Jazz Coach Will Hardy on Surprising Start: ‘This Team’s Got Heart’

Most people expected the Jazz go into full tank mode after trading away the likes of former guard Donovan Mitchell, center Rudy Gobert and forwards Royce O’Neale and Bojan Bogdanovic.Jordan Clarkson

Before that, they replaced ex-coach Quin Snyder with former Celtics assistant Will Hardy, who is serving as an NBA head coach for the first time.

And yes, there is still plenty of time to be bad. But through the first three games, the Jazz are anything but that. Instead, they’ve beaten the Nuggets, Timberwolves and Pelicans, all considered strong playoff contenders.

They’ve done it behind newcomers such as forward Lauri Markkanen, Kelly Olynyk, Collin Sexton, as well as guards Mike Conley Jr., the lone starter remaining from last season, and Jordan Clarkson, who came off the bench last year but now starts.

“Our team’s got heart,” Hardy said after the overtime win over the Pelicans on Sunday. “The fourth quarter got hard — could not make a shot.

“Our guys just stuck with it. This group is fun.”

So far, so good for the Jazz, and so much for being really bad. Not today, and today is all we really have to go on.

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