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Utah Jazz: During Jazz practices, there are winners and losers

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There are definitely winners and losers in every NBA game and even in every scrimmage during NBA practice.

But new Utah Jazz head coach Will Hardy wants to create a culture of competitiveness and toughness in this team, so in everything the Jazz does in practice, there are winners and losers.

So for every drill, every drill, every timed scrum, every shooting contest, every training activity, there are winners and losers and there are stakes.

“If there’s no stakes, sometimes it just doesn’t sink in quite the same way,” Hardy said.

Players have said from the very first day of training camp that Jazz practices have been more competitive than most are used to during preseason. Mike Conley said he picks up guys all over the pitch in scrimmages and some of the younger players show up at the gym two to three hours early just so they can be first because they can’t wait to compete .

Some of the competitions are set up so that one team has a clear advantage. Coaches will put two or three minutes on the game clock and place a team behind on the scoreboard. The goal is to play an endgame scenario. It is up to the leading team to maintain their lead at the end of the match. It’s up to the team behind to fight back.

“It’s hard to come back in two minutes,” Stanley Johnson said. “When you have to run or do something for it, we’ve had teams come back from seven in two minutes. So it’s really good for training.

By all accounts, the ultra-competitive nature of jazz practices has been welcomed by players and brought them together.

“I think we push each other,” said Lauri Markkanen. “Every drill, whether it’s a shooting drill or a transition game, or if we’re playing five-on-five, we’re all in competition and it’s a good environment to be in.”

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