Utah Jazz: Missing screens? Forgetting plays? Jazz hope practice solves that
Matt Gade, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Offensive execution has been one of the main focuses of the Utah Jazz’s consecutive practice sessions this week.
Makes sense considering the Jazz are second to last in scoring among the 30 NBA teams.
Utah only averages 88.5 points — one-tenth of a point more than Charlotte — and has only surpassed the century mark in scoring once in 16 games this season. The Bobcats (40.5 percent) are also the only worse shooting team than the Jazz (41.7 percent).
For comparison’s sake, 16 squads average at least 100 points an outing.
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin and shooting guard Gordon Hayward said the team needs to work on spacing issues and being in the right spots at the right times, among other things.
“There are times in games where one guy forgets to set a screen or forgets what play we’re running. Stuff like that, that’s a problem,” Hayward said. “Just little things like that, that’s causing us to have a bad possession. We’re trying to tune that up. That’s stuff we have to do without thinking.”
FULL SQUAD: Thursday was the first time this season that all 15 players were able to participate in a full-speed practice. Jazz center Enes Kanter participated, but he will be a game-time decision because of his sprained right ankle. Center Andris Biedrins (ankle) and shooting guard Brandon Rush (knee rehab) could be available for action.
ALL WET: During Brooklyn’s loss to the Lakers on Wednesday, TV cameras showed that Jason Kidd dropped a drink with ice on the court in the final seconds after allegedly telling one of his players, “Hit me!” before the two bumped into each other. The Nets didn’t have any timeouts remaining in the tight game, so it was a tricky way to get some instructions to his players.
Corbin laughed when the subject came up before Thursday’s practice. Like many, he thought it looked accidental.
“I don’t know what happened,” Corbin said. “I heard there might have been a conversation. I don’t know. It looked like it was sweet tea, too.” Corbin’s love for that Southern specialty drink might prevent him from ever attempting that deceiving ploy.
The coach then told of a time he was at one of his son’s games. The opposing coach ran out of timeouts and purposefully spilled her water bottle on the floor and then got the attention of the referees by telling them, “There’s water on the floor!”
Refs didn’t see what she’d done, so it worked. She got her timeout and got away with it, too.
WELCOME BACK: Friday will be Jeff Hornacek’s first game in Utah as the opponent in almost 20 years. The former Jazz player and assistant was either with Utah or retired going back to 1994 when he was traded to the organization from Philadelphia.
Hornacek was hired as the Suns’ head coach this offseason, ending his six-year run on the Jazz’s coaching staff.
“He was instrumental in my development as a player. I think he’s going to be a good coach,” Hayward said. “I loved having him here. He was really good to me.”
HAPPY HELPER: Hayward on how he was going to contribute to Thanksgiving dinner: “I’m eating. That’s how that works.”
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