Utah Jazz notebook: Inactive list isn't punishment for 2 first-year players
Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
MILWAUKEE — On Friday, Jerry Sloan said he hoped rookie Jeremy Evans wouldn't take being put on the inactive list as punishment.
The Utah Jazz coach also said other players aside from the second-round pick might sit out games now that the team has more than a dozen healthy players with Mehmet Okur back.
Gordon Hayward got his first turn on the inactive list Saturday night in the Jazz's 95-86 win over Milwaukee.
And the rookie's coach had a similar message to Utah's No. 9 draft pick as he did to the team's second-round selection the previous night.
"I try to tell them, 'It's not anything personal. I think you're doing a good job,'" Sloan said. "But we have to make decisions based on some things. That's the way it is."
Sloan hadn't had to deal with making inactive list choices before Okur returned from his eight-month-long Achilles injury rehab on Friday. But the team has 13 guys available to play and the NBA only allows 12 to dress.
Despite being inactivated for the night, Hayward is trying to maintain a good attitude.
"I just got to keep working, just try to learn what I can from the bench and cheer on my teammates," Hayward said. "I just gotta stay positive. I've just gotta work to get better and hopefully improve."
Sloan said he'll talk to general manager Kevin O'Connor about whether or not Hayward or Evans should be assigned to the Utah Flash to give them more playing time, which he believes they need, in the D-League.
Interestingly, after three starts and struggling games, Hayward had one of his best games of his NBA career on Friday night. The Butler standout scored seven points — only the third time he's had more than five points — and grabbed three rebounds.
"I'm trying to go out there and give it all I got. ... I was a little more aggressive," Hayward said of Friday's outing. "I think I had a little more open looks and just tried to take them and tried to make the best of it."
Though dressed to play, Evans was the only available Jazz player who didn't see action in the win at the Bradley Center.
Hayward's absence on the court was probably noticed by at least one of the 16,004 fans. One spectator held up a sign made for him that read: "Butler misses Gordon Hayward."
TECHNICAL DETAILS: Deron Williams received a technical foul in the fourth quarter for something he said to a referee from the bench. The T gave the Bucks a free point but ended up sparking Utah, which went on a game-winning 13-2 run only a moment later after D-Will sank a 3-pointer.
"It was all me," Williams joked while maintaining a straight face. "I sparked that with that technical, that's what I did."
Is that so, coach?
"I think," Sloan said, "he was checking the weather, to see how cold it was outside."
Far below freezing, that's for sure.
Williams actually didn't think his words merited a $2,000 tech.
"I asked (the ref) if he was a rookie, because I thought he was," Williams said. "He took that personal. What can you do?"
Maybe ask about the weather next time?
ALMOST REPEATING HISTORY: The Jazz wanted to put Friday's 29-point blowout loss behind them before they even left New Orleans Arena. But the poor performance nearly ended up following them around in the franchise's history book.
Utah's all-around shooting was historically bad, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Friday's game marked just the second time in 36 years — and the first time since March 23, 2007 — that the Jazz shot less than 40 percent overall (35.8 percent) while missing at least half of their free throws (10-for-20).
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