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Utah Jazz: Watson continues to learn from former coach Brown

Published March 13, 2013 7:02 pm

Jazz notes • Veteran wants to learn about coaching from mentor.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Oklahoma City • Earl Watson never misses an opportunity to speak glowingly of Hubie Brown, or credit his former coach for his NBA success. So when the Jazz veteran heard Brown was on the ESPN team broadcasting Wednesday's game, he was off to find his mentor.

"I can't say enough about him," Watson said. "I love him."

Watson played for Brown for three seasons in Memphis, back when Watson said he "didn't know anything about the NBA, I was just a blank canvas. His influence has, I guess, cultured me, and made me the man I am today."

The two usually talk about family, Watson said, and basketball. But Watson has more specific things to discuss with Brown these days.

"This summer, though, I want to spend time with him in New Jersey so I can get his philosophy on coaching strategy," Watson said.

The reason? Watson knows his playing days are numbered. He said he likes to have a plan two or three years out, and by then, he knows it could be time to transition into coaching.

"I want to get everything," Watson said. "As much as possible. Because he's a wealth of knowledge, and you can only get better when you put yourself around people who are better."

More than dunks

Jeremy Evans may have had the best game of his career Monday against Detroit. The former dunk champion scored eight points, grabbed seven rebounds and added a career-high five assists.

"He should feel great about himself," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "He worked hard for his opportunity, and he made the most of it."

Evans, who is probably most recognized by non-Jazz fans as the dude who jumped over a painting of himself in last month's slam dunk contest, said he thinks that breakout game helps people view him as more than a dunker.

"I think so," he said, "but I figured it would come, just with time just waiting my turn. I feel like I am getting there."

As if Corbin didn't already have a hard enough job finding playing time for all of his players, add an improved Evans to the mix and it's downright impossible.

However, Corbin has managed to keep minutes from being a major problem with players this season.

"They've been great," he said. "Just finding the minutes for what they should get every night is going to be a task, but it's a good thing to have."

Mental struggles

After missing just 14 games due to injury throughout his career, Paul Millsap has missed four in the last week and a half. He returned Wednesday at Oklahoma City.

"Mentally," he said, "it's been a struggle. I haven't been really used to missing this many games, especially at once."

Millsap says that when you "worry about little nagging injuries, it's hard to focus on the task at hand."

However, injuries have side benefits, including being able to watch the game and the team differently.

"When you watch it when you're not dressed [in uniform]," he said, "you see different aspects of it, things you know you can get better at, things the team can get better at."

boram@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribjazz