Jazz notes: Jefferson discusses extra weight
When the Utah Jazz released an updated training camp roster Thursday evening that featured newly recorded weight for the team's 17 players, several names stood out.
C.J. Miles added 12 pounds. Sundiata Gaines packed on 15. Kyrylo Fesenko was the biggest loser, dropping 25.
But an unexpected 15-pound addition for Al Jefferson made the largest impact.
Jefferson spent the past month saying all the right things as he prepared to enter camp, deferring to Deron Williams and stating that he was willing to do anything his new team asked.
Thus, the extra 15 pounds of baggage initially appeared to be a contradiction.
But Jefferson explained the new weight Friday. He said he weighed 265 last season while playing for Minnesota. However, while the total looked good on paper, the 6-foot-10 center felt that he was often too easily pushed around and bullied in the paint.
Heading into the 2010-11 season as Utah's starting 5, Jefferson made a conscious effort to tip the scale at 275 an amount he and Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor agreed upon.
Thus, 280 was technically a bit too much for Jefferson. But after three consecutive two-a-day practice sessions, he was at 277 Friday morning. And Jefferson stressed that he has nearly a month left of running and sweating out any extra pounds before Utah's regular season starts Oct. 27.
"I feel a lot better from day one until now," said Jefferson, prior to a morning workout at the team practice facility. "It's amazing how good I feel. I think if I had been anywhere else, I would be in good shape."
Jefferson is not the only Utah player adjusting to new expectations.
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan again said that a few Utah players entered camp in less than ideal shape. Sloan did not mention names, preferring to employ generalizations rather than calling out individual athletes.
"At this stage they're probably a little bit tired. But I don't really care," Sloan said. "From that standpoint, they should be in better shape when they got here. If you're going to spend your time getting conditioned in training camp, then you're probably going to be trying to play catch-up the biggest part of the time."
Sloan acknowledged, though, that there is often an abrupt learning curve for first-year Jazz players. The catch: Utah's athletes tend to run much more than they would in other camps.
Sloan understands and accepts the adjustment. But he becomes concerned when players are focusing more on their heart rate than the game itself.
"Conditioning has always been a tremendous thing, in order to try and run an offense or have any kind of defensive philosophy," Sloan said. "If you're not in shape, you're always behind."
While others adjust, Williams waits.
The All-Star guard said that the Jazz overall conducted an efficient camp as the team ran through two-a-day sessions.
Utah focused on installing set plays, then adding 1-2 options for each call. That allowed the newest Jazz members to understand and process what they learned, rather than just piling on information that would quickly be forgotten.
"I thought we had three good days of practice," Williams said. "We got a lot of information; had a lot of teaching. Learning the plays, learning the offense. But these things take time, especially when you've got so many new guys. But we'll adjust."
As for his own pulse rate, Williams said everything was smooth and easy.
"It wasn't too bad," he said. "They were a lot worse when I first got here. We had [won 26] games the season before, so coach was a little pissed off."
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What happened • Utah finished its final day of training camp at the team practice facility. The Jazz will officially begin preseason practice next week, with Utah's first game set for 7 p.m. Thursday against Portland at Energy Solutions Arena.
Who shined • Point guard Earl Watson impressed Jazz coaches during the early going. The veteran showed up to camp motivated and in shape.
Of note • The Jazz will hold a scrimmage today at ESA. The event is free and open to the public. Doors are scheduled to open at 11:30 a.m., while the game is expected to start about 12:15 and run for an hour. Players will be introduced, and the team will unveil a new hardwood floor and locker rooms.
Offbeat • Utah coach Jerry Sloan on his playing weight: "I wanted to be bigger. Now, I've gotten to that point. That's the bad part."
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