Utah Jazz: Youngsters Hayward, Favors show maturity on the court
SALT LAKE CITY – Considering that Ty Corbin's son, Tyrell, is 18 years old, the Jazz coach admitted that it has been a bit interesting for him to play a couple of youngsters who are only a bit older than the West High School standout.
Be forewarned that this might make you feel older, but Derrick Favors — the NBA's youngest player — is still a teenager, and Gordon Hayward isn't yet legal.
Combined, they're two years younger than John Stockton was when he retired at age 41.
"They're talented guys. They grew up really fast and they've been around the game forever," Corbin said. "They've played a lot of basketball, and to their credit they're ready for it."
Corbin didn't hesitate to keep them in the game together Monday night against the Boston Celtics. He didn't shy away from giving the two players with bright futures compliments at Tuesday's practice, either.
"They were playing a good game. They didn't look like, act like or play like 20-year- and 19-year-old kids in the game," the 48-year-old Corbin said. "They did a good job. They were aggressive. They made the right plays. They played really good defense. They fought their guys in tough situations and it was pleasing to see."
As for his teenage player, Corbin said he'll definitely make it to West's playoff game this afternoon. The Jazz are in town all week, so the timing couldn't be better for the proud pop to watch his son and the Panthers play in the 5A tournament.
SKY HIGH: Favors was visibly winded by the end of his 16 minutes Monday, part of which can be attributed to him playing hard and part of which can be blamed on him playing on higher ground.
His old home, Newark, N.J., is at sea level, and his new digs are about 4,400 feet higher than that.
"I just gave it my all the time I was out there. I've got to get used to the altitude, too," Favors admitted. "It's pretty easy playing in Jersey, but out here in the mountains you've got to be in top shape, so I've still got to get used to that."
Point guard Devin Harris said it didn't take his body long to acclimate to the altitude.
The 28-year-old noticed it "a little bit the first couple of times down the floor," he said. "But after that, it was smooth sailing."
MOVING UP: Hayward, who turns 21 on March 23, laughed when asked if it's nice to not be the Jazz's youngest kid anymore.
"It's nice to have another young guy on the team," he said. "In a couple of (weeks), I won't even be in the 20-and-under program, so he'll be the only one again."
No word on whether or not Favors will have to sport a pink princess backpack around like the other rookies, Hayward and 23-year-old Jeremy Evans.
As far as his maturation process in the NBA, Hayward said he doesn't always feel that young anymore. Usually.
"Sometimes I do out there, just based on the refs and stuff," he said. "Other than that, though, I feel just like a player out there. I don't think age matters."
NO MEMO ON MEMO: The Jazz did not release the results of a three-week checkup on the Mehmet Okur's back to determine if he could resume normal basketball activity.
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