"We’ve got to find a way to shore up the second group a little bit," he said. "… The guys are playing hard and we want to make sure that everybody is growing with this group, and we may tweak it a little bit at the start of the game to see if it helps us."
The Jazz got 15 points off the bench from guard Alec Burks on Friday night, in an 87-84 loss in Phoenix. Tinsley chipped in four points and center Rudy Gobert added a single free throw, as the only other reserves on the injury addled Jazz bench to score in the game.
"We’ve got to get a better punch," Corbin said.
Lucas did not fair well from the field, going 2 for 10 Friday, but he is a point guard geared toward scoring and could be better suited as a sub.
Rush, Biedrins, Evans and hopefully Burke could make quite a difference. The fact that Lindsey was counting on Lucas to play a big role is the biggest problem. Don't think Jamal was the best fit either.
The Jazz arrived in Salt Lake City late Friday night ahead of the second half of their first back-to-back of the season. Derrick Favors (37), Enes Kanter (38) and Gordon Hayward (39) all played heavy minutes against the Suns, and Corbin said he would look to spell the trio some.
The Jazz have a pair of back-to-backs awaiting them on next week’s East Coast road trip.
"We’ve got to make sure we can keep the guys as fresh as we can," he said.
Let them play. It's not like you need to save them for the playoffs or anything.
Rockets coach Kevin McHale certainly has the post players to match up with Favors and Kanter.
But McHale, one of the league’s all-time great big men, said he likes the Jazz duo’s potential.
"They push you hard," he said. "Kanter’s pretty clever down there. Favor uses more athleticism. They seem to complement each other pretty well and they give Utah a huge advantage over a lot of teams size-wise and in ruggedness."
“I’m a ballplayer. I’m all about he team,” Lucas said. “Whatever the coach decides, I’m 100 percent in.”
Jazz shooting guard Alec Burks, who has a locker next to Lucas, just happened to overhear the conversation at this point.
“That’s a great answer,” Burks said quietly with a smile.
Lucas continued without hesitation.
“I’m two feet in. I’m not one foot in, one foot out. I’m two feet in with the organization, with the team, with the coaching staff and everybody,” he said. “Whatever Coach wants, I’m going to go out there and do what he wants me to do. If he wants me to play three minutes, I’m going to go out there and play the hardest three minutes I can. I love the game. I’d never disrespect the game. I’m just out there playing my heart out.”
As for the team, Lucas believes the Jazz need to “keep together” and the close-call losses will turn into wins.
“Keep plucking away, keep plucking away, keep plucking away,” he said, repeating the phrase for emphasis. “Eventually, all of our shots are going to fall. Everything’s going to come into place. Everything’s going to work out.”
Like his attitude. Just wish he was at the end of the bench.
Jazz center Enes Kanter, who had a great first half but a rough second half Saturday, also sees it that way. This is part of the learning process.
“Definitely. We just have to figure it out,” Kanter said. “I know down the road when time goes on we’re going to learn how to close games, too. If we play like we did in the first half, no one can keep up with us.”
NOTES: The Jazz didn't practice Sunday after beginning the season with three games in four nights. ... Utah will practice Monday morning and then take a flight to New York for a four-game Eastern swing, which begins Tuesday in Brooklyn, continues in Boston and Chicago, and wraps up Saturday in Toronto. ... It still remains unknown when the five Jazz injured guys will be able to play. Burke, Jeremy Evans (rotator cuff), Marvin Williams (Achilles), Brandon Rush (knee) and Andris Biedrins (ankle) have not been available yet this season.
“Experience,’’ he said. “(Don't) be a young team anymore. We just need more experience.’’
OK, so the Jazz won’t start winning games until everyone on the team gets experience, which may take months or even years?
No he wasn’t saying that. Actually, Jefferson believes the Jazz are very close to being able to win games like Saturday's, when they led by 19 in the first half before fading. He’s encouraged by the team’s overall play this season.
