Utah Jazz players aren't frustrated with unpredictable minutes

Published: Monday, Jan. 9 2012 8:00 p.m. MST

Seasoned vets Paul Millsap, Devin Harris, Raja Bell and Miles have also seen decreased game-time action — significant in some cases. Earl Watson is the only veteran player whose time has increased — from 19.6 minutes last season to 20.9 mpg.

"We have a unique blend of players. That's Ty's challenge is to find minutes and opportunity for everybody and find the chemistry that's going to work the best," said Bell, who is starting but only averaging 19.1 minutes per game after logging 30.8 mpg last season.

"I think in a 66-game season that's shortened, having that type of depth and youth is a good thing if we can figure out the chemistry and what works the best."

Bell was frustrated with his shooting early this season, but he hasn't complained about his changed role.

"We're creatures of habit, everyone is. It's nice to know what your rotation is and when you're coming in," Bell said. "But that's not always the case, so you have to be able to adjust and be able to make the most of what's given to you when it's given to you. It can be a challenge, but you've got to try to figure out how to do that."

That's the current situation — yet again — Miles finds himself in.

The seventh-year swingman's time has been hit and miss, ranging from between 17 and 26 minutes in the first six games to a combined 13 minutes in Jazz wins over Memphis and Golden State.

The addition of explosive scorer Josh Howard is one factor, and young wings Hayward and Burks are earning their keep.

Lowe had a chat with Miles on Saturday to make sure he's handling the inconsistent time OK. Both coach and player say his mindset is in the right spot, with Lowe adding that, "C.J. was great about it." Miles insists he'll keep working hard, be prepared to play at all times and support his teammates when he's not in the game.

"Of course, I want to play. Everybody knows that. People look at me, you know that," Miles said. "We're winning games, guys are playing well. When they put me out there, I'm going to do my job. Today my job is just to work and stay ready, and that's what I'm going to do."

Millsap's minutes are down almost seven minutes a night — partially because of the compressed schedule, but also because of the increased productivity of up-and-coming big man Favors.

Millsap said he isn't bothered, adding that less time is "expected" because of the shortened slate.

"You realize you're not going to get the 30 or 40 minutes you think you want to get, so you just kind of make do," Millsap said. "I understand because I'm a team guy. I understand it's beneficial to our winning for my minutes to be limited throughout the course of this season. I just kind of understand that."

Don't underestimate how much that type of understanding helps Corbin make the tough choices.

Email: jody@desnews.com


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