Sloan: Shooting better, playing well simple solutions for Utah Jazz's woes

Published: Sunday, Oct. 31 2010 11:29 a.m. MDT

Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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OKLAHOMA CITY — Jerry Sloan recently wondered out loud if his new team has too many offensive options to mull over on the court.

But while the six players not on last year's roster continue to figure the system out and jell with the six returning guys, Sloan believes the solution to a course correction isn't complex.

Not that it will be easy for the 0-2 Jazz to accomplish in today's 5 p.m. game against the Northwest Division favorite Oklahoma City Thunder.

"Everybody wants to play well and when we have that, we have everybody play well, we're usually pretty good," Sloan said at the Jazz's shootaround this morning at the Ford Center.

"If that happens, then you feel pretty good about getting your team back together. If it doesn't then you've got to be concerned about it."

For now, Sloan said he doesn't intend on changing the starting lineup of Deron Williams, Raja Bell, Andrei Kirilenko, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson.

But that could change along with reserve rotations if the poor-shooting Jazz don't start finding the bottom of the net soon. And the Jazz have struggled from inside and out, Sloan acknowledged.

"If you can't make shots," he said, "then they just pack everything in and make everything more difficult around the basket."

Sloan is hopeful his "top players are going to be the ones that take the responsibility of being able to make shots, or maybe work a little harder to get a shot."

The Jazz coach also wants to see his players improve on transition defense. Bad positioning after missed shots has led to opponents scoring 20-plus points in the first two blowout losses in which Utah allowed 110 points to the Nuggets and Suns.

"Bottom line is, they've got to come with an effort. You can't give up transition basketball," Sloan said. "I think that's a legitimate concern when guys don't run the floor properly. For whatever reason we haven't been able to get that done."

The Halloween Night special will be broadcast on FSN-Utah and by NBA-TV.

e-mail: jody@desnews.com

Twitter: DJJazzyJody

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