Posted on October 8, 2013 by David Locke
EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
Big Question of the night is how much was the Warriors 33% shooting because of pre-season, fatigue (3 games in 4 nights) or because of the new Jazz focus on defense.
I think it is probably mostly the first two, that is how both Thurl Bailey and Ron Boone felt during the broadcast but you saw good rotations and you saw lots of rim protection. Some of the pick and roll defense still needs work.
Still got to be better without Al no?
Favors rebounding was awesome. 14 rebounds, 12 on the defensive end in just 26 minutes
Trey Burke played a nice game. His line tonight is what we should expect most nights – 5 for 14 with 12 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists. This is before teams start to isolate him in scouting reports. He played in control and looked like he belonged. Coach Corbin thought he started slow and then got going.
5-14 most night we should expect? He looked a lot better than summer league from what bits I caught.
Alec Burks with the second team as the scorer and playing with the ball in his hands is a great fit for Burks. This could really work out well. He could average 14 points off the bench and get solid time on the floor. If the Jazz can get 30 minutes from Burks
He'd be in the 6th man of the year discussion. Makes sense to have him off the bench as the primary ball handler and G as #1 in the starting unit. Burke might have to start by default in that case.
38 from Hayward they have covered 68 of the 96 minutes on the wings. Jefferson can probably give another 20 or 25 and then it is close to complete until Brandon Rush returns.
Is Jefferson a 20-25 minute a game player still?
I am really happy for Andris Biedrins. He was such a psychological mess in Golden State to play against the Warriors and play well could be very important for his season. He is a nice player that can help you win.
Jeremy Evans got steamrolled on his first two defensive possessions by David Lee and then pieced together a very solid night. He finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds. He will always have a weight issue but on the right matchups he is showing he is more and more ready to play. He nailed a few nice jumpers.
Had a nice turnaround which I hadn't seen from him.
Gordon had a Toni Kukoc – Scottie Pippen line 8 points, 7 rebounds (all defensive) and 8 assists plus 3 steals and the play of the night his roundball robbery of Kyle Thompson and then an assist and outlet to Favors.
Posted in Emptying the Noggin
1. The Jazz’s new defensive focus provided early returns.
In a game against the high-scoring Golden State Warriors, with their presumed starting lineup for next season healthy, the Jazz held their opponents to just 32.6% shooting. This was a team effort: no one on the Warriors shot above 50 percent. Compared to last season, the Jazz were able to play a defensive game with far fewer moments of desperation, as the Utah players largely held their men contained in one-on-one situations. When the help was required, it was later in the shot clock and closer to the scene of the crime. It’s tempting to dismiss the performance: after all, it’s just preseason. But the Warriors’ stars played relatively big minutes, with Iguodala even playing a game high 30. The Warriors had played three games in four nights, so there’s reason to be tired, especially early in the season before conditioning fully returns (especially in the altitude). But holding an NBA team to just 32.6% from the field is an accomplishment, no matter the circumstances.
2. Jazz bench’s chaotic offense succeeded… but was it a fluke?
The turning point of the game occurred in the 2nd quarter, as the Jazz bench took a tied game at the end of the 1st quarter and went on a 34-16 run through the next period. Alec Burks, John Lucas, Jeremy Evans and even Andris Biedrins attacked with reckless abandon… and it worked. I counted 5 broken plays in the initial run in the first 5 minutes by the bench that ended up succeeding for the Jazz. Whether it was through hustle (again, probably compounded by a tired Warriors group) or luck (Biedrins’ spinning drive through the lane which finished in a smooth hook, a move he hasn’t even contemplated in 4 years), the Jazz ended up succeeding on plays that could have ended up in turnovers. The turnovers did later come, and the Jazz finished with 17 in the game (including 9 by the bench), but by then, the game was out of reach.
Can't expect those things to work for you when the regular season starts.
