The Jazz are in a rebuilding mode. That means young players such as Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter are going to get big minutes and be given the rope to learn on the job.
There is a reason veteran players don’t like to be on rebuilding teams. This is leading to some tension in the locker room and with coach Tyrone Corbin, reports the Salt Lake Tribune (via SLAM).
Raja Bell, the veteran sharpshooter who has never been afraid to speak his mind, spoke about his situation.
Jazz guard Raja Bell said it’s this simple: If Utah wants him on its team, he’ll continue to do his job to the best of his ability. If the organization doesn’t, the 12-year veteran will perform as a professional until he joins another franchise.
The frustration is not uncommon, but Corbin has to deal with it directly, writer Gordon Monson adds.
Corbin has to be on this, all over it. He can’t waffle or waver, even as he’s still trying to figure out what he’s got with this group. He has to have the courage to tell his vets to fall in line and do what he expects of them … namely, play hard when they are called upon, no matter whether they start or come off the bench, whether they play 40 minutes or none.
But he also has to be smart, and communicate clearly with the vets.
The Jazz are a respectable 3-3, but they have a long, long way to go as they work to rebuild this team. There will be bumps. The kinds of things you just knew Jerry Sloan would take care of — direct communication was a strong suit. Corbin needs to take a page out of that book.
Tony Parker revealed a plan nearly two years ago to play until he’s 38.
Coming off his worst season since his rookie year, the Spurs point guard is sticking to that goal.
Parker, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
“The Spurs know I want to play until I’m 38,” Parker told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “That will be 20 seasons for me. That’s my goal. This year is No. 15. And if I’m lucky enough and I’m healthy, hopefully I can play 20 seasons and then I’ll be ready to retire.”
That seems pretty ambitious, no matter how you handle the conflicting math. (Parker is 33. If he plays 20 seasons, he’ll spend most of his final season at age 39 and turn 40 during the playoffs.)
Parker is already showing signs of slippage. Many of his key numbers were down last season, including ESPN’s real-plus minus, where he quietly slipped from 12th to 67th among point guards.
But Gregg Popovich is very liberal with resting his players, and Parker won’t have to carry too much of the load. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will probably retire before Parker, but the Spurs will still have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.
I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s possible Parker lasts that long.
The Pelicans starting center, Omer Asik, is injured.
Their backup center, Alexis Ajinca, is injured.
Enter Greg Smith.
Scott Kushner of The Advocate:
Smith was part of the Rockets’ 2012-13 rotation, but otherwise, he has seen limited minutes in his four-year career with Houston and Dallas. In that small sample, he has looked alright. The 6-foot-10 24-year-old uses his big frame and massive hands to catch passes and finish efficiently near the rim. He has also become more disciplined defensively.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the regular-season roster behind the 13 Pelicans with guaranteed salaries.
But it’s also possible New Orleans signed him just an extra preseason body. That’d beat relying too heavily on the aging Kendrick Perkins and undersized Jeff Adrien at center. Anthony Davis is the Pelicans’ best option at center with Asik and Ajinca sidelined (and maybe even with them healthy), but the biggest drawback to playing him there is the injury risk. If Davis is going to deal with the banging at center, might as well save it for games that count.
Still, even New Orleans plans to keep Smith only through the preseason, this at least gives him a chance to impress.