May 5, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; A general view of EnergySolutions Arena with statues of John Stockton (right) and Karl Malone prior to game three of the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs between the Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Utah Jazz: Pain and Gain

Every year players work hard during the season and try to refine their game in practices and at shoot around.  The difference between mediocre and good players and good and great players is the off-season or the summer.  Players like Karl Malone and John Stockton had vigorous workouts from the time the season ended til the next season that they stuck to.

Karl Malone when asked about working out he said:

I train because I get edgy if I go a couple of days and don’t work out

He also said that John was a huge reason he worked out.  If he didn’t want to workout he said:

Bet his little (behind) is training.

When Stockton was asked about Malone’s work ethic he had this to say:

We had training camp in Boise, always two-a-days, always difficult, they were tough practices. In between practices guys would do stuff. Some would go swimming, some would lay out, watch TV, whatever. Karl would continue to work out. He would go to the weight room some more. We all spent time in the weight room, but he spent more. Then after the second practice, Jeff Hornacek and Adam Keefe and myself knocked on his (hotel) door to grab him to go to dinner one night, and he wouldn’t answer the door. Finally, when he did answer the door after we pounded on it a while, he was on the stair stepper, had been on it for 45 minutes. So that’s a little indicator of what he’s about.

The base of all of that is I would never want to let him down under any circumstances, and I think it was reciprocal. The only way to do that is to leave no stone unturned. There would be times where you couldn’t get to the weight room during the day and (you’d) sneak into one at 11 o’clock at night. I’d call him back home and just say, ‘I’m in the weight room. What are you doing?’ He’d return the favor at some early hour in the morning. … There’s no question there was a friendly, competitive rivalry that pushed us both.

The point is that Stockton and Malone became who they were not because of just their talent but their work ethic during the season and more importantly after the season.  Flash forward to today and we have young guys that want to play and think they have deserved the playing time but which ones actually do?  Sloan would get on his players if they weren’t more fit than the opponent in the first few games.  In fact Jerry Sloan always credited his team after a win at the first of the season for just being in better shape than the other team.

We know Favors is killing it this off season with Malone riding him as we can see by Twitter:


Kanter is rehabilitating his shoulder but I’ve seen his workouts and they are intense.  Gordon Hayward is always working hard at getting better and is always in better shape the following season.  Alec Burks this off-season has been working on his defense and looked bigger in summer league.

Trey Burke has taken a lot of self pics and posted them on Instagram and is getting his up and running and also trying to get people to vote for him to win an ESPY.  I just hope outside of that he is working hard because in summer league he was out of shape and needs to gain a lot of muscle to compete at this stage.

The fact of the matter is the Jazz players are working hard but we don’t know if they are working hard enough.  Favors is the ONLY one I know that is pushing himself this off-season but the team isn’t working together.  They all went their separate ways and as far as I’ve heard they don’t push each other like teammates should.  They need to learn from Stockton and Malone and learn that to compete with the best they have to try and improve with the team first.

The preseason is about 75 days away and we will soon see who has put the time in and deserves to play this next season.





Tags: Alec Burks Derrick Favors Enes Kanter Gordon Hayward John Stockton Karl Malone Trey Burke Utah Jazz

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