Portland, Ore. — Excerpts from an interview Monday with Jazz guard Earl Watson following shootaround at the Rose Garden.
Watson on leading a changed second unit: It's a really different unit. And I'm searching of ways to try to make my teammates better. It's going to come — it's going to come quickly. I'm very optimistic about it. It's a new challenge for a point guard — how to get them more comfortable and flowing. I was so used to having C.J. [Miles] or Gordon [Hayward]. … It's like starting all over. I almost have the 20-and-under NBA team. [Laughs] … It's brand new. And I think the best way I can do it is to make the game simple. I have to simplify everything. I have to become a better defender. Create more deflections. Create more transition. Take the pressure off the half-court game. We have to build a half-court rhythm. It will come. For us, that [previous] unit, I think it was getting to the second or third phase. Now we're back to the first phase. I have to figure out how to get us all comfortable and get us some continuity.
Alec Burks has replaced Miles, Hayward as sixth man: Yeah, I think Alec is definitely the scorer. [Derrick Favors] is going to be very important for us coming down the stretch; his post game. We have to create situations for DeMarre [Carroll] where we give him some quick pindowns and some quick open looks. With Enes [Kanter], we have to put him in a position where he catches the ball in the paint and he goes up quickly and scores. If that means for me driving the baseline and finding Enes at the last second or a quick post-up and go — something where there's not a lot of pressure built up. But defensively, we have to get back to that team that's getting deflections and steals and getting in the open court.
Blazers game: Tonight's the biggest game of our season. We're coming out and we know that and we emphasize and we acknowledge that already.
Brian T. Smith
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