Utah Jazz: Honeymoon ends, practice begins for reportedly fit squad
SALT LAKE CITY — Nobody puked, and Enes Kanter didn't post any wacky pictures in the social media sphere.
Consider the Utah Jazz's first practice a success.
It helped the team's cause that players arrived at training camp in "pretty good shape," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin pointed out.
"We came in and guys are in shape, so that made it a little bit easier for us to move along," Jazz forward Paul Millsap said. "We're moving on pace."
With eight newcomers in the 18-player camp, the Jazz's first task is to get everybody introduced to each other.
"We're just trying to get everybody familiar with everybody right now," Corbin said. "(We're) making sure everybody's on the same page."
As they learn each other's names and playing tendencies, the coaching staff will continue to introduce different aspects of the Jazz's system and work on player combinations.
Corbin said it helps to have a good group of guys back, so the majority of the team can "build on what we learned last year" while the new guys get up to speed.
With two-a-day sessions going this week, Corbin explained that he wants to "get the guys out of thinking as fast as we can, so we can get to playing basketball."
The Jazz's first preseason game is Monday at Golden State. Fans, however, will have a chance to get a sneak peek of the squad Saturday at a free open scrimmage (4 p.m., EnergySolutions Arena).
"Everybody's played against each other. It's just us playing with each other," said Jazz guard Jamaal Tinsley, who practiced Tuesday after missing media day with a mouth issue. "We just got to put it all together and go for one goal and that's win ballgames for this organization."
Corbin said he could notice a change in the comfort level and confidence of returning young guys like Enes Kanter and Alec Burks. The Jazz expect veteran additions Mo Williams, Marvin Williams and Randy Foye to catch on quickly as well.
Now in his third year, Gordon Hayward also feels more at ease in this training camp.
"It's good to have that experience under your belt and kind of know what to expect," Hayward said. "But it's also kind of weird to have some of these guys ask you what's going to happen. 'What's practice going to be like and stuff?' I was asking that."
Tuesday was Marvin Williams' first training camp with a team other than the Atlanta Hawks, for which he played for the past seven seasons.
He doesn't have the advantage of already having played for the Jazz like Mo Williams, but what the small forward saw was familiar.
"Obviously, Utah's run the same system for a long time, so playing against them I know a little bit of their sets," he said. "But obviously when they get deeper and deeper, I'll have to focus a little bit more."
Guard Earl Watson was only able to partially participate as he rehabs from his spring knee surgery, but he couldn't help but chuckle while working out with the team.
"Man," he said, "I was looking out at the court today. I've been in the league for a long time. You see the guys on my team, they're so young."
One of the Jazz's young guns wasn't at Day 1 of training camp, though.
Rookie Kevin Murphy missed his first day of workouts. The 22-year-old Tennessee Tech guard returned home to be with his pregnant wife, who went into labor.
While it sets the Jazz's second-round pick back to not be at practice, an empathetic Corbin said it was the right decision for the shooting guard.
"He needed to be with his wife. We understand that," Corbin said. "We'll support him and we look forward to him getting back."
Guard Raja Bell also didn't practice. He remains away from the team while his camp and the Jazz try to figure out how to resolve his situation after the veteran made it clear he no longer wants to play for Utah.
As for the guys in camp, the consensus was that they have to work hard in practice, build a strong chemistry, get plenty of rest and fluids between sessions and implement what the coaching staff threw at them.
"The honeymoon is over," Mo Williams said. "It's here now. Training camp is here."
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