When Dante Exum spoke in action live for the first time in what seemed like an eternity on Thursday night, his presence to some extent reflected the rise of his team in his absence.
What had once been injured, has been down in landfills, now healed, now ascending towards the hope of a brighter future.
In that mix of regeneration and resurgence of Jazz, with them now winning 20 of 22 games after a 116-88 win by the Suns, came the regeneration and resurgence of the young player.
"He did a good job", were the words that Quin Snyder used later.
Exum, with 10 points, three boards and two badists, had bubbled, once again, from the dark and cold depth. Like his team, which rolled.
Not so suddenly, the bad memory of a gloomy day in free agency in July and the devastation of losses in December seemed a long, long time ago. The same for Exum and the pain in his shoulders and the lack of love in October, when he ran off the court.
Exum teammates are now burning the league, playing at a level that has not been seen in Utah since 1996. -97 and 1997-98 jazz teams, the only other repeats of franchises that offer that kind of skill.
"We stayed in the moment," said Donovan Mitchell.
The occasion of Dante's return was pleasant. When he entered the game at the 1:16 mark of the first quarter and the crowd cheered, he became dusty at Vivint Arena. Only the hardest of hearts did not improve when the boy – he is only 22 years old – arrived on the court.
No one needs to remember that for all of the 68 Utah regular season games so far this season and for all of their games. games in 2015-16, Exum had not been available, cruel destinies pushed him from bright lights to solitary rehabilitation rooms, completely offstage, to attend to knee and shoulder injuries, retrain the joints to respond as they had done ever.
Exum learned in an extreme way what many professional athletes face at some point in their careers: that the extraordinary body that once seemed so strong, so immortal, was actually vulnerable to injury and damage. And that the power of the mind was what you had to trust to recover the body.
The limited minutes (14) Exum against the Suns had no consequences for the final score, but not for him and not for his team.
"It was incredible," said Mitchell.
Exum will more tangibly help your teammates on the line. It remains to be determined how it will fit into the advance.
Whatever happens, you are jumping on board a happy and confident road-grader.
What's happening with Jazz these days is nothing less than a basketball celebration. They were hurt by the past, by the loss of free agency of those who will not be named. There was a period of acclimatization for the new players, the injury of Rudy Gobert, a brutal period of programming at the beginning of the winter and, despite everything, Snyder kept working, kept intriguing, encouraging his players to concentrate on the fundamental ball, in staying together.
And the reward for that has been an extraordinary streak: a record of 23-6 in the last 29 games, 11 consecutive road wins, the 20-2 mark in progress and the containment of the playoffs.
The success of a glorious psychology drink is born – confidence, but not stubbornness, determination on both ends, defense since the return of Gobert that has been the best of the NBA by a wide margin, and efficient offense that no one expected .
It was not so long ago The experts said that the Jazz problem, particularly after the departure of Who-You-Know, was that they did not have enough star power. Now, the pillars Gobert and Mitchell have made this notion laughable.
But there's more here. Mitchell's play has been stellar, and Gobert's defense sick. However, this is bigger than just the NBA standard: get a couple of stars and you're on your way.
It's different. Best. Promising. Connected.
When the guys called Ingles, Rubio, O & # 39; Neale and Jerebko are playing key roles for a team led by their two stars, sweet things happen.
The teamwork that Jazz has shown, the movement of the ball, the mentality of "whoever is open, should let it go", the pothole's resistance to the opponent outside its preferred point, is entertaining and effective . On Thursday night, when Rubio was mistreated by a couple of Suns players, Jazz's teammates were there for him, ready to rumble.
"There is camaraderie, a sense of brotherhood," Snyder said. "They are going to defend each other."
Jazz started their sad start this season, but they learned from him, just like Snyder said they would. Now, they are playing as well as any Jazz team, even those great ones.
If they go up to fourth / fifth / sixth place in the West, avoiding the Warriors and the Rockets in the first round of the playoffs, they have an opportunity to surprise the league even more.
In fact, Exum and his Jazz teammates are on the rise, and now they can go up together.
GORDON MONSON presents "The Big Show" on weekdays from 3 to 7 p. m. on 97.5 FM and 1280 AM The area.