Utah Jazz: 4 big men give Jazz plenty of options — and tough decisions, too
The only time Corbin is worried Millsap might occasionally get exposed is in possible Big Three lineup situations when he goes against quicker small forwards. The coach might use that curve-ball lineup again this season after experiencing success in short stretches with it last season, but Corbin made a point to say this about Millsap: "He's a four man and likes playing four."
Get Corbin talking about Millsap, and the compliments flow.
"He's in great shape. He's continued to be the pro that he's always been," Corbin said. "He's a little bit more vocal now than he was. He's comfortable with being one of the leaders on this team. He knows it's a big year for him."
Favors, boosted from his offseason training experience with the Olympic team, continues to push his elders while gradually improving his ability to score from the block. Corbin said the 6-10 Atlanta product is still trying to find a reliable go-to move, but credited him with making "some progress and polishing his moves on the post."
Jefferson even threw out the compliment, "Derrick Favors is a monster."
Though "Favzilla," the Jazz's best player in the playoffs last spring, could cut into Millsap's playing time and perhaps take over his role as starting power forward, the Utah veteran treats him like a teammate and not a competitor.
"With Derrick being who he is, being an extreme talent, he pushes me, he motivates me every day, and I do the same for him," Millsap said. "That's the good thing about it. In practices, they're very competitive. We're learning from each other, which is good. We've just got to continue to do that."
Millsap was happy to hear that Favors mentioned this summer how he was stealing low-post moves from both Big Al and the Louisiana Tech product.
"That's good. I'm very excited about that. I'm glad that he's doing that," Millsap said. "That means he's being a student of the game and he's trying to get better."
Millsap laughed and added, "A lot of my moves, they're patented, copyrighted."
Corbin sees improvement from Favors and Kanter, too.
"They're getting better and they're learning," he said. "They're in great shape. It's been a good competition to watch."
When his entertaining offseason antics aren't being discussed, Kanter's dramatic weight loss — 51 pounds overall but about 30 pounds less than last season — has been a popular camp topic.
Even after two months of a salad-and-seafood diet, the 20-year-old has apparently maintained power while increasing his speed and ability to explode.
"He's quicker. He's moving a lot quicker. He's off the floor a little faster and easier than he was before," Corbin said of the 6-foot-11, second-year center. "I don't think the weight loss hurt his big body inside, his power. The guys are still falling off of him. I think it's been a good thing for him. Two-forty-five may be a good weight for him."
So, how's it all going to sort out?
"You interview coach yet? That's the man over that. He know," Jefferson said. "I'm pretty sure he's going to do a good job of making sure everybody gets in."
Even with two young guys who need floor time to flourish, Corbin said the most important thing is to put combinations on the court that will help the Jazz succeed this season.
Over the summer, Favors said he wants increased playing time, whether it's in a reserve role or as a starter. It's quite possible the upped PT will happen, but Corbin didn't flinch when asked if he'll simply give Favors extra time to prepare him for the future. It should be noted that both Jefferson and Millsap will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season, while Favors and Kanter have more time on their rookie contracts.
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