Utah Jazz's Mehmet Okur gets compliments on condition

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 13 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

Utah Jazz center Mehmet Okur (13) shoots during practice at the Zions Bank Basketball Center in Salt Lake City Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Mehmet Okur is the latest Jazz player to receive compliments for his physical condition.

Utah wasn't sure what to expect from Okur, who missed all but 13 games last season because of a ruptured Achilles tendon and back problems.

But Okur, who's shed weight and worked his way back to 100 percent health, got a rave review for his camp shape.

"He's been extremely energetic," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "(He's) feeling better and better about himself on the floor."

BIG BATTLES: Before camp started, Corbin predicted it would be "fun" to watch Jazz bigs Al Jefferson, Okur, Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors and Paul Millsap tussle in training.

Corbin said the battles of the bigs are meeting expectations.

"They compete on everything we try and do," he said. "That's a good thing. That's how they're going to get better, and that's how we'll get better as a team."

WINGING IT: The small forward duel between C.J. Miles and Gordon Hayward has been another fun position fight, Corbin said.

Miles came in leaner. Hayward came in stronger. And they're both better.

"Those two guys right now are really in a battle against each other to see who will come out on top," Corbin said. "It's a good competition."

And the shooting guards?

"Raja Bell's been tremendous in camp," Corbin said.

It's a work in progress for rookie Alec Burks, he added.

"He's getting better. It's a different speed for him," Corbin said.

MEETING HOWARD?: Free agent swingman Josh Howard will meet with the Jazz this week, according to his camp.

Howard's publicist said San Antonio gave Howard a "firm offer," as she said the Jazz did last week.

General manager Kevin O'Connor said no formal offer was made, but said Utah has had "serious discussions" with Howard.

Email: jody@desnews.com

Twitter: DJJazzyJody

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