“We’re not very far off,’’ he said. “You look at our games. We take Oklahoma City down to a shot. We take Phoenix on the road down to a shot. We had this team down 16 and we’re tied going into the fourth quarter. Even in the last three or four minutes it was a dogfight. We just need to continue to battle and continue to get better in the last five to six minutes of the game.’’
Jefferson, who saw limited playing time for Golden State last year, is doing his part for the Jazz this year. He led the Jazz in scoring with 18 points, including 12 in the first half, which was more than he scored in any game last year when he averaged just 3.1 points per game for the Warriors. Also, his 27 minutes were more than any he played last year.
“I’m just happy to be on the court, whatever minutes (coach Tyrone Corbin) gives me, I try to be a leader on and off the court,’’ he said. ”I’m feeling more and more comfortable out there. I had a bunch of shots in that Phoenix game that frustrated me that I wasn’t able to knock down. I just want to keep being aggressive and doing whatever the coach needs.’’
Jefferson came to the Jazz in the offseason in the big trade with Golden State that many saw purely as a salary-dumping move by the Jazz for three players whose contracts expire after this season. However, Jefferson has proved that he still has the skills he showed when he was a double-digit scorer for New Jersey and San Antonio for many years.
The 33-year-old believes it’s a matter of time before the Jazz start turning the close losses into wins and there is hope — even with a daunting four-game road trip coming up next week.
“We have a great group of young talented players. The coach does a great job of giving us the proper game plan and the tools we need to win,’’ he said. “We just need more experience, understanding the possessions and the shots and defensive transition. They escalate as you go on. There’s nothing you can say, no play you can draw up. You just have to go through this. It’s the growing pains of a young team.’’
He's been good. They've been competitive which is all I ask. If they get healthy they should be a lot better though that could mean Marvin playing too.
Kanter’s footwork as a 21-year-old ranks right up there with the likes of greats at his position like Tim Duncan, Kevin McHale, and Hakeem Olajuwon when they were the same age.
2 of those 3 were still in college at that age. Sounds like Kanter was a perimeter player before they drafted him and made him play near the rim as a rookie too. Hakeem is a good comparison. He hadn't played for long either at that point.
He has well-oiled spins in both directions, pivoting off either foot. His timing and feel for a defender’s presence, even with his back to the basket, are years ahead of his age. His finishing abilities haven’t caught up just yet (more on this in a moment), but this is what I mean when I talk about rarity of skills; finishing at the basket is something young players frequently struggle with and often improve with age and practice, but this sort of transcendent footwork is something a large percentage of big men will never grasp for their entire careers. With apologies for the low quality, look at this sublime drop-step to up-and-under action he pulls on multiple Laker defenders:
Before I get too excited here, it’s worth noting that his finishing issues warrant some improvement. Of 47 qualified centers last season, Kanter was 34th in field-goal percentage at the rim, per Hoopdata. This was despite an excellent ability to create looks at the basket (rarity of skills, again); his 7.2 attempts at the rim per 40 minutes are over double league average for centers and signify a problem in the execution, not the setup. Die-hard Jazz fans will know what I’m talking about – Kanter is still too timid when he goes up for dunks and layups, especially after offensive rebounds. Coaching and practice are likely to improve him in this area, and the rest of his game is polished enough that if he can even reach league-average as a finisher, he’s going to be scary with the ball in his hands.
A big part of this is his jump shot: in yet another area where young players (especially young bigs) typically struggle, Kanter is already well above average for centers league-wide. Per Hoopdata, he was excellent among 47 qualified centers for three distance ranges from the hoop last season: 3-9 feet (50.0%, 5th among centers), 10-15 feet (46.4%, 11th), and 16-23 feet (44.0%, 8th). These numbers place him in the company of elite jump-shooting bigs like Chris Bosh, Kevin Garnett and Al Horford. This type of accuracy from distance combined with his raw strength and speed for his size forecasts a post game that could become insanely difficult to stop.
Especially if he takes it out to 3 point range.
