INDIANAPOLIS He is averaging 11.6 points per game, down six from when he was a first-time NBA All-Star Game participant last season. He is shooting 38.7 percent from the field, down from 46.2 percent in 2006-07.
He's also taking roughly two-and-a-half shots fewer than last season, down from 13.3 per game to 10.9.
But perhaps the biggest reason for Mehmet Okur's struggles this season, Okur himself suggested after the Jazz's 117-97 loss to Indiana on Saturday, is the emergence of others.
"I just go out there and play," Okur said. "(Carlos) Boozer, Deron (Williams), Ronnie (Brewer) those guys, they step up their game, especially on offensive end. So I just want to try to shoot open shots ...
"I don't even take a lot of shots right now," he added. "Try to take what they give us pick-and-roll, pick-and-pop, on the block, whatever."
Asked if he felt he needs to shoot more, Okur nodded in the negative.
"I'm gonna do what I'm doing out there," he said after hitting 3-of-7 from the field and finishing with eight points Saturday, "because Boozer is doing a great job on the block, and Deron creates open shots for us. ... If I'm open, I'm gonna shoot it. If not, I'm gonna pass to whoever's open."
Yet it's OK, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan suggested, if Okur does shoot more.
Not that he'll necessarily tell him.
"We never told him not to shoot," Sloan said.
"That's always a concern when guys don't shoot the ball as well as you might want to. But ... I try not to talk too much about shooting. I think guys handle that on their own. They know if they're missing 'em.
"But what do they do about it to make themselves better?" he added. "You've got to shoot the ball."
Sloan explained his reluctance.
"I could tell him ... but he's the guy that's gonna shoot it and he's got to feel the rhythm to be able to make it," he said. "I've never gotten too involved in that.
"I had a guy tell me one time I needed to do this and do that," Sloan added. "And I said, 'You know what? It would be better if you didn't tell me anything, because I've got to figure it out myself."'
Sloan said he wasn't sure if Okur's troubles are impacted by international play for his native Turkey this past summer, though Okur said he didn't think so.
Sloan did, though, suggest opponents are playing the Jazz center differently this season.
"They don't run big guys at him as much as they run smaller guys," he said. "Fives (centers) are playing Boozer most of the time."
Strategy aside, Sloan just wants Okur to keep on firing.
"He knows that's his strength. He's always known that," the Jazz coach said. "And he has a wonderful shot. He's not missing it by four or five feet, just not getting it to the basket. He's up around the rim where it should be. He's just not getting the ball in the basket."
HART OUT MONDAY: Jazz backup point guard Jason Hart played Saturday and accompanied the club back to Utah but won't be with the team for Monday's home game against New Jersey due to the death of his maternal grandmother in his native Los Angeles.
With Hart out, No. 3 point Ronnie Price should back up Williams.
Hart is expected to re-join the Jazz for Friday's game against New Orleans, their next outing after Monday.
GAME CHANGE: Start time for the Jazz's Nov. 30 home game against the Los Angeles Lakers has been changed from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. because of an ESPN programming decision. It replaces the Los Angeles Clippers at Denver on ESPN's national schedule.MISC.: Ex-Jazz guard Andre Owens had one point in three garbage-time minutes for the Pacers. ... Indiana sub Shawne Williams finished with a career-high three blocks, career-high seven field goals and career-high eight rebounds. ... Utah rookie guard Morris Almond was inactive again. ... With the rest of the Jazz shooting a collective 0-for-7 on trey tries, sub C.J. Miles was 2-of-2 from 3-point range his first two successful treys this season. ... Brewer failed to score in double figures for the first time this season ... Indiana has won eight of its last 10 vs. Utah.
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