Re: The sure to be epic 2013 Jazz off-season!
Throughout the 2012-13 season, Hayward and Favors spoke positively of how their Team USA experience boosted their self-esteem and level of play.
"I think I've shown that I belong in the league. It's something that you work for and you work towards. Now I think I know that I belong," Hayward said of his 2012 experience just before last season. "Now you push yourself even further, try and become an All-Star.”
And an Olympian.
Likewise, Favors said he loved the “tough and competitive” practices with the best of the U.S. It helped him better understand how he has to work to make it in the NBA, especially in terms of conditioning.
"I learned that I could compete with those guys," Favors said in an interview after his 2012 experience. "But at the same time, l learned that I've got a lot of work to do to be on their level consistently."
This year, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and the country’s biggest stars won’t be in Las Vegas, but Favors recalled that even scoring just four points against the elite players felt like scoring 20.
"Basically, it was that hard to score against them," Favors said. "It was an eye-opener, let you know that you are good but there are people out there that are way better and you need to work more."
NOTES: The players will have three days of closed practices at UNLV, beginning Monday afternoon. An intrasquad game Thursday night at the Thomas & Mack Arena will be open to the public and broadcast live on NBA-TV (7 p.m. MT). … Smart and Creighton forward Doug McDermott are the only college players participating this week. ... Twenty-one players have USA Basketball experience, but Davis is the only participant who was on the 2012 Olympic team.