Maccabi Hunter Haifa landed in Salt Lake City, Utah on Sunday morning to kick-off their 3-team NBA tour. The Greens will have a few days of practice as they acclimate themselves to the new time zone and altitude before Wednesday’s matchup against the Utah Jazz at newly remodeled Vivint Smart Home Arena. The contest against the Jazz will mark Haifa’s 14th game against an NBA opponent — the second most all-time among international basketball teams.
We analyzed the Jazz’s 2017-18 roster and found quite a few ties to Israel.
Derrick Favors (Forward/Center): The third overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets, Favors begins his seventh season with the Jazz. The 6-foot-10 forward-center has been plagued with injuries the past season and a half, but when healthy is a dominant force, averaging 16.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks during the 2014-15 season. He played against Maccabi Haifa as rookie for the Nets on October 3, 2010, tallying 14 points and 9 rebounds in a 108-70 exhibition victory over the Greens. The contest against the Nets at the Prudential Center marked the Greens’ first-ever game against an NBA opponent.
Joe Ingles (Forward): The Australian native, who recently signed a four-year contract with the Jazz, played in Israel for Maccabi Tel Aviv during the 2013-14 season. The Greens will be looking for payback against Ingles who helped Maccabi Tel Aviv edge Maccabi Hunter Haifa in the decisive game of the 2013-14 Israeli League Finals.
Ricky Rubio (Guard): The Spainard will be suiting up in his first year with the Jazz after completing a career season with the Timberwolves, posting averages of 11.1 points, 9.1 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 75 games. Although Rubio did not play in the game against the Greens, Haifa did face his former Minnesota squad back on October 16, 2012, falling 114-81 at the Target Center.
Eric Griffin (Forward): The high-flying dunker landed on the Jazz roster signing a two-way contract after impressing in the NBA Summer League. The 6-foot-8 forward played in Israel for Gilboa Galil during the 2016-17 season. An Israeli Super League All-Star, Griffin averaged 14.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.0 steals and a league-leading 1.8 blocks in 33 games for Gilboa. In 3 games against Maccabi Haifa, Griffin averaged 13.3 points and 6.3 rebounds.
Ekpe Udoh (Forward/Center): The 6-foot-10 forward/center had a very brief stint in Israel, playing one game for Bnei Hasharon on November 27, 2011, during the NBA lockout. He made the best of his sole game in the Israeli league, recording 22 points and 16 rebounds in a loss to Gilboa Galil. The reigning Euroleague Final Four MVP, returns to the NBA after helping Turkey’s Fenerbache to a Euroleague Championship.