Atlanta • DeMarre Carroll knew what was coming last summer, knew the Utah Jazz were about to push reset and take the franchise in a new direction after.
He just figured he'd be going along for the ride.
"I was very surprised, really," said Carroll, who spent two seasons in Utah and was one of seven free agents to leave this summer. "You knew they was going to go in a different direction. Me personally, because I'm still young, I thought I would have signed back there. Paul [Millsap], he knew. Him and Al [Jefferson] and Randy [Foye] and all them knew."
Carroll, who averaged 5.7 points and 2.8 rebounds a night in limited minutes with Utah, didn't reach a deal with the Jazz, but the hard-working credited the organization for giving him a chance that he's parlayed into a home — and a starting job — in Atlanta.
"The organization, Kevin O'Connor really remade my career," Carroll said of the former Jazz general manager and current senior vice president of basketball operations.
After starting the 2011-12 season with Denver, Carroll was waived and spent time in the NBA Development League. O'Connor signed him to a free agent deal in February 2012.
But after playing 16 minutes a night over his stay in Utah, Carroll wanted more. His former coach, Ty Corbin, couldn't blame him.
"It should be a part of anybody in this league," Corbin said. "If you're not playing 48 minutes, you want more. You should want more to continue to get better. You want bigger roles and he worked his way to it.
"From the time we got him, when he didn't really play, he was just almost trying to find his way in the league. He came to us and worked his tail off."
Now Carroll has started every game for Atlanta this season, averaging 9.6 points, 5.8 rebounds a night.
He called Friday's matchup with the Jazz just "another game," and said he felt no need to make a statement against his former club.
"I'm just gonna do what I do," he said. "When I was there in limited minutes, I did what I did. Here, with more minutes, I'm still gonna do what I do. I'm the Junkyard Dog and you really can't take that away from me."
Carroll scored four points, grabbed five rebounds and dished four assists and flustered his old teammate, Gordon Hayward, on defense.
"The defensive play, especially early on Gordon, made him work harder for everything he got and it took us out of our rhythm," Corbin said.
Hayward OK after scare
Hayward collided with Atlanta's Jeff Teague collided in the third quarter of Friday's game. The Jazz swingman stayed on the ground for a while before getting up slowly, talking with trainer Gary Briggs, and returning to play.
"It was just the wind knocked out of me," Hayward said afterward. "I was looking at the ball and got hit right in my chest and landed on my back. … It was like a receiver going across the middle of the field. That's why I don't play football right there."
After scoring 30 points in Orlando on Wednesday, Trey Burke came back with a 2-point, 1-of-8 shooting night in Atlanta.
"They have them, especially after big games," Corbin said of a rookie's swings. "[A rookie] thinks that things will be the same the next night, but i's a different opponent, different city, different flow to the game. He started to press a little early, then he got in could trouble and had to come out. Just couldn't get the same rhythm tonight."
The Jazz now fall to 1-8 on the front end of back-to-back sets this season. Heading into Charlotte tomorrow, the Jazz have actually fared better in the second game. Utah is 2-6 in those contests this year.
— Aaron Falk
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