Utah Jazz: Scrimmage a bit 'sloppy,' but players pleased with first week of work
SALT LAKE CITY — The new video scoreboards dazzled the crowd at EnergySolutions Arena, but the shot clocks didn't work.
Likewise, the Utah Jazz showed off their new players and returning guys with new roles at Saturday’s scrimmage, but they clearly have some work to do before functioning properly as well.
Fourth-year pro Gordon Hayward, the Jazz’s longest-tenured player, called the first week of training camp “good,” but said the overall performance in the scrimmage was predictably “sloppy” after the team went through seven practices in four days.
“Guys are tired and their legs are pretty far gone,” Hayward said. “But I thought it was a solid week, for sure, and I think we’re still learning each other, still growing.”
Hayward was among likely key contributors — along with Derrick Favors and rookie point guard Trey Burke — who had so-so personal outings Saturday. Enes Kanter was the only Jazz player of 18 that played who hit double figures in scoring with 15 points.
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin took a detour when asked for his assessment of the scrimmage and thanked the estimated 7,200 people in the stands.
“First of all, I can’t say enough about the fans here in Utah and the Jazz Nation fans, how they come out and support,” he said. “(It’s easy) for the guys to play when they see the enthusiasm of the fans like they did tonight. They tried to play and do things that we wanted them to do by executing our offense and by giving the fans something to be excited about.”
MANICURE TIME?: The best quote of the night came from point guard John Lucas III during the team introductions after Jazz radio voice David Locke asked him to tell about his experiences as a Spurs ballboy back in the day.
Lucas dished some dirt on Dennis Rodman.
“Dennis is crazy,” Lucas said, laughing. “He used to cut his toenails on the bench and I had to go clean it up.”
DANCE OFF: It’s unlikely any of the Jazz rookies — Burke, Rudy Gobert or Ian Clark — will be invited to a dance reality show anytime soon. They each participated in the annual rookie dance off, and Burke received the biggest ovation after waving his arms in a quick break-dancing exhibition.
“I never danced in front of so many people, so it was kind of new to me,” Burke said, “I was a little nervous, but we had fun.”
Like his coach, Burke was complimentary of the Jazz fans in attendance.
“It was a great atmosphere,” he said. “It was my first time here. It was great to see the fans all come out. We were all surprised by how many people showed up. It was fun today.”
SCREEN TIME: Hayward was impressed with the Jazz’s new, massive video scoreboards, which were installed this offseason during a $15 million arena renovation. “I think the fan experience is going to be a lot better. We appreciate what the owners did to make it more of an experience.”
Hayward, a former semi-pro gamer, was jokingly asked what it would be like to play video games on the 42-foot-wide-by-24-foot-high screen.
“That would be sweet. You‘d have to play all the way up in the upper deck, though. The screen is too big,” he said. “It’s definitely a cool screen. I’m sure they can do a lot of cool things with it."
NOTES: The Jazz will take Sunday off before resuming practice Monday ahead of Tuesday’s preseason opener at home vs. Golden State. Point guard Lester Hudson from Tennessee-Martin replaced former Weber State guard Nick Covington on the camp roster last week. ... Point guard Scott Machado and Jeremy Evans hooked up for the play of the game — a one-handed jam by Evans, who reached back with his left hand in midair after Machado lofted the ball up for an alley-oop.
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