In the fifth game of his NBA career, Jazz first-round draft choice Morris Almond actually dressed.
For the first four, however, he was on the inactive list something the shooting guard from Rice University insisted was not driving him crazy.
"It's just part of the process," said Almond, the No. 25 overall selection in last June's NBA Draft. "It's easier said than done, but you've got to realize that and take baby steps."
The Jazz on Friday made third-year shooting guard C.J. Miles inactive for their late-starting game against Cleveland, allowing Almond to be activated for the first time in his pro career.
Almond can't say he was surprised he was inactive for those first four games, because truth be told he had no idea only 12 players from the club's 14-man roster are permitted by rule to be active on a game-to-game basis.
"Didn't even really know how the inactive list and all that stuff really worked prior to the day I found out I was gonna be on it," he said. "So, you learn new stuff every day and you've just got to roll with it."
As for whether he would embrace an assignment to the Jazz's NBA Development League affiliate in Orem, the Utah Flash, Almond sounded open-minded to the possibility.
"You definitely want to play," the 22-year-old said. "You've got to play, regardless, because as the season goes along there aren't that many practices and the practices aren't long."
Almond did feel he benefited from the extra work he has put in prior to games and on off days when not playing.
"But, at the same time," he said, "you want game experience, regardless."
Meanwhile, the Jazz's other rookie second-rounder Kyrylo Fesenko was inactive Wednesday for a fifth straight regular-season game. There's a high probability the Ukrainian center is ticketed for Orem, perhaps in time for the opening of the Flash's training camp Saturday.If Almond does go down too, though, it probably won't happen until sometime after the two-a-day camp concludes. That's because Almond, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said, "is probably a little farther along as far as being a rookie."
OOPS: Jazz backup point guard Jason Hart had the bumper of his shiny, new black Cadillac Escalade knocked off by a food-services delivery truck while the SUV was parked Wednesday morning at EnergySolutions Arena.
Hart was taking part in the Jazz's morning shootaround and was not in the vehicle at the time of the fender-bender. His biggest concern: how much rental car his insurance company would allow him to get.
"It's just an inconvenience," Hart said. "It's not material. It's just now I've got to call and get me a rental car, and they're going to try and give me a car that's (worth) $40,000 less than what I drive."
A 2008 all wheel-drive Escalade starts at $58,330, and depending on selected options can soar in value beyond $70,000.
The crash occurred as the delivery truck descended a ramp leading to the arena's loading-dock area, and failed to successfully negotiate a tight left turn into a crowded parking lot.
Hart's car was parked near the bottom of the ramp but was not in a designated parking spot."It was an accident, obviously," said Hart, who signed a two-year, $5 million contract with the Jazz this past offseason. "What can you do?"
HE SAID IT: Jazz starting power forward Carlos Boozer, who started his NBA career in Cleveland but left under decidedly controversial circumstances related to how he got out of his contract there in 2004, on whether Wednesday's game held any extra meaning: "Not at all."
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