3. Hayward’s two-faced game.
While we’ve put a lot of words down on Salt City Hoops about Hayward’s faces – namely, with and without a beard – he had a game tonight that could be looked at two different ways, depending on what you’re looking for from the Jazz’s soon-to-be captain. Hayward finished with 8 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, and 3 steals in 26 minutes of play tonight, showing off his statistical versatility and secondary skills. The rebounding is especially a nice touch, as historically, Hayward’s been a below-average rebounder compared to other wings.
That being said, those who wanted to see Hayward as a lead scoring option could be disappointed, as he finished 4-12 on the night, with 0 free throw attempts. Interestingly, this is despite shooting all of his shots from the right side of the floor: dedicated Salt City Hoops readers will remember that Hayward was significantly better from the right than the left last season.
hayward shooting 10-8-13
Subjectively, Hayward still probably takes too many long jump shots early in the shot clock. He finished 3rd in the NBA last season on 22-ft 2 point shots (i.e., those very close to the 3 point line, but not yet beyond it), and probably isn’t a good enough shooter to be taking those low-efficiency shots. He did a good job of adjusting later in the game, making passes to open teammates, but in order to be a teams number one scorer, he simply has to draw free throws in every game. In short, there’s a lot to be happy with in Hayward’s performance tonight, but he wasn’t an effective lead scorer. One meaningless preseason game, but something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.
He shouldn't be their leading scorer if they want to be successful.
Favors is much farther behind, as he played in 252 more minutes in his third season as he did as a rookie. Because his second season was a lockout shortened year he essentially played Kyrylo Fesenko type minutes. He's never gotten close to playing 2,000 minutes before. (Which, btw, is not on him, it's on the coaches or the general manager.
Some of it's on him. He's had problems with fouls regardless.
The Jazz got rid of a guy who scored 30 ppg four times in five years to make room for a guy going into his second year before when they moved Adrian Dantley for Karl Malone's benefit. But they decided to keep Al Jefferson around (a never ever all-star vs. the HOFer Dantley is) in order to retard Favors' growth?)
They didn't move AD for Karl. They moved him for Frank Layden.
That all looks to change this season as both players, now into their fourth year and on the precipice of getting significant raises, will finally have the ball in their hands, and be on the court at the same time.
Let's not mince words here, Hayward as a shooting guard is a much better defender than Randy Foye is. And Derrick Favors as a center is a much better defender than Al Jefferson could ever dream to be. If Gordon is at the three he has to contend with some pretty heavy duty guys but still doesn't back down. Against power forwards Favors will have to contend with more and more face up guys who will draw him out of the paint. Regardless, on defense these two deserved to be on the court more. They will be on the court more this season. And both will help one another out.
So much so that the game plan for the other team will most likely end up being "run a pick and roll with the guys Favors and Hayward AREN'T defending" and try to take them out of the play area as much as possible.
I really believe in their defense, and I think that their length and mobility will cause fits for other teams. Even better is that Hayward doesn't gamble (unlike, say, a guy who got the media to rebrand gambling as hustle like DeMarre Carroll did)
All I know is that they generally looked a lot better with Demarre on the floor.
, and Favors can defend shots without leaving his feet. In a season where we need them to stay out of foul trouble it's good that they can play grounded, fundamentally sound defense.
If there is a problem with these two it appears to be on offense, and that's really only because Favors isn't a one on one scorer just yet and does pick up offensive fouls. Really though? I'm not worried at all because this year we expect our players to be able to counter attack more because of defensive stops (remember what those are Utah Jazz fans?) -- and Hayward is good enough to get the board and run the break, and I'm sure a guy like Favors has learned to trail really well by now. (Karl Malone's voice seems hoarse and it's only October)
These two guys are going to lead our team, and help one another. We saw how John Stockton and Karl Malone worked so well together as a 1 and a 4. Right now? Right now we have a chance to see the evolution of the game as our best players are a wing and a defensive big. Two or three, four or five, it almost doesn't matter anymore -- just as long as they get out on the floor together this year.
