Utah Jazz: Old Friends Tour continues as Jazz face Atlanta, Charlotte
“He’s a really good guy,” Kanter said of Jefferson. “He texted me the day he signed with Charlotte. He said, ‘I tried to help you, now it’s on you. I know you’re going to do real well.’ He’s just a really good guy.”
Hayward appreciated the bond that Jefferson and Kanter had. The Jazz shooting guard laughed thinking back to how Big Al would “just mess with him a lot” but also take the time to tutor him even though he knew Kanter would eventually replace him in Utah’s lineup.
“I think Enes learned a lot from Al,” Hayward said. “He was a cool guy to have on the team. Good memories with those guys.”
All four former Jazz players the team will face this weekend are playing well.
Millsap, who signed a bargain of a two-year, $19 million deal, is averaging 16.5 points and 8.1 rebounds. He’s already shot a career-high 53 3-pointers and is shooting a career-best 43.4 percent from beyond the arc.
“He just competed every single night. He worked hard. He didn’t really say that much. He just gave it his all every night,” Hayward said. “I think as far as a Jazz player, that’s kind of what the fans liked about him. He was a competitor, man, so he just went out there and played.”
Carroll, a season-long starter, is averaging career highs in points (9.6 ppg), rebounds (5.8 rpg), assists (1.6 apg) and steals (1.2 spg) with his fifth NBA team after Utah helped him revive his NBA life.
Korver has an ongoing NBA record for consecutive games with a 3-pointer, a streak of 95 games that includes eight treys made in Wednesday’s blowout of Sacramento.
“Kyle’s a super, super human being,” Corbin said, “and DeMarre’s a great guy. I think he really enjoyed his time with us and his game grew from the time he came with us to the time he left. He’s making the most of his opportunity.”
Jefferson dealt with ankle issues early in the season, but he’s now putting up his usual steady numbers of 15.6 points and 9.3 rebounds.
Though Kanter has been relegated to a reserve role and is fighting through some struggles, the third-year pro will get his shot against Jefferson on Saturday.
“I don’t think Paul or DeMarre will say anything,” Hayward said, “but Al probably has some jokes that he’ll crack.”
Among other moves.
Favors was asked if he considers these upcoming games to be fun showdowns.
“Competitive-wise, it’s fun. It’s tough guarding those guys, man,” Favors admitted. “You know what Paul can do. Paul can score in a lot of ways, rebounding. He’s just a hard-working guy.
“Now Al,” Favors continued, “you know he’s coming with that right-hand hook shot that you can’t stop. He’s going to pump fake you a thousand times.” He cracked a grin and added, “But it’s fun.”
Corbin worked with Millsap for seven years as an assistant and head coach in Utah, so it’s hard for him to see the 2006 second-round pick from Louisiana Tech battle for another team.
“He was great for us in all kinds of ways, a great guy. I really enjoyed working with him as a player and just knowing him as a person,” Corbin said of Millsap, who made Salt Lake his year-round home. “He really loved and embraced the (Utah) community and I thought the community embraced him. It was a tough loss for us.”
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