Jazz in Portland: More on Jefferson and Kanter
The Jazz are in Portland today to play the Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden. Look for Tyrone Corbin to continue to tighten his rotation and tinker with lineups, including, Corbin said following the team's shootaround, the possibility of Randy Foye next to Mo Williams in the backcourt.
LaMarcus Aldridge will not play for the Blazers, coach Terry Stotts said. The Jazz, however, are expected to be at full strength, including the return of Jamaal Tinsley, who missed Saturday's win against the Clippers following a wisdom tooth extraction.
Our story in The Tribune today focused on a surprisingly professorial Al Jefferson the manner in which he has taken Enes Kanter under his wing.
There was a lot of good stuff that didn't make it into the story. When watching Kanter, the direct impact of working with Jefferson is obvious. One of the biggest improvements in Kanter's game is that he no longer brings the ball down when receiving it in the post or following a rebound.
"I think it's really important," Kanter said. "Every time I bring the ball in practice or in the game, every time I come to the bench [Jefferson] is like, 'Don't bring the ball down."
On Jefferson: What I think people don't realize about Al is they see a big guy, big strong guy. If you know him he's a caring guy. He's spent some time with the kids. You got to remember, he was 18 when he came into the league, or 19. I think he sees a lot of things that he did, not necessarily wrong, but you know, how to conduct yourself, how to deal with things, how to work, post moves.
On Jefferson being misunderstood: He's not really going to talk, communicate about the game, but once he gets out the court he does things right, he knows how to play the game right. He's a vocal guy by nature, he's going to let people know how he feels and I think sometimes out of context people take it the wrong way."
On mentoring Kanter: He does that with all the young guys, it's not just Enes. You see it so much with Enes because they play the same position. He does that with everybody."
On Kanter: He has gotten better a lot. Like I said, I always say he loves to learn. Just to see him, work with him, projects and stuff, to see him actually use it in the game, shows me that he really wants to get better. He looks up to my game on the block. Him and Derrick Favors they're always picking at my brain. It's just a good feeling."
On his relationship with Kanter: We just got a good chemistry together man, he's just a good kid. [Looks over at Kanter on the other side of the practice floor.] Look at him down there now, trying to shoot 3s. That was me. I wanted to shoot 3s. He's just a good kid, and he loves to learn, that's one thing about him."
On the dynamic of Jefferson grooming his potential replacement: The business part of it, what happens, whatever, but you want to try to do ... I always thought as a player you owe something back to the game by bringing a young guy along. That's not being selfish, it's teaching the guys what you've been effective with it and seeing where it grows.
On the nature of the relationship: The last two years, they like each other first of all, they're good guys. Enes and Derrick both see how effective Al is on the post, so the stuff he's telling them and teaching them is stuff that he uses in the game and they see how effective it can be so why not try to integrate it with their game?