All-Star break means different things for Jazz players, coaches

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 22 2012 10:49 p.m. MST

Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman questions a call in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012, in Minneapolis. The Timberwolves won 100-98. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Jim Mone, AP

MINNEAPOLIS — The NBA's annual All-Star Weekend means different things to different people.

For two Utah Jazz players, Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors, it means an opportunity to play in the Friday's Rising Stars Challenge, a game featuring first- and second-year NBA players in an all-star format where the two teams' coaches — legendary big men Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley — certainly know a little bit about the All-Star Weekend festivities themselves.

For Utah's Jeremy Evans, it means he'll get a chance to put his high-flying dunking skills on grand display in the Sprite Slam Dunk competition on Saturday.

And for Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin, it gives him an opportunity to express how proud he is of his young pups.

"It's a good accomplishment for the organization and great recognition for those young guys," Corbin said. "For them to get down there and get a chance to experience the other side of the NBA — the glamor, the glitz of the All-Star Weekend — it's a tremendous reward for them to be able to be a part of it.

"And we look forward to them being in the (All-Star) game on Sunday instead of the Friday and Saturday night games at some point in their careers."

But most of the Jazz family will find other ways to spend this midseason weekend.

And for veteran swingman C.J. Miles, he says the time off is particularly important for the "guys that play a lot a lot of minutes."

But that doesn't mean spending the entire four days just lazily laying around the house and gorging oneself on burritos and bon-bons.

"I don't think you want to take the whole four or five days off because then you let your body get to point where it's out of a routine," Miles said. "And then when you come back, it's going to be even harder than it was than just taking two or three days off, then working out a couple of days right before we start back.

"I think the biggest thing is just to be smart about what you do. Do something just to keep your heartbeat pumping, but don't do anything to go crazy and really get your mind off of it, too.

"Go see your family," said Miles, a 24-year-old, six-year NBA veteran who sounded wise beyond his years. "People that have kids go be able to (be) with their kids, go be able to do the things they don't get to do regularly with their kids — to the park, to their soccer games, whatever that may be.

"I think it's refreshing, especially with all of the games we've been playing and the pressure of trying to get out there and help your team win games. And the way it's been up and down, I think it'll be good, especially for some guys on our team, everybody on our team, body-wise."

Asked how he planned on spending All-Star Weekend, Corbin quipped: "Well, I'm going to continue practicing my interviews."

But that'll be a small part of what Coach Corbin accomplishes between now and when the regular season resumes next Tuesday at Sacramento.

"We get a chance to reflect a few days, look at some more film and understand where we are completely," he said, "and what we have to do to get better in the second half to finish this thing off and make a playoff run at the end."

BACK IN MINNESOTA: Corbin spent two-plus seasons playing for the Timberwolves' franchise from 1989-91 after the expansion team first joined the league, and he reflected fondly on that time he spent here.

"I enjoyed my time here," he said. "I thought this was a great city and a great community, and they were really excited about the teams that we had here the 2 1/2 years I was here.

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