Veteran Richard Jefferson, averaging 7.0 ppg on 50 percent shooting, isn’t worried in the slightest about his new team’s wayward aim in the exhibition.
“I don’t really see that we have an issue offensively. The preseason is the preseason,” the 13-year pro said. “Right now we’ve had a change at point guard (with John Lucas III starting), and before that we were going with a rookie point guard, which is going to take some time. We have a lot of new guys with new roles and new players (brought) in.”
Jefferson also pointed out that Jazz opponents Golden State, Portland, the Clippers and Oklahoma City have most of their key players back from last year.
“We’ve got a whole group of new guys trying to figure it out, learning it as you go,” Jefferson said. “We see improvement. There are things that we see and coaches see, but right now they’re not always translating into the (games).”
One thing he believes will help is getting into the regular season and having regular roles and rotations. That chemistry is so important to an offense, especially one that lacks explosive firepower, stars and experience like the Jazz.
Corbin considers it more of a confidence and comfort issue. That is evident from the Jazz’s poor free-throw shooting in the preseason — a meager 65.4 percent from the foul line.
“We’ve got to get better,” Corbin said of the offense overall. “But we’re getting good shots. We’re just not making them right now.”
Kanter, with 12.6 points per game, is the only player to average in double figures with Hayward. Favors has really struggled, shooting just 32.5 percent and averaging only 6.6 points.
Corbin, also aware that the irregular lineups have not helped out the offensive flow, keeps reminding his team that offense begins on the defensive end. Stops lead to transition and early-offense opportunities. The cycle continues on the offensive end as higher shooting percentages often help the team get back on defense to set up on that end.
Of course, there comes a point when players simply need to do what they’re paid to do on the offensive end — make buckets.
“We need to make shots. We’ve got to score,” Corbin said. “When you score and you defend, the defense can pick up from there because you get a momentum going. When you’re getting stops and you don’t score and get another stop and don’t score, then you tend to struggle on both ends.”
Jazz opponents are only averaging 93.4 points on 42.9 percent shooting, so the team is holding its own on that end of the court despite the four-game losing streak.
“The thing that we can grow at right now is the defensive end more than offensive,” Corbin added. “We’ll let our offense catch up to our defense.”
One thing that isn't a problem, according to Jefferson?
"There’s no lack of confidence."
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