Check out Cole Aldrich trying to keep Kanter honest by preventing the jumper, only for Kanter to blow by him for a dunk:
Like any young prospect, there are several areas Kanter could improve on. Finishing at the hoop is one, and an across-the-board improvement on defense is likely another. Like Favors, Kanter is still inexperienced against high level NBA offense, but he doesn’t quite possess Favors’ raw athleticism, so adjusting will be tougher for him. He’s still very jumpy against pick-and-rolls and other actions meant to confuse; it almost seems like sometimes he’s trying too hard on defense and his body can’t keep up with his brain. He’s prone to the “ice skates” look that’s common among young big men, often unable to control his momentum to the point where he finds himself out of position. He also needs to make better decisions going over and under screens, as he frequently takes too long a path and gives up open looks. But again, these are all areas where high-IQ players typically improve with age and practice, and Jazz fans should be confident that Kanter can at least reach league-average levels on defense, if not slightly above average.
And if he can indeed reach these levels, while also improving his finishing at the hoop as we discussed, opposing bigs better watch out. He’s already well above average as a rebounder, especially on the offensive glass. He has excellent instincts and hustle, and his timing and box-out angles are quite advanced for his age (what a surprise, right?).
In short, imagine if Al Jefferson could play defense at even an acceptable level – that’s how Enes Kanter projects, only with better rebounding skills and even more physicality and strength. In a league with fewer and fewer real post-first bigs, Kanter could develop into the sort of weapon that can flummox opposing defenses with his variety of skills. Couple this with Favors’ pick-and-roll potential (and both guys’ willingness and ability on defense), and the Jazz have found themselves a twin towers pairing that should strike fear in the hearts of teams around the league.
Despite a 0-3 start and a 10-game losing streak, counting preseason games, the Utah Jazz haven’t been playing that poorly of late.
Actually they have since they sucked the whole 2nd half of their last game after a great first half.
They were close in a couple of late preseason games in Los Angeles, and in all three regular-season games, the Jazz were in the game until the final minutes, or even final seconds.
Now the Jazz are facing a daunting four-game Eastern road trip, beginning Tuesday night in Brooklyn (5:30 p.m. MST, ROOT Sports) and trying to figure out a way to find a victory. As far as coach Tyrone Corbin is concerned, it’s mostly a matter of playing a complete game.
“We’ve got to learn how to compete for 48 minutes,’’ said Corbin. “We’re getting good halves out of ourselves, we’re getting a good quarter or almost three quarters in a game. But we’ve got to put 48 minutes together, especially on the road.’’
Good luck! The road is usually a struggle for young teams. Even Stockton and Malone had a hard time for a while anyway.
In their most recent game, a 105-94 loss to Houston, the Jazz played an excellent first half when they led by as many as 19 points, but were doomed by a poor third quarter, which led to the defeat. The other two losses were by three points in the final seconds to Oklahoma City and Phoenix.
“The first half against Houston was pretty good,’’ said Corbin. “We executed and pushed the ball down the floor and I thought we took it to them defensively. But in the third quarter, we didn’t have the same sense of urgency about ourselves.’’
The players noticed that too.
‘We’re just a young group and we have to know the first five minutes of every quarter are the most important,’’ said John Lucas III.
“We need to learn how to take care of the ball better and how to close out games,’’ added Derrick Favors.
It won’t be easy for the Jazz Tuesday night at the Barclays Arena. Not only are the 1-2 Nets a team loaded with former all-star players (36 combined all-star appearances), they are coming off an embarrassing loss Sunday to the lowly Orlando Magic 107-86. That was the debut of new coach Jason Kidd, who had to sit out the first two games because of a DUI conviction.
Two former Jazz players are part of the all-star cast in Brooklyn — point guard Deron Williams and reserve forward Andrei Kirilenko. Corbin complimented both players, going over their individual attributes and saying the Jazz will have their hands full trying to defend them on the court.
Williams, who is off to a slow start (8.0 ppg on 36 percent shooting) will start on the guard line with Joe Johnson, while Brook Lopez mans the middle and Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, who came over from the Boston Celtics in the offseason, will be the forwards.
