Gordon Hayward: "The time is now for us younger guys"
Al Jefferson is in Charlotte.Paul Millsap is in Atlanta.Randy Foye, Jamaal Tinsley and any number of other regulars from a season ago have also moved on.The Utah Jazz came as close this offseason as any franchise to pressing the reset button, allowing veterans to walk in favor of handing the the wheel over to a group of relatively unproven kids.As preseason opens tonight with a home game against the Golden State Warriors, we'll get our first real look at this revamped Jazz team."We've been talking about it since training camp. The time is now for us younger guys," Gordon Hayward, who at 23 is the most veteran of the group Ty Corbin could very well start tonight. "I think we're ready."Forward Derrick Favors said Hayward has been more vocal in camp this year."He came in a lot more serious this year," Favors said. "Last year, me and him kind of both took a back seat to Al and Paul."Even center Enes Kanter, despite wearing his T-shirt backward for his post shoot-around interview because it did not have a Jazz logo on it, vowed a more serious approach."I've got to get serious," he said. "It's going to be my third year. I said that in media day too. I cannot just go out there and do some crazy stuff anymore. I've got to be serious about some stuff because the team made a lot of changes and they did it because of the opportunity to play for the young guys."Kanter was not allowed to play collegiately at Kentucky, was drafted ahead of a lockout shortened season and then spent time behind Jefferson and Millsap in coach Ty Corbin's big-man rotation."I've been waiting for an opportunity now for four years," Kanter said. "Now it's finally mine and the other young guys opportunity to go out there and show themselves, to show all the fans and everybody that we're here."Ready to shoulder the loadA shoulder injury cut Kanter's season short last year. But the center said he's been told by doctors that his surgically repaired left shoulder is now even stronger than his right shoulder."I feel so much better on the court," he said. "I'm not scared about it."Asked if he might start shooting left handed, Kanter laughed."No," he said. "I'm going to shoot 3s."Time to D upThere's been plenty of talk about improving the team's defensive effort this year."Defensively is where our mindset is going to be focused," Hayward said, "getting stops so then we can get out in transition."Favors, who was 13th in the league last year with 1.7 blocks per game, said that's an attitude he can help set for the team."I have to," he said. "The whole management looks to me to do it, Coach Corbin looks to me to do. I'm going to have to go out there and set the tone early."firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @aaronfalk