As the Jazz open the 2014 portion of their schedule, one thing is clear.
Coach Tyrone Corbin has settled on a regular rotation that includes Enes Kanter, Jeremy Evans and Alec Burks off the bench, along with point guards John Lucas and Diante Garrett.
Kanter plays behind starting center Derrick Favors.
Evans is getting minutes behind forwards Marvin Williams and Richard Jefferson.
Burks plays behind Gordon Hayward and Jefferson.
Lucas or Garrett give rookie Trey Burke a breather at point guard, depending on the opponent and how they match up against them.
Besides those 10, the only player to see any action in Utah’s last three games is Brandon Rush. He played four minutes in Friday night’s 105-103 win over the Lakers.
“Typically, you fall into a rotation where guys are in a rhythm with [other] guys,” Corbin said. “… [But] we still want everybody engaged. We need everybody to be ready to go.”
With Burke improving game by game, Lucas and Garrett are getting the 10-15 minutes behind him.
Asked how he determines which player to use, Corbin said, “Matchups and what gives us the best chance. Smaller [versus] bigger guy. How the game is going. What we need on the floor.”
Evans is probably the most surprising member of the Jazz’s rotation, given the fact he averaged only 7.9 minutes in 115 games during his first three seasons in the NBA.
“To come out and be able to contribute and help the team is great,” he said prior to practice Wednesday.
“… You always try to stay focused, but [this] way you have to stay focused because you know you’re going into the game. You have to stay in the game [mentally] the whole time.”
Battle at the bottom
The only team in the NBA with a worse record than the Jazz visits EnergySolutions Arena on Thursday night.
Milwaukee is 7-24 so far this season, including eight losses in its last 10 games. At 10-24, Utah is 11/2 games “behind” the Bucks in the race for ping-pong balls in the NBA Draft lottery.
“We can’t afford to relax against anybody,” Corbin said. “We’re trying to build a reputation. We’re trying to build who we are on a nightly basis. So we have to make sure we come and play with a sense of urgency, regardless what their record is.”
Corbin expects a few unique looks from the Bucks, especially on defense.
“They are going to do some different things against us,” he said. “They are going to play some zone. They press a little bit more than what we’ve seen in the past.”