PORTLAND, Ore. Many suspected backup C.J. Miles would take the biggest hit.
As it's happened so far, however, it's starting shooting guard Ronnie Brewer whose playing time has been impacted most by the recent arrival of swingman Kyle Korver.
During both of Korver's first two games with the Jazz since being acquired last Saturday from Philadelphia for swingman Gordan Giricek and a future first-round draft choice, Brewer has watched all of the final quarter from the bench.
The first time it was because Korver played all 12 minutes in a win over Portland, Utah's opponent again tonight. The second it was because a hot Miles played the first 10 minutes or so of the fourth, and Korver came in to close in a victory over his old 76ers club.
And when Brewer got yanked against Philly, as Miles replaced him with just more than three minutes to go in the third quarter, it was evident that the 2006 lottery pick was none too pleased.
There was no war of words with Sloan like the one that happened in Giricek's final game with the Jazz.
But Brewer did make a beeline for the bench no passing Go, no collecting $200, no friendly hand slap with the coach and, suffice it to say, the exit did not go unnoticed.
In fact, Brewer who had 11 points on 4-for-5 field shooting over 19 minutes at the time, including 3-of-3 in the third quarter alone readily admits being frustrated.
"Just a little bit," the University of Arkansas product said, "because I felt that I was shooting the ball I mean, 4-for-5 and then a couple free throws (actually 3-for-3), a couple assists (actually one). (And) I think I was playing pretty good defense. It wasn't amazing, but pretty good.
"Just to get subbed out, it was kind of, I don't know, kind of frustrating, but, at the same time, I mean, it's basketball, it's a job, and you've got to sacrifice to win games. And I'm willing to do that, because we haven't been winning games."
The Jazz indeed had lost 11-of-14 before Korver's arrival, which is one reason Brewer was realistic about what the trade would mean.
"I knew some players' minutes were gonna be cut," Brewer said.
He just didn't necessarily think it would be his.
Instead, Miles has played nearly two minutes more than his season average since Korver came, while Brewer's minutes have dipped from a pre-Korver season average of 30-plus to just 18.5 over the past two games.
And it's not just because Brewer, who averages 12.5 points, has been struggling with his offensive game though he has indeed failed to reach double figures in four of his last seven games after having done that in 19 of his first 20.
Rather, a message is being sent that Sloan desires improved defensive play from the NBA sophomore.
Brewer who along with both Korver and Miles figures to play more minutes tonight, because starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko is out with lower-back inflammation easily explains the reduced scoring.
"There are guys in our starting five, and on the bench, who are being more aggressive," he said. "And they've got to do that for us to try to win games. ... So I wouldn't say that I hit a wall. I just haven't been taking that many shots."
Whether or not Sloan's signals regarding defense have hit home, however, seems uncertain.
"Not really," Brewer said when asked if he's thinking more about defense since his minutes dipped. "I just go out there and play my game. I'm usually matched up with the most athletic, or the guy who shoots the ball the most, so I just have to make them think 'tough shots.'
"Most NBA guys are gonna make shots. Nobody's gonna go 0-for-20, not ever, in a game," he added. "So you just have to make them take tough shots, and make them work on the offensive end and the defensive end, and that's all I can do."
Korver, meanwhile, vows to do all he can to help the Jazz while simultaneously not hurting the mindset of either Miles or Brewer.
"I'm not gonna be pouting if I'm not in the game," Korver said. "I'm gonna be cheering for them, and helping them out however I can. And if they know there is a genuineness to that, then hopefully those problems that could crop up won't."
Not that Brewer, who along with Miles has been helping Korver learn Utah's offense, anticipates any problems.
Rather, he hopes the only hit from Korver is one that will have the Jazz humming come playoff time."He's a real nice guy. Good teammate. A real good guy. And me, I feel like I'm a pretty good guy too," Brewer said. "So I took it upon myself to where I went out there and talked to him, tried to make him feel welcome and part of this team because when it comes March, April, May, we're gonna have to have one heartbeat for us to be a successful team."
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