Utah Jazz: Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors can't wait for bigger offensive roles
“We still have Fav and Enes (Kanter) down low. They’re still big bodies that can move people and make good moves and create stuff for other people,” he added. “I’m not going to say the offense is going to change a lot, but there will probably be some differences.”
Ah, yes. Enes Kanter.
The Jazz center spent the past 10 days working out and rehabbing at the P3 training center in Santa Barbara, Calif. He’s expected both to be fully healed from his spring shoulder surgery and to be a big contributor in Utah’s offense, something he showed he’s capable of doing while racking up 23 points and 22 rebounds while filling in for Jefferson against the Bobcats last March.
Hayward said the Jazz are going to need Kanter (7.2 ppg in 2012-13), projected starting shooting guard Alec Burks (7.0 ppg) and champing-at-the-bit Jeremy Evans (5.8 ppg) to fill the offensive void created by management’s new direction.
It remains to be seen what Utah will get from Marvin Williams, who isn’t expected back from his Achilles tendon surgery until December, or from their new acquisitions. Burke, the 2013 national player of the year, was a prolific scorer in college (18.6 ppg), but the 6-1 playmaker struggled mightily while shooting just 24 percent overall and 1 for 19 from 3-point range in the Orlando Pro Summer League.
And the incoming veterans?
Combined, Jazz additions Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson, Brandon Rush and John Lucas III averaged 3.1 ppg, 1.7 rpg and 0.9 apg last season.
Even if they have outstanding offensive years, Hayward and Favors can’t do it all.
“We’re going to have to find other ways to get other people involved,” Hayward said. “But, yeah, Derrick and I are going to have to step up big-time — not just in a leadership role but in a production role.”
Hayward, a versatile 6-8 wing, has been working hard to improve his ballhandling skills and his ability to find better ways to finish close to the basket, whether it be with floaters, pull-up jumpers or other creative shots.
“I see everything — drives to the basket, pull-up jumpers, everything from him, man. He’s doing a lot here,” Favors said of Hayward. “I think he can take on that role of being the leading scorer on the team.”
Favors, being tutored by the Mailman, continues to search for his “go-to move,” and he showed a couple of promising glimpses in a scrimmage Tuesday. He drew a few “oohs” from the small crowd while powering past defenders for a dunk, and he used his imposing athletic ability for a 6-foot-10, 248-pound man with an equally impressive spin move in the post to get to the foul line.
“There’s a lot of stuff I can do. I’m multi-talented, man,” Favors said. “I’m going to be a lot more aggressive this upcoming season because we don’t have Al or Paul here.”
Hayward won’t argue with his teammate on that multi-talented part.
“Derrick is still developing his game down low. What he’s best at in my opinion is setting screens, rolling, finding the open area, and just making power finishes. He can do that with anybody in the NBA,” Hayward said. “He’s gotten tremendously better since he came into the league with his post game, and he’s only going to get better doing that.”
Hayward doesn’t believe that the Jazz’s renewed emphasis on building a “defensive foundation” — something Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey said will be more important than 2013-14 win-loss totals — is out of necessity due to a lack of firepower. He sees it more as giving the team more transition opportunities from making stops.
“Defense is what wins ballgames," Hayward said. "We’ll be able to score.”
Favors emphatically agrees.
"Points will come from anywhere," he said. "Last year, because we had Al and Paul, mostly we were a post-up team because those guys were out there killing everybody. But there's different ways you can score points."
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