Others coming off the bench besides Kirilenko are veteran Jason Terry, Reggie Evans and Alan Anderson.
The Jazz are expected to go with the same lineup as Saturday with Jamaal Tinsley starting at point ahead of Lucas with Favors and Enes Kanter inside and Gordon Hayward and Richard Jefferson on the wings.
While the Jazz are clearly outmanned, as they will be most nights this season, Corbin feels his team has a chance if it takes care of the little things on the court.
“Every little thing counts, setting the right screens, getting the ball down the floor, making the right cut, making the right secondary pass, making the right shot,” he said. “We need to know how important the little things are in helping you be successful on the road.’’
After playing Brooklyn, the Jazz move up to Boston to play a young Celtics team Wednesday before games against Chicago on Friday and Toronto on Saturday.
The Jazz have had to play shorthanded so far this year with just 10 healthy bodies out of 15 players on the roster. The team is hoping that one or two players can rejoin the team during the four-game road trip this week, but it may not happen.
Both Marvin Williams, a starter last year at forward, and Brandon Rush, who was acquired in an offseason trade with Golden State, practiced for the first time Monday morning at the Zions Bank Basketball Center, although both are listed as out for Tuesday’s game.
“We’re just trying to continue to manage and we’re asking guys to play a lot of minutes right now,’’ Corbin said. “We’re limited, but the guys in uniform are playing as hard as they can. We need the bodies to get back, but right now, I’m not sure when.’’
While Corbin was hopeful Williams and Rush could play in games soon, it’s going to take awhile for the others to get back.
He said rookie point guard Trey Burke “still has a couple of weeks” and that Jeremy Evans has at least another week to get healed. Andris Biedrins may be a ways off too with his injured ankle. Biedrins was the only one of the five players who stayed in Salt Lake to do rehab.
Must have been a bad sprain! It's another week before Burke gets the splint off and they have a better idea of how much longer. Sounds better for Evans than last time I read about it too.
Rush's greatest value to the team this season may in fact be as a trade chip. The 28-year-old is an unrestricted free agent after the season, and if he can show that he's back to his pre-injury form he's a player who figures to be highly coveted by contenders ESPN.com
A day after participating in a full practice, there is buzz on Tuesday that Utah swingman Brandon Rush could play in his first game since tearing his left ACL on Nov. 2, 2012. Looking at the big picture, whether Rush plays tonight or in some upcoming game may not matter a whole lot -- the Jazz will have a hard time winning regardless. ESPN.com
Marvin Williams is the one I'd like to see as a trade chip if at all possible. Jefferson maybe because of his age. Rush and Biedrins are young enough to be a part of the team going forward possibly.
Rush, acquired in the offseason trade with Golden State, recently began fully participating in practice. Though he’s still listed as out on the injury report for tonight’s Jazz game, he suggested otherwise on Twitter following today’s shootaround at the Barclays Center.
“Might see some action n the game tonight,” he wrote while the team returned to its hotel following the prep session.
Rush hasn’t played in more than a year, having injured his knee in the second game with the Warriors last Nov. 2. He had surgery in January, and it’s been a slow recovery progress since then.
Rush is expected to become a valuable member of the Jazz bench, providing an outside scoring threat and perimeter defense.
I'm guessing he could start eventually.
Small forward Marvin Williams has also been able to do more in practice and continues to rehab from his offseason Achilles tendon surgery.
“Plus, we get Trey back soon,” Corbin added. “We’ll be OK.”
Burke is with the team in Brooklyn and has been a faithful observer while rehabbing from the surgery he had three weeks ago to repair his fractured right index finger. He’ll be re-evaluated Nov. 11 after the team returns from this four-game Eastern trip.
They are sure he'll be back soon?
Utah is also without big man Andris Biedrins (ankle) and forward Jeremy Evans (rotator cuff). Evans, who also accompanied the team, has progressed and doesn’t have as much swelling in his injured shoulder.
