the most. It seemed like, even then, the games were sellouts almost every time we played at home. I’m really glad that you stuck with us, and by the end of the season, we could tell that you were as excited and ready for the future as we are.

0427_Gordon

As the leader of the team, I think I speak for everyone when I say that we can’t wait to get back on the court next season. I hope that you are ready for us to take another huge stride next year.

This is a franchise that has historically been successful and in the playoffs every year. We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs in my five seasons in the NBA. We’ve kind of stumbled a little bit and taken some steps back. But the support has never wavered, and it makes me really grateful that I play in a place like Utah.

Since I was drafted, I’ve tried to get better as a player each and every year. For you to kind of wait on me to grow and become the player that I am right now, and to see the guy that I could be — I really appreciate that.

Denver Nuggets v Utah Jazz

I could see it in the responses I got on social media after the loss to Memphis, in what ended up being my last game of the year. I missed a free throw at the end of regulation that would have tied it, and I felt horrible. I posted to social media that the loss was on me. The responses came pouring in, and the majority of them were overwhelmingly supportive. That really hit home for me.

It’s something a lot of people disregard. A lot of people believe fans don’t really make a difference in how a player performs, but I would argue against that. When fans have your back, it gives you confidence, and it was good to see that come from a tough moment in the season. I appreciate that you have continued to stick with me and the Jazz through thick and thin.

You’ve always had my back, and I thank you for that.

THE SEASON THAT WAS

Even though we didn’t make the playoffs, I think this season was a successful one for us. More than anything, it was about growth, it was about learning and it was about experiences.

We definitely experienced a lot of things. We had buzzer-beating game-winners. We lost at the buzzer. We blew out teams by 30. We got blown out by 20-plus points. We saw everything.

We were also involved in the most games decided by five points or less. Those are the experiences that are going to help us the most in the future. Those are environments and opportunities that you can’t create in practice and you can’t teach. The only way to learn how you’re going to respond when you’re in a close game is by being in a close game, and we were in plenty of them.

By the end of the year, we were playing extremely well collectively, and we were going into most games expecting to win. That’s different from my previous seasons here. Even with games that were difficult matchups, we understood that if we played our best basketball, we’d give ourselves a chance at a W.

Houston Rockets v Utah Jazz

I can say without a doubt that the thing that allowed us to have as much success as we did down the stretch was our defense.

There were a bunch of games, even in the second half, where we struggled to score. That comes with the territory. We’re a young team, and we’re still not as good at executing against half court defenses as those other veteran teams. That’s a product of youth and inexperience. Because we don’t necessarily know how to attack a defense, we’re inconsistent, and that’s something we’re going to have to work on a bunch heading into next season.

But despite what was going on with our offense, we knew that as long as we stayed true to who we were defensively, we always gave ourselves a chance at the end of the game. That’s the reason why we were successful.

It’s fun to be at a place like that, especially for me, being the competitor that I am. I hate losing so much. So to be able to go into every single game expecting that if we play our best, we should win and we’re going to win, that was a good feeling.

Honestly, one of the most important elements was just seeing ourselves do it. Right before the All-Star break is when I can really remember our confidence taking a turn. We played Chicago at their place in January, and just rolled them. That was a big turning point for us as a team. We went out and didn’t just beat one of the best teams in the league, we destroyed them. It showed us we could do it.

San Antonio Spurs v Utah Jazz

By the end of the year we had this swagger about us we didn’t have in the beginning. It’s part of that feeling of expecting to win, and it became a habit.

We finished the year 19-10 after the All-Star break, and there were three or four games that we should have won that we didn’t because we had some guys out injured. So we could have easily finished with one of the best records in the league after the All-Star break.

We were playing so well after the break that, to a man, I think the guys in our locker room would say they didn’t want the season to end when it did. That’s rare in the NBA. It’s a long season. We play 82 games, and ours was technically a losing season. Most guys would be anxious to get out of there. But the fact that we weren’t, that we wanted to keep playing, just says a lot about how we felt about the way we were playing late in the year. It’s also just the mentality of the guys on our squad, that we wanted to keep playing. I think that’s a good sign for the future. There are good things to come for the Utah Jazz.

35 Comments

  1. Dustin Turner April 27, 2015 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the update Gordon…I look forward to seeing much more of y’all up close as a new season ticket holder!

