On Tuesday, Rodney Hood was hesitant. Utah’s first-round draft pick passed up open shots. He wouldn’t drive to the basket, and searched to find himself in one of his first experiences playing pro basketball.
Finally, Jazz head coach Quin Snyder had seen enough. He called Hood over and issued the small forward his first direct challenge.
“I told him to start shooting the ball,” Snyder said. “At this point, I’d rather him shoot a tough and contested shot than pass up a shot.”
So began Hood’s introduction to the NBA. With the Las Vegas Summer League looming — the Jazz open against Philadelphia on Saturday — Hood will be counted on to score. He’ll be asked to find his way into the open floor and create easy opportunities in transition.
With that in mind, Wednesday’s practice went a lot better. Hood was aggressive, both on the perimeter and in getting to the basket off the dribble. He worked hard defensively. Most importantly, he was a factor.
“I can stretch the floor,” Hood said. “But I can do other things as well. I feel that the NBA game is suited for me, because it’s more wide open. The floor is spaced and it’s something that I can try and take advantage of.”
With Gordon Hayward receiving a max offer sheet from the Charlotte Hornets, the small possibility exists that the Jazz may not match the four years and $63 million the Hornets are dangling.
If that happens, Hood suddenly becomes more important to the roster. Even with Hayward back, the Jazz are counting on Hood to provide minutes and scoring off the bench. They feel he can make the playing rotation right away.
“It’s an education,” Hood said. “I feel like it’s getting better all the time, and that I’m learning a little bit more each day. I just have to keep going through the process.”
Gobert feeling strong
Rudy Gobert, Utah’s second-year big man was shelved for three weeks after an appendectomy, which caused him to drop five pounds. But he’s back to 100 percent and ready to prove in summer league play that he can be a rim protector and has developed some offense as well.
“I’ve worked pretty hard this summer,” Gobert said. “I’m definitely looking forward to summer league. I want to make an impact.”
Gobert said he’s added 10 pounds of muscle to his 7-foot-1 frame.
Favors shows up
Jazz big man Derrick Favors was at Wednesday’s practice, working on interior moves with assistant coach Antonio Lang.
One of Favors’ goals this off-season is to add an 18-foot jump shot.
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