The Utah Jazz and Utah Flash both have home games tonight.
As of Thursday, Morris Almond was still practicing with the Jazz, and coach Jerry Sloan said the day before that the coaching staff hadn't discussed whether to return to the Flash the rookie who hasn't played in the last five Jazz games. When the Jazz had a couple of injuries, Almond was recalled Jan. 8 after playing in Orem since Dec. 6.
Almond said he doesn't worry about which team he'll play on next.
"Maybe in the beginning of the year I was, but now that I've done both, it's not a big deal anymore. I can go either way.
"I just prefer to be wherever I'm at. It's good both ways. I just take it day by day, enjoy wherever I'm at," said the Jazz's first-round draft pick (No. 25 overall) from Rice University. He has totaled three points in six Jazz games but tied an NBA Development League record with 51 points against Austin Dec. 21.
Playing with the Flash means actually playing. "The D-League, it's game time. I get to put up stats that everybody can see," Almond said of its advantages.
"Here, it's more intangible. People can't really see it, but it's still good, nonetheless."Being with the Jazz, "It's more than just the games. It's practice, it's film sessions, coaches talking to me after practice, letting me know. It doesn't show up on the stat sheet, but it still benefits," Almond said. "It's not like we're walking through (practices) anymore. We're going two hours strong every day. Stuff like that. Being around the team, there's no substitute for that."
SOPHOMORES: Utah second-year men Ronnie Brewer and Paul Millsap haven't yet heard whether they will be included in the Rookie-Sophomore Challenge game as part of All-Star festivities in New Orleans Feb. 16 and 17.
Millsap, a second-round draft choice, was part of the game last year. Brewer, a first-round selection whose playing time was limited in the 2006-07 season, was not.
"I had fun last year in Vegas, and New Orleans is in Louisiana (his home state), so I'd get to see my family and play in front of them, so it would be nice" to be selected, said Millsap, averaging 8.3 points and 5.8 rebounds.
Brewer, now starting for the Jazz and averaging 12.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.9 steals and in Utah's top two in defections, would really like to be selected.
"Yeah, I think it would be a great honor to represent this organization. It would show the hard work I've put in and the success we've had," he said.The official announcement for the Rookie Challenge will be made next Wednesday.
RATHER BE PACKING: Kyle Korver, who has appeared in the 3-point shooting contest in past All-Star weekends, said he's not sure he merits a selection this season and would just as soon put the off weekend to another use.
"I'm kind of hoping to get home to my house in Philly and get my stuff, to be honest," he said.
Korver came to Utah in a Dec. 29 trade with the 76ers for Gordan Giricek and a conditional first-round draft pick. The Sixers were in Portland at the time, on a road trip, and Korver's had no chance to move himself to Utah or find a dwelling yet. Some friends boxed up a few necessities for him, but everything else is still in Pennsylvania"I don't think my numbers merit it right now anyway," he said of the All-Star 3-point contest, for which participants will be named Feb. 7. "My numbers have been better in the past, so I don't anticipate being asked. Even if I was, I need to get home for a couple of days," he said, adding he's put "a lot of miles on the duffel bag."
SCOUTING REPORT: Selected by Utah in the 2000 NBA Draft's second round, University of Idaho product Kaniel Dickens never did play a regular-season game for the Jazz.
He probably doesn't figure into the franchise's future plans, either.
But Dickens has bounced around quite a bit, playing in Russia, China, Portugal, Spain, the CBA and with the Harlem Globetrotters in addition to appearing in 16 NBA games, including three with Portland in the 2003-04 season, 11 for New Jersey the next season and two last season with Atlanta.
The 6-foot-8 forward currently is thriving with NBA Development League's Colorado 14ers, prompting some recent scouting reports.
One comes from D-League basketball operations director Shawn Respert, as relayed to NBA.com: "Kaniel is an athletic forward that shoots the ball well with range. He is one of the top 3-point shooters and teams with Elton Brown to form one of the top frontcourts in the D-League this season. Kaniel is a solid rebounder. ... (He) must continue to show more consistency to make NBA scouts take a chance with him."
The other comes from Boise-based pro scout/consultant Eric Chapman, who spoke to the Idaho Statesman after watching Dickens at last week's D-League Showcase in Boise: "(A) classic case of NBA talent, physically and skill-wise. But he has a history of being consistently inconsistent. He needs to show he can dominate and sustain it ... Has been shooting well, and is probably the best 3-point shooter in the league."Dickens hit 10-of-17 from 3-point range and averaged 23 points in Colorado's two Showcase games.
ROY'D: To hype their young star Brandon Roy, the Portland Trail Blazers sent out silver iPod "iRoy" Nanos loaded with Roy video highlights to other NBA coaches, who choose reserves for the All-Star Game. "They don't have to send me an iPod about what he does," said Sloan. "In my opinion he's a wonderful player in that he doesn't seek the ball out to score points at the beginning of the ballgame. He waits till it counts down the stretch. He seems to be very giving of himself to help his teammates." -->For John Deere Jerry, an iPod holds little appeal. "No, I'm probably never going to have one," he said, though he admitted receiving this one. "It's on my desk I think. I'm not sure," he said.