Utah Jazz: Starters for first preseason game include a surprise
SALT LAKE CITY — The preseason hasn't even started, and Utah Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin has already made a surprising move.
Tonight's starting crew for the Jazz will include, as expected, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and rookie point guard Trey Burke.
Veteran Richard Jefferson will start at small forward, while Hayward will begin at the shooting guard spot. That puts third-year shooting guard Alec Burks in a reserve role when many thought he'd be in the first five.
"We’re going to look at different combinations as we go forward here," Corbin said in his pregame interview, "but this is the first step tonight."
Jefferson, who struggled in Golden State last year, has 12 seasons under his belt. The 33-year-old was brought to Utah in part of a three-team trade this offseason — in part because of his salary and expiring contract. But Corbin has been impressed with the 6-7 small forward.
"He’s come into camp in great shape. He has experience. He knows how to play," Corbin said. "He can read situations, guard bigger, smaller guys. He will be effective for us."
Corbin insisted this isn't a knock on Burks, whom he has also been impressed with over the offseason and into fall.
"He’s worked his butt off to get better," Corbin said. "Alec has had a great summer and training camp," Corbin said. "I told him this morning ... it’s not to say that you don’t deserve to start. If we need him to, he could start."
That could happen in the preseason or in the regular season, the coach added.
The game against Golden State tips off at 7 p.m. (ROOT Sports).
Two players won't be available for action. Marvin Williams (Achilles heel) and Brandon Rush (left knee) continue to rehab back from surgeries. No timetable has been set for their returns.
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