N.B. Over their three year career, these two cats have played a grand total of 2,017 minutes together. Which means they're at a first year level, going into their fourth. They need to be together more. Good things will happen.
Hayward + Favors Career on the floor together Averages
Season G Min PTS REB AST STL BLK +/- MPG PPG RPG AST SPG BPG
2010 2011 Reg 20 273 518 236 115 39 40 -52 13.7 25.9 11.8 5.8 2.0 2.0
2011 2012 Reg 58 664 1365 685 290 93 87 39 11.4 23.5 11.8 5.0 1.6 1.5
2011 2012 Play 4 70 141 67 21 8 11 -12 17.5 35.3 16.8 5.3 2.0 2.8
2012 2013 Reg 67 1010 2046 938 482 183 148 33 15.1 30.5 14.0 7.2 2.7 2.2
Total 149 2017 4070 1926 908 323 286 8 13.5 27.3 12.9 6.1 2.2 1.9
I do think that them being on the court together for about 13.5 mpg is a little too low. Don't you?
"We want to see Alec coming off the bench right now — see if he gives us some punch off the bench," Corbin said.
The Jazz coach emphasized he’s a long way from naming a starting lineup for the regular season. But he likes the experience Jefferson, who is entering his 13th season, adds to young starters Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Hayward and Burke.
Jefferson, who has started only four times in the last two seasons, finished with four points and one rebound in 22 minutes against Golden State.
"One hundred percent I enjoyed it," he said. "At this point in my career, I understand my role, which is more of being a facilitator, taking open shots, talking on defense. ...
"Very few people can go from Year 1 to Year 15 as just a scorer or just a whatever. Grant Hill told me a few years ago, you have to be able to redefine yourself if you want to have longevity in this league."
Jefferson took only five shots, making two.
"Today was about settling in," he said. "We have a lot of new people in a lot of new roles, including me. The more I settle in, the more aggressive I can be on the offensive end. So I look forward to that."
Burks finished with 14 points, four assists and three rebounds in 21 minutes.
Corbin "told me this morning — that I was going to be a spark off the bench — so I came out and played my role," Burks said. "It went good."
Asked if he’d like to be the Jazz’s sixth man, Burks smiled and said, "I like being on the court. My first two years were shaky, so I just like being on the court. ... Everybody wants to start, but you have to be able to play your role."
That's what you want to hear. Coming off the bench makes a lot of sense for him. No reason he can't get big minutes and play a huge role.
According to Corbin, Burks’ offensive ability might be just what Utah’s second unit needs.
"He understands that we may grow him into," Corbin said. "I don’t know which way we may go with that yet. We’ll see. But he gives us punch off the bench because he can put the ball in the hole. ... He can make things happen quickly."
"I try not to think about [the summer league performance] anymore," Burke said afterward. "That was one phase, my first real taste of the NBA. Now I’m getting more comfortable. When my shot does come, I’m shooting it with more confidence."
The Jazz started slow. When David Lee hit a pair of free throws midway through the first quarter, the Golden State lead was 8, and the Jazz season looked like it might feel even longer than many suspect it might.
But Utah got a spark from its bench as Lucas went 5 for 9 to lead all scorers with 16 points. Burks, who started the game on the bench in favor of the veteran Richard Jefferson, slashed to the rim with ease and hit his mid-range shots, picking up 14 points along the way.
In all, the Jazz finished with six scores in double-digits, including Favors who finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds and forward Jeremy Evans, who showed off his jump shot to finish with 12 points and 13 boards.
Hayward, meanwhile, filled up his box score with 8 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 3 steals.
Even when Golden State coach Mark Jackson went back to hist starting five late in the first half, a Utah lineup of Lucas, Burks, Dominic McGuire, Jeremy Evans and Kanter pushed the Jazz lead to double digits.
