Mike Conley speaks on what he learned from 14-game absence
Dubbed as “Iron Mike” for his toughness and durability throughout his 12-year NBA career, the now 32-year-old Conley was in unfamiliar territory when he was forced to watch Jazz games live in street clothes. Prior to his return to action on Saturday, the 6-foot-1 guard opened up about some of the things he observed during his lengthy hiatus from the hardwood. Per Jazz reporter Eric Walden:
“Honestly, just from watching games, even when I went on the road trip, I developed more of an understanding of everybody’s tendencies.” And on staying positive: “I have zero concerns. Zero. … I’m ready to go.”
After spending his first 11 seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies, Conley had a tough time adjusting to a new system in Utah, while sharing backcourt duties with the team’s budding star Donovan Mitchell.
His numbers took a drastic hit from last season, averaging just 13.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game before going down with the injury. Conley has also been struggling to put the ball in the basket, draining just 36.5 percent of his shots from the field and only 36 percent of his threes.
Despite his absence, the Jazz managed to play their best basketball of the season, going on a 10-game winning streak. The arrival of scoring savant Jordan Clarkson did somehow soften the blow of losing Conley, as Utah climbed its way to the fourth seed in the Western Conference with a 28-13 slate.
Mike Conley is expected to come off the bench to ease his transition from injury, and it will be interesting to see if he could shake off his struggles after the long lay-off.