On Sunday, coach Quin Snyder leaned back in a windowles…

On Sunday, coach Quin Snyder leaned back in a windowless room in the Jazz’s practice facility and acknowledged the obvious: The road back could be a long one. “There is always an optimism at the beginning of the season,” Snyder told Yahoo Sports. “And I’m not saying there isn’t that now, but it’s tempered a little bit with the personnel changes.” Indeed, since losing Hayward, Utah has been ravaged by injuries, from the potentially season-ending shoulder injury to Dante Exum, to a balky right wrist that has cost Joe Johnson all of November, to a knee injury that will keep Rudy Gobert on the sideline for at least the next month. Gobert’s injury looms largest: The 7-foot-1 pivot was the anchor of one of the NBA’s top defenses, and the Jazz have been gashed badly in the two games he has missed.
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March 24, 2018 | 5:26 am EDT Update
Think about it. It’s fair to wonder if the Jazz even wanted to win. Put yourself in Dennis Lindsey’s shoes. The Jazz GM has a solid team, a frontline center and an exciting rookie to build around. But he needs another star. The top of the draft looks chock full of them. So maybe, with your team stinking up the joint in January, you sit Gobert a few more weeks and join the race to the bottom. Earlier this week, I asked Jazz coach Quin Snyder if he ever had those conversations. “Never,” Snyder said. “That’s just not how we do things. There was never any kind of suggestion of that. In the larger picture, we’re finding out who we are. This experience right now, having to compete for a spot, there is value in that. Things might happen — you can’t take anything for granted. The result ultimately isn’t the only reflection of where you are. The goal for me is to continue to improve. Not X wins, or how many in a row, but how can we keep getting better. It’s how we started the beginning of the year. It’s how we are now. We aren’t overthinking it.”