The Jazz kept Golden State to just 32.6 percent shooting on the night, making stops in the paint and on the perimeter. Warriors guard Stephen Curry shot just 4 for 14, while forward David Lee finished with 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting.
After the win, Corbin said his team still has plenty of work to do. But even he wasn’t going to completely overlook the victory.
"For us, we’re creating a new identity with a new group of guys," he said. "So it’s always good to get a win and get a good performance."
“I had to yell at Turk yesterday,” Hayward said Tuesday at shootaround before the Jazz beat the Golden State Warriors in their 2013 preseason opener.
Wait. Hayward yell? And at 6-11, 247-pound Enes Kanter?
Video proof, please.
“This training camp we came in as the leaders,” Jazz power forward Derrick Favors said. “Gordon came in, he was vocal. He was serious about it. You could tell.”
No, but seriously, Hayward yelled?
The soft-spoken kid from Butler turned up the conversation volume — and against another teammate?
Well, sort of. Or maybe not.
“He didn’t really yell at me,” Kanter said, cracking a grin. “I just didn’t box out. That’s it.”
Kanter actually liked that Hayward pointed it out.
“It’s going to be his fourth year,” Kanter said, “so if he yells, he’s a veteran.”
Favors said Hayward has been more vocal since he started talking during a Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas this summer.
His coach couldn’t be happier with the development.
Asked about the play that resulted in Kanter getting an earful, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin was quick to say Hayward “should have” made it known that the missed box out wasn’t acceptable.
“It’s just a mental lapse that young guys tend to do, and Gordon’s been through it a little more,” Corbin said, adding that he’s going to count on Hayward to help others avoid and/or learn from mental mistakes. “Young guys have a tendency to think that it’s not a big deal to take a break and ‘Bam!’ it can cost you.”
Corbin said Hayward’s personality hasn’t changed. He’s just adapting with his new role and knows that he has to lead by example and expression.
“It’s good to see him … he’s been doing it all training camp — stepping up and being more vocal,” Corbin said. “I think he’s just growing into the spot. He’s more comfortable here. He’s more comfortable now with the group.”
The transformation is clear to see for outsiders, too.
“I have to be a leader, making sure guys are in the right spots, proving a little calming presence,” Hayward said. “A lot of us haven’t been in this situation playing a lot of minutes, so that’s what I’m going to try to do.”
Just what his bosses asked of him last spring when it was made clear that he’d be given more leadership responsibilities.
“He’s come from being a rookie on the team to being one of the key guys on the team, if not the key guy,” Corbin said. “It’s a drastic change for everybody. We’re jockeying things around. He’s certainly one of the guys that we’re looking for to lead us.”
Kanter hadn’t played in front of Jazz fans in a game since March 27 when he injured his left shoulder, which required season-ending surgery.
“I talked to the doctor before I came here. He told me that my left shoulder is stronger than my right shoulder,” Kanter said. “I feel so much better on the court. I’m not even scared about it. I can go 100 percent.”
He laughed when asked if he’ll try to start shooting as a southpaw: “I might shoot 3s.”
One area in which they can be consistent is rebounding. Led by Favors’ 14 boards, the Jazz dominated a fatigued Warriors team 60-41 off the glass. Favors set the tone early, grabbing nine first-quarter caroms. High-flying Evans tallied 13 and Hayward added seven of his own. Moreover, the Jazz did a great job boxing out, tipping the ball to teammates. Rebounding could be a key all season.
Defensive rebounding could be a key. That's been a problem.
There was Jeremy Evans playing like he deserved to be there. There was the entire team doing a thing called defense. There was Gordon Hayward ripping the ball out of Klay Thompson's hands, AK-style. There was the bench, the terrible bench as we've all been told, playing pretty well. There was Favors playing like the Captain of the Defense. There was a starting lineup that figured out how to get out of a funk all by itself. There was Trey Burke looking like The Trey Burke, NCAA Player of the Year. There was Kanter. There was Burks. There was Richard Jefferson. There wasJohn Lucas, III. There was Gobert. There was Biedrins.
