Utah Jazz notes: Jeremy Evans makes bid for more playing time
When the Utah Jazz finally get healthy, coach Tyrone Corbin might have another player to consider for his big-man rotation.
Jeremy Evans has been the odd man out this season, playing behind Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
With Jefferson and Millsap injured, however, Evans played the best game of his three-year career Saturday night against Charlotte. He scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 26 minutes during the Jazz's lopsided 98-68 victory.
For perspective, consider Evans played only eight minutes during 12 games in February. He had 10 field goals in the Jazz's first 58 games, but went 6-for-8 from the field against the Bobcats.
"I thought Jeremy played well," Corbin said. "The growth he has shown not being hesitant after not playing in a lot of games has been tremendous."
Said Millsap: "Jeremy did great. He didn't shock us because we know what he can do. He does it every day in practice. But to see him shoot and shoot with confidence, it's a big confidence boost for him and momentum boost for us."
Evans owns the reputation of being a dunker and shot-blocker. Significantly, however, he buried three mid-range jumpers against Charlotte.
"I think it's improvement for me just to go out and play and have fun," Evans said. "That's big for me having fun. If I'm not, what's the use doing it?"
According to Corbin, Evans turned down his first chance to take a jumper in the win over the Bobcats. But after some encouragement, he started pulling the trigger.
"He got to his spot, turned and when his guy backed off, he shot in rhythm," Corbin said. "... Jeremy is always going to run the floor hard and be a great defensive presence around the basket. But [making shots] is huge for him and for us."
Said Evans, "Everybody just looked at me and said, 'Shoot the ball. Be aggressive.' So I did.' "
Evans might be another chance Monday night, when the Jazz visit Milwaukee.
Millsap practiced Sunday morning to test his sore ankle. Jefferson participated on a limited basis. The availability of both against the Bucks will be a game-time decision.
"I feel pretty good," Millsap said. "I'm going to try and practice just to put some pressure on it and move around. We'll see how it goes from there. ...
"It's going to be a little sore. But eventually I'm going to have to play through a little pain. I know that. So I'll just see what that pain threshold is going to be."
Besides Millsap and Jefferson, starting point guard Mo Williams continues to rehab from a thumb injury suffered on Dec. 22 at Miami.
Williams has gradually increased his activity in practice in recent days, but there is still no timetable for his return, according to Corbin.