  2. Run_Pappy April 27, 2015 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    The fans didn’t want this season to end either! One of the best Jazz seasons of my life, better than many playoff seasons. Proud to support this team.

  3. Nathan Grissom April 27, 2015 at 9:15 pm - Reply

    Even if I live in Colorado I’m a huge fan of you Gordon I will always be a Utah jazz fan. best of all luck. next season is yours for mvp.

  4. Mo April 27, 2015 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    We didn’t want this season to end! I keep thinking I gotta find a new hobby until October. Totally cannot wait for next season. I think this was the most exciting season we’ve had since we were in the conference finals. Thanks, Gordon, for hanging in there with us, too. Playoffs next year for sure. Got our team leaders, got our coach, got the best fans in the league. What a great time to be a Jazz fan!

  5. Joshua Griffiths April 27, 2015 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Great post! I’m a young fan from Australia who began to really follow the NBA this season, and decided to follow the Jazz because of the two Aussies who are with the team. I love watching you and the rest of the team play, so much so that I stream almost every game! I’m so excited for next season, and look forward to see your success that I know you guys can achieve!

  6. Casey April 27, 2015 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    It has been a ton of fun watching you become the leader of the Jazz and watching you improve every year. As Jazz fans, we love to see what you do on the court and it is great to see that you appreciate the fans as well. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Best of luck to you as you prepare to become a father! There is nothing better in the world than becoming a parent!

  7. Nate April 27, 2015 at 10:29 pm - Reply

    This was the first season in a while that was enjoyable from start to finish. Hoping the playoff push comes into full swing next year. Something real nice is happening to this team. Cool that Hayward mentions that Chicago game. I remember that game well. I was out running listening to Locke on the radio on league pass since I don’t live in Utah. “The Bulls must just be off tonight,” I kept thinking. Later I rewound the game and watched it again. The Bulls were taken out of their game by Rudy, Favors and Hayward. It really was at that point I started seeing that this team really might be something special.
    Last year I spent all year watching the lottery standings and reading draft analysis. This year, I couldn’t care less. Roll this same team out and we have a shot at the playoffs. I’m sure a few tweaks will be made, but the core is there. Work hard during off season fellas! The fans will be back strong next year.

  8. Joshua Robbins April 27, 2015 at 10:30 pm - Reply

    I didn’t want the season to end!!!!! Really appreciate development and progress. It has to be so hard to learn how to win at such a high level. Love the Jazz approach. Life fan here.

  9. Brad April 27, 2015 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    I’ve been watching Jazz games since the late 80s. This has been one of the most fun and exciting seasons I’ve seen. It’s more than just getting wins, it’s how the team goes about the game. This team fought hard and did almost everything in the right direction. I don’t care if a young team loses, I just care that they gave it everything they had, even if they were down 20. It’s the right attitude, and it eventually pays off, just like we saw around the All Star break.

    Keep up the blog posts, it’s awesome seeing what’s going on inside the team. We’re all excited for next season.

  10. Thomas April 27, 2015 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    I grew up in Seattle and was always a Sonics fan, and moved here in the 1990s while the Jazz and Sonics had some good battles. Ever since the Sonics moved to OKC, I’ve been wanting to root and pull for my new hometown Utah Jazz, but it just never clicked for me. I don’t know why, I just found myself watching the NBA without a team to really care about. That changed for me this season. I loved the energy, the commitment, the swagger, the effort and found myself closely following almost every single game that I could. And not just me, but my 9-year-old son, who now has a Gordon Hayward jersey hanging above his bed.

    Keep up the great work! Can’t wait for next season.

  11. toasta_oven April 27, 2015 at 11:07 pm - Reply

    I’ll have to comment on your statement “and we were going into most games expecting to win.” With that kind of record after the All-Star break, heck, with any record at all, you need to go into the game with an expectation of winning. You know way better than any of us how much of a role mentality plays in basketball, and the mentality of not expecting to win games, however few they may be, is a dangerous one to have.

  12. toasta_oven April 27, 2015 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    I didn’t really mean anything rude by that, and I’m sure you didn’t mean much by saying it, but, jus’ sayin’. Heck of a season though dude!

