Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin went with the kids. He went with the hot hand.
The Utah Jazz starters had trailed the Washington Wizards by as many as 12 points, so when the youth movement — led by rookie Derrick Favors and his 9 fourth quarter points on 4-of-4 shooting — made a comeback they got to stay in. Four of the five Wizards starters (all but C.J. Miles) did not see the court in the fourth quarter.
The kids sent it to overtime, but when they got in trouble Corbin sent in Paul Millsap and Earl Watson.
Al Jefferson sat, and after the game was fuming mad, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
When he stood during timeouts, he did so far from the team huddle, with his hands on his hips. When the buzzer sounded, he was the first off the bench and into the locker room. And when approached by the media following the defeat, he refused to comment, forcefully waving reporters off with his left hand.
Yes, it’s rather obvious that Jefferson isn’t a happy camper these days.
I get why Jefferson was frustrated — with Deron Williams in the house he thought he would be in a playoff team this season. But with Williams gone the Jazz are rebuilding around young players and for Jefferson it might look a lot like Minnesota.
Jefferson put up nice numbers Monday night — 15 point (on 14 shots), 16 rebounds and he was just a -3. But Washington’s JaVale McGee was giving Jefferson problems. More importantly, for Corbin and the Jazz it’s not about this year, this game, it’s about building for the future. That means getting Favors and Gordon Hayward and the other young players big minutes, and if that comes at the expense of veterans so be it.
Jefferson may well find the rest of this season very frustrating. It will be interesting to see if the Jazz try to move him after the lockout, or if they will be able to in that climate.