Kanter's work paying off
Enes Kanter's offseason was defined by repetition as much as his abs were. He constantly sent out tweets of himself working out, his newly chiseled frame and pleas for women to join him at downtown restaurants.
Through training camp, the Kanter circus overshadowed the more relevant question: Did the former No. 3 draft pick get any better after an uneven rookie season?
If three preseason games serve as a harbinger for the Jazz, it's hard to argue with the results.
He has recorded a double-double in each of the Jazz's games, after having one last season, highlighted by a 14-point, 14-rebound effort in the Jazz's 99-86 win over the Lakers on Saturday night at Staples Center.
"I was just trying to do my best," Kanter said Saturday night. "The Lakers are a big team. Always respect them, and I just try to go out there and just win the game."
Coach Tyrone Corbin said Kanter's development into a goofier, more charismatic person can't be separated from his maturation on the court. A year ago, he averaged just 4.6 points and 4.2 rebounds.
"He's having fun," Corbin said, "and he should very well do that because he's worked his butt off. He's working hard in practice, he worked hard all summer and his work is starting to show now."
On the flip side ...
With Paul Millsap away from the team, Derrick Favors has struggled in two starts at power forward. At least on offense. He scored a combined four points in games against the Thunder and Lakers. However, while he struggled to make shots, Favors compensated defensively.
He blocked seven shots in the two games. He blocked four shots against the Lakers, including a remarkable mid-air rejection of a Pau Gasol hook shot. Last season, Favors averaged 8.8 points and 1 block per game.
Following the victory, Corbin ticked off the things that make Favors an effective post rim protector: "His quickness off the floor, the way he can rotate and recover back and get to the basket and block shots."
"It's going to be a huge asset for us," he said.
Not that Corbin is surprised to see any of it.
"He's doing the same stuff as last year," he said. "I think he's getting smarter about when to rotate and go after shots, now."
Don't look up
Perhaps the biggest cheer of the night Saturday came with 7:15 remaining and the Jazz leading 80-72. Training camp signee Trey Gilder ran onto the floor to replace DeMarre Carroll.
The 27-year-old Texas native, who did not score in the game, didn't quite know what to make of the affection the Staples Center crowd was showing him until he glanced up at the video board hanging above the floor.
"I looked up and was like, 'OK, it's for Dwight,'" Gilder said.
A bespectacled Dwight Howard, the Lakers' prized offseason addition who continues to rehab from back surgery, was shown on the Lakers bench.