“He’s getting better every day,” Corbin said. “It’s still not where he has free movement without any pain.”
-- Relying on just 10 guys, especially some who likely won’t be in the regular rotation as the season progresses, has been tough for the Jazz. It forces main players like Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors to play longer stretches, which is not ideal at end of games when exhaustion can lead to errors.
“Finishing the fourth quarter has been difficult for us,” Corbin said.
Not having a full bench can really hurt when the team plays back-to-backs and a lot, like the four-games-in-five-nights situation it’s in this week. It doesn’t get much better anytime soon. Utah has 15 more games remaining in November, with five sets of games on consecutive nights.
“It’s just a difficult stretch for us,” Corbin said, “especially being with the short number of bodies in uniform.”
Not sure even if they have everyone healthy that you can not play them big minutes. They just aren't that deep especially since other than Burks they have no proven NBA pg talent.
-- The Jazz will again go with the lineup that started so well Saturday night, jumping out to a 19-point lead on the Rockets before a second-half stumble led to a 104-93 loss to the Rockets.
The Jazz are hoping to avoid starting 0-4, which hasn’t happened since the franchise relocated from New Orleans to Utah in 1979.
“You want to try to win. You want to compete. You don’t want to concede,” Corbin said. “Losing is not fun. You don’t want the guys to have a hopeless feel.”
You want to keep your job. The front office couldn't be happier right now. They are competing but losing.
Stein also predicts that Jazz coach Ty Corbin will be fired this season and replaced by longtime Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. These are Stein's "fearless" predictions, so some of them are obviously way out there.
I, for one, would be extremely surprised if the Jazz fired Corbin this year. The coach is without a deal at the end of this season, so it's possible that this is his last year. But the Jazz put Corbin in a tough situation, going all in on developing its young core, and they know that.
Fans, I suggest you take a new approach to this season in an effort to enjoy yourselves and to preserve your sports-related mental health. Let's say it together now: "It's OK if the Jazz lose." How did that feel? Now say it again.
Believe most fans are on board despite their continued complaining of Corbin.
Losing is what's best for the team in the long run. So when the Jazz stumble to a 22-win eyesore of a season, smile to yourself because you'll know your team is positioning itself for a potentially amazing future. Wasn't it four straight bad seasons that catapulted the Oklahoma City (smaller market than ours!) Thunder into the championship picture? Sometimes you gotta be bad to get good. In 2008-2009, the Thunder won a pathetic 23 games. The very next year? 50.
Luckily, the Jazz won't need three or four bad years. Thanks to the Deron Williams trade, the Jazz already have two No. 3 picks on the roster in Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. They've also got two No. 9s in Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke, and a No. 12 in Alec Burks. At this point, the Jazz are just one or two bad seasons away from potentially being reeeally good.
We'll see. They don't have two(3 with Harden?) of the best players in the game on their team
So, come over to the dark side, which ultimately, as I've outlined, is the path toward the bright lights of success. When the Jazz lose a heartbreaker — and there will be many — don't spit in anger. Don't grit your teeth and kick your melted Dippin' Dots across ESA's lower bowl in disgust. Smile smugly. Grin because you know it's all part of the master plan. As everyone else trudges out of the arena in post-loss despair, try to conceal the spring in your step.
And when Hayward rims out that last-second 3 that would've forced overtime, don't grimace and hang your head. Be comforted: That's exactly what the Jazz needed to have happen, especially with the organization failing to sign the talented swingman to an extension. Think about it: If Hayward leads the Jazz to the playoffs or to the near-playoffs (9th or 10th place), the Jazz of the future will be harmed. A) An early playoff exit and mid-first round draft pick will be the Jazz's reward, and B) Hayward's July 2014 price tag will inch upward into the Paul George range.
I'm not calling for mutiny. Not in the least. Jazz fans should keep right on cheering for their dudes. Jazz Nation should continue to strut around City Creek in their Favors jerseys, and they should continue causing a ruckus at home games. At the same time, it's important to keep an eye on the ultimate prize: Winning an NBA championship.
