Golden State 83, Jazz 80: Final thoughts from Oakland
>The Jazz lost 83-80 Monday night at Oracle Arena against Golden State. Read the story here. It was the Jazz's preseason opener, and there are a lot of ways to look at this one. It really was a breakout game for several players and most signs were encouraging. A substitution pattern you'll never, ever, see again skewed things in the Warriors' favor while a surprising second unit nearly pulled off the comeback win. Some thoughts:
* Don't worry about Al Jefferson. The big guy was 1-of-8 from the field, but he was limited to 20 minutes. He and Mo Williams had some timing issues and Jefferson just couldn't finish around the rim. If he failed to establish inside position, that could be cause for concern, but he didn't have that problem. He just wasn't finishing, which is what the preseason is for: getting that out of the system.
* It's going to be a sad day for sportswriters if the most interesting thing about Enes Kanter ceases to be his Twitter account. But after the sophomore scored 12 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, blocked two shots and, even, tried to bring the ball up the floor, we may need to rethink the big fella's role on this team. Kanter was extremely aggressive around the rim, was following his own shot and proved effective just at keeping the ball alive around the rim.
"I thought he played really well," Mo Williams said. "I thought he rebounded well, in the post I thought he was patient."
* DeMarre Carroll looks like a more complete player than last year. I'll expand on this later, but Carroll knocked down his first three shots, all 19-footers from the left elbow extended. If he adds that element to his game, the Jazz aren't going to be able to keep him off the floor. Combine a jump shot with his defense and scrappiness, and Carroll suddenly becomes the kind of guy that emerges as a team MVP. Stay tuned...
* Paul Millsap started at the four tonight, which wasn't really a surprise. The way Corbin talked about Millsap the week of training camp, there were few reasons to believe Millsap had lost his starting job. At this point, that's what it comes down to: Paul Millsap is still part of this team and gives them the best chance to win. While Corbin could pull the plug on Millsap and start Favors, it's much easier to imagine him riding Millsap for as long as the veteran is with the team. Benching Millsap could get acidic quickly, and you have to think that's the sort of dynamic the Jazz would like to avoid.
* Kevin Murphy was the only surprising DNP. Will have to follow up on this, but if your No. 47 pick doesn't get to play in a preseason game where you're tinkering with lineups and testing your depth, what does his future hold? Fact is, Murphy missed two days of training camp for the birth of Kevin Jr., so Corbin may not be comfortable yet with him playing in a live situation against another team.