  13. Colten April 28, 2015 at 12:38 am - Reply

    I love these posts. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your thoughts with the fans. This was the most exciting season in years. That game in Chicago was my favorite of the season. The whole game I kept saying to myself “what is this magic that I’m seeing?”. You guys strait decimated one of the best teams in the league on their home floor, and it was absolutely beautiful. I love every single player on this team. You guys have brought Jazz basketball back to Utah. I’m still riding the amazing high of this season and am going to start having Jazz withdrawals real soon. You guys are going to shock the world next year. Thank you.

  14. Jeff April 28, 2015 at 1:17 am - Reply

    Thanks Gordon. I’ve been a Jazz fan since the early 80s (pre-Stockton/Malone!), and I was as excited to watch games this year as any I can remember in a long time. One thing I loved about the team was the great chemistry you guys seemed to have (especially post-ASB after the former Jazz player was traded). Loved watching guys pull for each other and celebrate each others’ successes – e.g. the salutes between Rudy and the bench after some of his dunks. I can’t think of a better starting front line in the NBA than you, Fav, and Rudy. Excited for AB to come back, and for continued development from Dante, Rodney, and Trey. Hope Trevor, Joe, Jeremy and others are back. Thanks for the great effort this year. We’re just as excited for next year as you are.

  15. Michael April 28, 2015 at 1:25 am - Reply

    Win or lose, Jazz fans will always have your back as long as you’re giving us everything you’ve got out there on the floor. We can tell.

    We really appreciate you and hope you finish out your career in Utah. You’re definitely on your way to having your jersey hanging next to 12 and 32.

  16. John April 28, 2015 at 2:54 am - Reply

    I live in New England where I am the only Jazz fan I know. People don’t know much about what you and your team have accomplished, and I let them know. Watching you and your team grow this year was something, and next season will prove to the rest of the NBA. what the Jazz can do. It is not easy to shine in the Western Conference, and once you close out some of the very close games next year, the wins will pile up.

  17. jody r brown April 28, 2015 at 2:56 am - Reply

    Cool to hear from you… I told u when I talked to you that you’ve made watching the jazz fun again… It has been cool watching u and your team grow. I’m excited as heck for next year!!! Thanks again for the post and the tweets!

  18. Bart April 28, 2015 at 3:02 am - Reply

    G time like a baws! It’s fun to get some insight into your mindset, love the blog posts. I for one am working extra hard and changing some spending habits to scrap together money for season tix next year. I love that I can visibly see this team gelling together, and I dare say it’s contagious down to the fans…I think this next year will be reminiscent of the late 90s jazz squads that absolutely turned this community on it’s head, and I’m proud to see G time at the forefront of what will be an even more exciting run of Jazz basketball. “YOU GOTTA LOVE IT BABY!”

  19. Keith Chan April 28, 2015 at 3:46 am - Reply

    I’m really looking forward next season. I believe that the utah jazz will be a contender in the playoffs. I hope one day I’ll be able to watch your game live at the salt lake arena. Keep up the good work Gordon!

  20. Cathy Brown April 28, 2015 at 3:50 am - Reply

    Cant wait for next year I am an older lady but live to to my Jazz play no one calls or comes over when it’s game night at grandma house I try to get to a least one or two game a year love you guys keep up the good work we are going to have a great year

  21. brett_stubbs April 28, 2015 at 4:28 am - Reply

    I’m a hardcore Jazz and I haven’t been this excited in at least 6 years. I live in VA, but thanks to nba league pass, I saw every game this year. The first half of the year was painful, but I saw flashes of brilliance. The second half was just perfect basketball. Period. Defense, hustle, passing, attacking, crashing boards, swat lake citying, and g-timing. You in the 4th, taking over games, was just so much fun to see. So excited for next year. Just need to find some patience…and the jazz need to work on a better nickname for you!

  22. Jamie April 28, 2015 at 4:38 am - Reply

    This is awesome! Probably one of the coolest things I’ve heard any player say to fans in my many years of being a Jazz fan. You are proud to be a Jazz man and we are proud you are one. You represent what we love to cheer for: hard work, a good person, hates to lose, fighter. It’s easy to cheer for that kind of player no matter the outcome. Thank YOU Gordon! Look forward to cheering for you for many fun years to come.

  23. Kason April 28, 2015 at 5:00 am - Reply

    I grew up watching the Jazz with my Grandmother. They were a young team that developed together, and although they never won a ring they brought pride and joy into our lives. It has been rough for the last 15 years to watch a small market team struggle to find the right pieces to compete. As the pieces of a special team have developed over the last few years that same feeling (that this really is something special) has returned. My little grandma still catches every game (although she has never been in person), and this years team has given her a special light. Thank you.

