Mike Brown’s Jazz Season Preview with Ben Anderson
By the time this article drops, we’ll already be a few games into the 2023–24 Utah Jazz season. I’ve done my own season previews for SLUG in the past, but this year I wanted to get some perspective from someone who (shockingly) knows more about hoops than I do and is a bit closer to the team, so I got in contact with Jazz podcaster Ben Anderson for an interview. The closest I’ve ever really gotten to the Jazz team is knowing that I had sex with the same girl as Earl Watson.
If you don’t know who Ben Anderson is, I’ll tell you: He’s a young skater-punk-turned-basketball-nerd (just like myself) who now hosts a morning radio show (unlike myself) on KSL Sports from 10 a.m.–12 p.m., which is 97.5 on your dial. He also produces a weekly Jazz podcast called Jazz Notes that he hosts with some guy named Chandler—who is Ben’s friend, but not from Friends—offering great insight on the team and their interaction with the fans. Ben rattles off stats so fast on his shows that I was pretty sure he was an AI robot built in Elon’s lab or something. He assured me he is not.
“The first question I asked him was if our new, second-year Head Coach, Will Hardy, was microdosing.”
I hit Ben with some tough questions that I felt us Jazz fans deserved to know, and he did not disappoint. The first question I asked him was if our new, second-year Head Coach, Will Hardy, was microdosing. Ben told me that he is not but explained that Will does have a calm demeanor and a good sense of perspective and humanity about him that other coaches don’t seem to have. That being said, and given how good Hardy’s rotations and post-game interviews were last year, I’m still not fully convinced he’s not popping 20 mg. of boomers for breakfast.
I then wanted to know which Jazz player is most likely to buy beer for our new star rookie, Keyonte George. The kid is underage and someone’s gotta provide the brews. The answer is likely one of our European players, Luke Šamanić. Where he’s from, you can basically start drinking once you’re tall enough to reach the bar. It wouldn’t be a moral conflict for him to break America’s stupid drinking laws. My guess would have been our Finnish superstar Lauri Markkanen, but like I mentioned earlier, Ben covers the Jazz for a living, so he would know better than me on this.
I then wanted to know which Jazz player is most likely to buy beer for our new star rookie, Keyonte George.
I asked Ben about our somewhat new General Manager—or CEO of the team, if you will— Danny Ainge. He’s Mormon so you know he’s got a lot of angry church ball in him, but Ben told me that he’s actually a really nice, down-to-earth guy. He even slapped Ben on the ass one time. This all checks out from my perspective.
Speaking of rich Mormons, we also talked about Jazz owner Ryan Smith, who is my age but has a little bit more money than I do. When he bought the team, the logo patches on the players’ jerseys were for 5 For The Fight, an organization Smith created to help fight cancer. It raised a butt-load of money and the logo patch is changing this year. So, did Ryan Smith finally cure cancer? Nope. It sucks, but it’s still around. Also, Ben and I both agreed that we are pretty sure Ryan Smith does indeed pay his tithing, which is a shit-load of money, as opposed to a butt-load.
Since Ben hangs around the team so much, I needed to know who the funniest Jazz player is. Turns out, it’s our standout rookie from last year, Walker Kessler. I forgot to ask Ben to give me any examples of dirty jokes I could use for this article, but I was kinda hammered during the interview. Either way, I thought for sure it would be Jordan Clarkson (my current favorite Jazz player), but Ben assured me that Clarkson is definitely the coolest player and would probably be the most fun to hang out with. I mean, the guy is an NBA player who is sponsored by Lululemon, hangs out at fashion week and doesn’t give a fuck. I respect that perspective on life.