As Spurs look to rebuild, Jazz again a good role model

There are those who say watching the Utah Jazz’s rise from a small market to the top of the NBA standings is like looking at a mirror image of great Spurs teams from the past.

One NBA observer not buying it is Gregg Popovich.

“It’s almost unfair,” Popovich said. “The Jazz are the Jazz. They’ve done it their way.”

Still, there is little doubt the Utah team that ran roughshod over the Spurs 110-99 on Monday — even with two starting guards sidelined — gives off a vibe reminiscent of the San Antonio teams that lived among the league’s elite for the better part of two decades.

“They are a well-oiled machine,” Spurs forward Rudy Gay said.

Having assembled the team with the NBA’s top record at 48-17, the Jazz have made no bones about building themselves in the Spurs’ image. Dennis Lindsey, Utah’s vice president of basketball operations, cut his teeth as an assistant on R.C. Buford’s front office staff in San Antonio.

Jazz coach Quin Snyder made his first mark in the professional ranks as the coach of the Spurs’ G League affiliate in Austin. Together in Utah, the two have built a program based on chemistry, culture and playing the right way with players who have subjugated their egos.

When/where: 8 p.m. Wednesday; Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City

TV/radio: Bally Sports Southwest, NBA TV; WOAI-AM 1200, KXTN-AM 1350 and FM 107.5 (Spanish)

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Jeff McDonald

Jeff McDonald

San Antonio Express-News

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Lead Spurs beat writer for the San Antonio Express-News. Fun enthusiast. Can’t sing the blues all night long like he used to.

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