In the past 30 years, the Jazz have posted the fewest losing seasons out of any team in the entire NBA: an impressive two. TWO! Undeniably, it's something the Jazz and their fans should be proud of. Somehow the team has managed to stay above .500 for nearly three decades. In an incredibly competitive league, the Jazz have almost always, at the very least, as goes the saying: been in the conversation. For the most part, they've avoided the shame of lottery balls and locker cleanouts in April.
But guess what. No one hangs a banner for least losing seasons no matter how impressive the run. A carefully stitched "Almost Always Average or Better" sign can't be found in ESA's rafters. True glory is about winning championships.
So, enjoy this season. Accept what comes. Watch your team like a proud parent observing her wobbly-footed toddler attempting to take its first steps.
And when the losing streaks drag, remember: The Jazz have a proud history, a legacy of stacking winning season atop winning season. But let's also not forget: The Jazz will never get a parade down State Street for being "pretty good."
Hard to imagine them ever winning a title regardless. They blew the best chance they will likely ever have with Stockton and Malone. That's hard to duplicate.
Gordon Hayward is continuing to develop as the primary scorer. Tonight only once did he get caught on a really low percentage shot. He missed a few shots that were good ideas and things he is trying to develop. He finished 8 of 16 with 22 pts, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
That's the best he's looked a scorer but I still think he'll be better off filling the box score than being a go to guy. Burks and Kanter are more suited to that role.
Jazz aren’t good shooters – 4 of 18 from three and are shooting 24% from three.
Enter Rush hopefully.
Not a single player beyond the young 4 are playing well right now and contributing offensively. This means that if one of the 4 young guys doesn’t play well it is going to be hard to win and if two don’t play well it is going to get to be a decent margin. This is a difficult standard for guys who have never been through this before and never had the experience of how to play with this type of burden. There are going to be some worn out nights for the youngsters.
Jefferson has played well. Favors otoh...
Trey Burke will help when he returns considering John and Jamaal are shooting 16-54 and 5-32 from three. However, he still needs to be allowed to be 20 and make mistakes a miss a ton of shots.
Remains to be seen rather he will help. Neto certainly might have.
"I’m amped to just get out there, get some run up and down against a real opponent and try to build some confidence back in my knee," Rush said.
One thing he doesn’t need confidence in right now is his shot.
"It’s feeling good," said Rush, who shot 45 percent from 3 the season before his injury. "I don’t think you can lose the touch. That’s all I’ve been doing for the last 9-10 months is just working on shooting and dribbling and stuff."
While his minutes will be limited as he gets back into game shape, Rush’s return is certainly welcomed by the Jazz, who have played the first three games of the year with just 10 healthy players.
"It’s been tough [watching from the bench]," Rush said. "I know they need some help out there — guys to make shots and play defense. That’s what I’m here for. I’m happy to get back out there."
If Hayward's development stalls, the Jazz can look elsewhere. Point guards and centers are hot commodities in the NBA. Wing players such as Hayward, however, are everywhere. The Jazz will have many options next year and could snag a player at a lower price than what Hayward's agent likely asked during the recent extension talks.
Utah, with 45.3 rebounds per game, is an NBA top 10 rebounding team. The rebounding advantage collapses however when Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter leave the floor. These two average a combined 20.7 rebounds per game — 45.7 percent of total Jazz rebounds. When these two players leave the floor, who fills the gap?
Biedrins when healthy. Gobert has been good. Problem is defensive rebounding again.
The Jazz bank on Marvin Williams to sub for Favors, but Williams is injured. Once he starts playing, his Achilles recovery will limit his minutes and effectiveness on the floor for months.
Jeremy Evans, who hypothetically could sub for Favors, is also injured. Evans brings energy, shot-blocking and reach to the Jazz.
Evans told Deseret News Jazz beat writer Jody Genessy, “For me personally, (I feel) a lot more comfortable, just shooting the ball, doing more on offense … I love playing defense. Of course, I’m going to block shots, go for steals and help my teammates out.”