  24. Matt April 28, 2015 at 5:06 am - Reply

    Gordon, I think I speak on behalf of all the Utah Jazz fan base when I say thank you! I think one of the biggest things that we as Jazz fans love in a player is loyalty and a passion for the team, and you definitely have those things. No matter what Jazz Nation has your back brotha and I hope you never forget that! We’ll be here for you come game one of next season. I’m super stoked to see you guys tear it up next season!

  25. Ryan April 28, 2015 at 5:26 am - Reply

    Hi! Being consistent is one of the hardest things trying to do in a basketball season that has so many games. I love Quinn Snyder and I think that you all showed great heart. I watched every one of your games except for maybe 2. I saw you guys play like warriors. I keep telling my brother that chemistry is a huge part of winning. I think that the front office showed trust in your team because they kept most of the nucleus in tact going into that last season. Gordon, you are the man!!! I’m so proud to be a Jazz fan and I am glad that you love us fans, because I see that you all are engaged in fighting through adversity. I see it on your faces. You try so hard and when you lose, it’s heart-breaking. We are fans of how you’ve all grown and we see that you are pouring your heart out onto the court. You’ve all brought me great joy in watching you grow and change. Quinn is the man, too! Hopefully, the front office sees all of the great things that you’ve all done this season and keeps most of you on the team. Go Jazz!!!!

  26. Jarvis Jones April 28, 2015 at 9:03 am - Reply

    The absolute best part of this season was that the squad this year brought my Dad back to jazz nation. He had stopped watching games about your rookie season. My brothers and I started telling him how exciting this year was gonna be. In the end I decided to but my dad, brothers and me tickets to the first game after the all star break and you guys come out and torched them. My dad didn’t miss a game the rest of the season! So to finish I want to thank you Gordon and the rest of the team for a great year. The team is what makes jazz nation what it is. GO JAZZ! (Solution SALUTE)

  27. Karl Malone's Mustache April 28, 2015 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    First of all, just what a great year, you know? Now, I’m not gonna sit here and tell ya that it was all roses and aftershave, but you know that already, okay? Okay. Now, we have to be very careful and temper our expectations a bit, but you already know what I’m talkin’ about, you know? But here’s what I’ll say; I really believe that the most important improvement you can make, you know, as a player, is that… now I just feel strongly about this, so hear me out. I’ll tell you what, we just need to see more facial hair, because at the end of the day, the best aspect of the game is disappearin’, you know? Larry Bird, now I’m gonna tell ya somethin’ and I’m just callin’ it how I see it, now he had one of the best upper lips in the game, okay? So, now, I’m just gonna be real, you know? Grow a damn mustache, kid. Alright, now, I’ve said my piece, but you know, I’m just callin’ it how I see it, you know? There, now get on that, and when you’re ready, let’s go out, into the real world, you know, and I’ll show you somethin’ you ain’t never gonna forget, like how to field dress a Canadian moose. I’m not hard to find… in fact I might, you know, find you. Alright now…

  28. Jay T April 28, 2015 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    Great read. Can’t wait till October. I haven’t watched a single playoff game this year but have watched all Jazz games:)

  29. Spencer April 28, 2015 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    Gordon,

    You and the rest of the team have been so fun to watch this year! This year’s team has reminded me of the team I fell in love with as a 10-11 year old. They played hard and were capable of beating anyone on any given night. With Mark Eaton, at center, they had a defensive identity. They were also young, and had the consistency struggles associated with inexperience. Even though my family was too poor to attend games, I felt like I was fighting right there with them. I watched every game I could on our ancient black and white TV.

    It takes a special player to thrive in Utah. It doesn’t have the glamour of New York or LA. Some struggle to identify with the fans. On top of that, Jazz fans demand players that work hard on and off the court. I’d go so far too say that their effort is at least as important as the outcome. We want players of high character, who we can point to and tell our kids to be like. You are one of those players, and I hope both that you’ll be a career Jazzman, and that you won’t have to sacrifice any level of achievement for that to happen! Good things are coming! I’m very much looking forward to next year, and traveling down to see you live as well as on my much nicer TV.

  30. Aaron April 28, 2015 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    Nice job G-Time!
    I am a long time Jazz fan. I admit I am guilty of drinking the cool-aid at times. What can I say – I am a Jazz homer.

