Utah Jazz basketball notebook: Jazz players reflect on Kobe Bryant's milestone
LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant surpassed the 30,000-point mark this past week, putting him in an elite category. The Laker star is one of only five players in NBA history to reach 30 grand, joining all-time scoring leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain.
"It's a tremendous accomplishment," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "And he has a lot more left in him, so who knows? The sky's the limit with him."
Jazz point guard Mo Williams has nothing but respect for the prolific 34-year-old scorer, who's averaged 25.4 points over his 17-year career.
"That's up there with one of the greats. I'm a big fan of Kobe. I think he's up there arguably with the Michael Jordans of the game," he said. "When you're in the same breath as those guys for what he's done in his career, it's unbelievable, really."
Williams laughed when asked how many point he's put up in his 10-year NBA career.
"Maybe you can help me with that," he said. "I have no clue. That will probably put it into perspective."
OK, for fun, here's some perspective: Bryant's total of 30,051 career points is more than the Jazz's entire starting lineup from Friday night's game combined (25,253).
Al Jefferson, not included in that lineup due to his back spasms, is Utah's current career-scoring leader with 9,275 points in nine seasons.
He's tallied 8,378 points in 10 seasons.
(The rest of Friday's starting lineup: Paul Millsap, 5,885 points; Marvin Williams, 5,804 points; Randy Foye, 4,754 points; and Enes Kanter, 432 points.)
Rookie Kevin Murphy, currently on a D-League assignment with the Reno Bighorns, has a long way to go to reach Bryant. Murphy only has four NBA points so far.
Corbin was baffled when asked how close he came to hitting 30,000 points during his 16-year NBA career.
"I don't know if I was close at all," the former Jazz player said. "I have no idea. I don't know."
Turns out, not close at all.
Though he had a respectable career, bouncing around the league, Corbin finished with 9,766 points after averaging 9.2 points per game.
That's a long way off from Kobe's mark, but it does give the 49-year-old coach bragging rights over his players.
And the person in the organization with the most to boast about from a scoring perspective?
Assistant coach Jeff Hornacek. He scored 15,659 points during his 13-year career.
The Mailman is obviously the Jazz's all-time scoring leader, having totaled 36,928 points in his Hall of Fame career. Utah fans, however, would rather forget the final 554 points he scored in a Laker uniform.
KANTER CAN: Jefferson said he was "proud" of the way Kanter played in his starting center role Friday night, adding that it gave him confidence that the second-year player could replace him again if necessary.
The morning after, Corbin said he wasn't surprised that Kanter stepped up to the task, scoring 18 points and grabbing eight rebounds in his first career start.
"I expected him to have fun. I expected him to work hard and I thought he did some good things there," the Jazz coach said. "I thought he handled the minutes on the floor fairly well. He got tired there towards the end, but it's a good learning lesson for him."
Kanter missed some rotations and wasn't always in the right spots, but Corbin gave him a positive review.
"He did a good job on the post and being big," he said. "I thought he was a presence on the defensive end for the most part. … I was happy about his performance."
PLAYING SICK: Mo Williams played 24 minutes Friday, scoring 11 points and dishing out 10 assists despite dealing with "gastric distress" that day.
"Once the adrenaline gets going, you kind of go," Williams said Saturday at practice. "But you have those times in the game where your body get a little weak. It's kind of mind over matter at that point. You just push through it."
Staying hydrated was important. Williams added that a good night's sleep helps.
"I feel a lot better from yesterday to today," he said. "It was one of those 24-hour things."
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