Utah Jazz notebook: Everybody's got a dunking idea for defending champ Jeremy Evans
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — On Thursday, Jeremy Evans received his invitation to defend his 2012 Slam Dunk championship next Saturday.
Before that All-Star Weekend event takes place in Houston, though, Evans knows what he's in for over the next seven days.
"Walk into the arena, somebody may stop me. Out on the street, in the mall," Evans said. "Someone always has an idea."
Some are good thoughts. Some, he added, are "impossible."
Coaches. Teammates. Fans. Sports writers. They have or will chime in.
"There's no telling what can be done, especially if you can jump high," Evans said. "It's just creativity."
Evans smiled at the suggestion that he should double his efforts that won him the 2012 crown with his highlight two-basketball dunk over Gordon Hayward last February in Orlando.
Two teammates. Four basketballs. One amazing dunk.
"I'm not trying to hurt myself," he said. "But we'll see what happens."
That might fall into the "Don't even think about it" category. So might Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin's joke that Evans might leap over a van.
"He should do well. He's practicing hard," Corbin said. "I'm excited about him being in it again to defend his championship."
Corbin did admit to giving Evans one suggestion, but he isn't sure whether the 6-9 forward will use it or not. He doesn't want to spoil the "element of surprise," so the coach didn't tell reporters what slam he drew up, either.
Evans appreciates the support from the Jazz, some of whom razzed him while getting interviewed after Friday morning's shootaround. (Future dunk champ wannabe Alec Burks walked by and belted out, "Yeah, Dunk Champ!" and Derrick Favors strolled by loudly barking.)
"They know the competitors," Evans said of Jazz teammates. "They tell me all the time I need to be practicing and to get on my game."
Evans is even more convinced of that after watching YouTube dunking videos of Eric Bledsoe (Clippers), Kenneth Faried (Nuggets), Gerald Green (Pacers), Terrence Ross (Raptors) and James White (Knicks).
"From the competitors I've seen, it's going to be a good show and I have a lot of competition," he said. "So I've got to bring it."
Guard Randy Foye, who thought he might be invited to the 3-point shooting contest, said Evans has bounced his own ideas off of Jazz players.
"Some of the things that he talked to us about that he wants to do, I think are pretty cool," Foye said, without revealing trade secrets. "I think he has a good chance to win. There's a lot of hype around the other guys, but he's still the defending champ."
Evans said Hayward is returning to Indianapolis, so unless he plans on starting his dunk in the Hoosier State, he might need a new teammate to act as a prop.
Guard Earl Watson is happy for his favorite alley-oop partner. He even called his younger pal's second invitation "amazing." Yet, the point guard took a moment to tease Evans in public.
"I think when he went last year no one gave him a chance. This year it's pretty good competition," Watson said. "Hopefully, he has some creative things up his sleeve. He kind of fired me for Derrick Favors. Derrick Favors is his new dunk agent, so you'll have to ask Derrick (for dunk details)."
It's unclear, however, what Favors meant when he bellowed out, "Woof! Woof! Woof!"
"I told him Derrick has to throw him lobs in the games," Watson joked. "He didn't like that."
Evans is humbled to get a second chance. Darrell Griffith and Blue Edwards are the only other Utah players to be invited in consecutive years.
"Of course, there's always pressure, not only just because you're the champion," Evans said. "You want to win. You compete not against them but against yourself."
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