    But there is something about your group of guys that is real, meaty. This time it is not just sugar and water that is making me hyper and excited. This team is a protein packed meal that has got me fueled up and ready for next season. There is a chemistry about this team I have not seen in a while.

    If you for some reason actually read these comments – I have a small wish list for next year.

    1- Please Dunk on D-Will at least once
    2- Please Dunk on Kanter at least once – and do a Gobert solute in Kanters Face (if you get a tech, I will pay for it)
    3 – Please don’t tweet pics of body parts

    Rock on with your bad self. Go Jazz
    Aaron

    That is all – Aaron

  31. Hal April 28, 2015 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    Thanks G-Time! You are the man! Thanks for playing so hard and making it fun to be a JaZZ Fan! You are a great Rep for NBA and Utah. You seem to be a great guy off the court and that is important to the youngsters and people of Utah. My grand-kids look up to you and so does Utah. Please make this your home and Lets win a Championship! You will get the best support and life style in Utah. Happy for you! your wife and dog….lets get’er done. Again you are the Man! All the Best!!!

  32. MARK April 28, 2015 at 11:54 pm - Reply

    HELLO SPORTS FANS: IT’S GREAT to SEE THE OUTPOURING FOR NO. 20. HE’S the BEST KEPT SECRET IN THE NBA!!! I’m from LA and we KNOW SUPERSTARTS AND NO. 20 IS ONE OF THE BEST. NOW, the offseason, NO 20 has to build on his LEADERSHIP and BALL HANDLEING.

    THE better you HANDLE the ball the BETTER you FEEL ON THE COURT. YES, IT IS TRUE. NO. 20 has to get with RUDY and work out a FRIENDSHIP. YES, NO 20, a friendship. I, KNOW, I KNOW.

    PLUS you’ve got to get with the COACH. HE MADE FIRST YEAR MISTAKES. BUT HE’S THE BEST GAME-DAY COACH IN THE NBA. He learned after that KNICKS GAME where you were out and the team BEARLY WON, that YOU are the PLAYMAKER on this TEAM and the BALL must go to you during the FIRST AND FOURTH QTRS IN REG SEASON AND ALL QTRS DURING PLAYOFFS.

    HE WAS TOO CLOSE TO THE FOREST FOR THE FIRST HALF OF THE SEASON.

    SO YOU have to see him in the OFF SEASON and CONTUNUE your GREAT RELATIONSHIP.

    HE’S GOT TO TELL YOU WHEN YOUR SHOT IS NOT HITTING—SO FOR A QTR GO STRAIGHT TO THE BASKET.

    THAT GAME DAY COMMUNICATION BETWEEN YOU TWO, IS WHAT WILL WIN A CLOSE GAME.

  33. Gordon April 29, 2015 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    Hey Gordon,
    First of all I need to say, I love your name. There are not too many young guys out there named Gordon. We have to stick together man! What’s up with those dudes out there that spell it with an “an”?
    Everyone knows the original og’S spell it like we do.
    OK enough with the Gordon stuff..I just wanna say keep up the great work and my family and I really enjoy watching you play. You have become a great player and will be an all star one day. Thanks for giving props to us fans and enjoy your off season brother!

  34. michael May 5, 2015 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    We have at last built up a new team from the ground up. We have a knew coach, a young coach who wants to win. Who will learn and grow with a young

    team.

    AT LAST WE HAVE BUILT UP A WINING TEAM. WE HAVE A YOUNG COACH TO LEAD A YOUNG TEAM. A PROVEN TEAM THAT KNOWS HOW TO WIN!!! OUR TIME HAS COME. GREAT THINGS ARE ABOUT TO HAPPEN. EVERYONE CAN FEEL IT…

  35. Ulysses August 29, 2015 at 3:31 am - Reply

    I was at the Chicago game! It was the most miserable experience I’ve ever had. It was subzero, I had to walk a mile because my dad wanted to go to a special burger place, my dad started having chest pains to the point I was afraid he was going to collapse, and when we finally made it to the UC, my team (the Bulls) gets destroyed! But honestly, it was probably one of the most memorable experiences of my life, one of the most enjoyable because it was the first live Bulls game I’d seen, and if the Bulls have to be destroyed, it’s best to be done by my second favorite team, with some of my favorite players doing it.

Leave A Comment