I feel kinda bad now for making fun of the RJeff start. He played decently, and that block was Boss. And Beans ... what a move for the score.
But to me, one thing stands out above all else. It was late 2nd quarter or early 3rd, the Jazz missed a shot and were getting back on defense. There was Favors, shouting out to Kanter where he needed to go. And Kanter wasn't moving. I don't know if he didn't hear, or didn't understand, or what. But he wasn't moving.
And so Favors put both hands on Kanter's back and shoved him to the spot he needed to be.
* * *
Folks ... this changes everything.
We're used to seeing a Captain of the Offense. It's called a Point Guard, and we've had some really terrific ones. Now we have a Captain of the Defense, and he's a Power Forward/Center.
More than anything else, it was obvious to me how much the team really has been working to defend well. It's not just lip service. It's not just the catch phrase of the training camp. They were doing it like they cared, like there was a plan, and like they were working together.
Sure, it'll take more than one pre-season game to know whether the plan will consistently work, to know whether the players will consistently dedicate themselves to it, to know how much more work and tweaks it will need. And there was likely some fatigue factor for Golden State.
But for the first time I can remember ... and possibly the first time since Frank Layden sat in the coach's chair ... the entire team seems to have made a commitment to defend like it matters.
Random Stats that made me happy:
Favors and Jeremy combining for 27 rebounds.
Hayward and Burks combining for 12 assists.
Jeremy Evans shooting 6-11 and hitting dunks, layups, and jumpers.
Kanter and Favors getting only 2 fouls apiece
8 blocked shots by the team; 3 by Favors.
7 rebounds by Hayward
* * *
It's a long way from winning the first pre-season game to conquering the universe. But whatever. For a night, it felt like the universe was there to be had.
Did it matter?
Of course it did. Had they lost, had they played poorly, we would have had to mutter: "I'm not worried" over and over. And you know what, maybe we'll be in that spot on Friday.
But what fun to just enjoy and celebrate. NBA basketball is back. The Jazz feel reborn. And our guys win a game by dominating defensively.
I'm bringing back the Jazz Quintet to my post game recaps. For those of you who are newer, these are five guys who I feel best represented what was good about the team. It was a great idea until one day I was irritated with some players and deliberately included only three. Amar got mad, because it totally messed up his spreadsheet of Quintet mentions.
Well, here's my Quintet for Pre-Season Game 1:
Derrick ... for Captaining the Defense
Jeremy ... for showing that you belong on the court
Ty ... for making defense more than just word-of-the-week
Alec ... for willingly leading the bench
Andris ... for that awesome score
Aaron Falk: Corbin said he's in "no rush" to cut down his 20-man roster at this point in the preseason. Twitter @tribjazz
McGuire’s plan for trying to stick with Utah? "Just continue playing my game," he said. "Being aggressive, talking on defense, being a quarterback out there. And continue taking open jumpers. I’ve been working on that so hard." Salt Lake Tribune
Forward Dominic McGuire holds one distinction among the 20 players participating in the Utah Jazz’s training camp.
He’s played for more teams in fewer seasons than any of his teammates.
McGuire, a former second-round draft pick out of Fresno State, has played in 342 NBA games for Washington, Sacramento, Charlotte, Golden State, Toronto, New Orleans and Indiana.
That’s seven teams in only six years, which will earn you some serious frequent flyer miles.
McGuire finished with four points, four rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot in 17 minutes in the Jazz’s 101-78 win over Golden State in their preseason opener Tuesday night.
"He’s played well," coach Tyrone Corbin said before practice Wednesday morning. "He is who he is, and he plays the same way every time he gets on the floor — [with] a lot of energy."
Said McGuire: "We got the win, so that’s the most important thing. But I feel I played good. I could have played better, but it’s preseason. You’re out there trying to get a feeling for guys — how they play, what they do, just learn your teammates."