In Enes Kanter, the Jazz have long said they believe they have their center of the future. And Derrick Favors they have imagined as a long, athletic power forward, getting to the rim on the pick-and-roll.
And while their games are completely different, the Jazz could have an occasional challenge in defining their roles on the floor. Who is truly the center, and who is the power forward?
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Coach Tyrone Corbin avoids the issue by eschewing labels, saying Friday that he sees "two bigs for now."
It’s a short-term luxury, but a long-term consideration for the Jazz of whether the two young big men — Favors is 22, Kanter 21 — will share the post for years to come or eventually step on each other’s toes. Favors, generally considered the power forward of the two, is a stronger shot blocker and back-to-the-basket defender, a skill usually required of a center. Corbin described Kanter as "a brute inside."
Some nights, Corbin said, the Jazz could very well start Favors as a center or, depending on matchups, as a power forward.
"Matchups would dictate most of that," Corbin said. "If they’re in there together, we’ll see what’s giving us the best chance. And that could change from game to game."
Offensively, Corbin said, "Derrick can go over the top, Enes can go through you."
The big man rotation this season is better defined than a year ago, when Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap started and played big minutes, reducing the roles of Kanter and Favors — former lottery picks. This year, Kanter and Favors are both likely to start, while Andris Biedrins, Rudy Gobert and Jeremy Evans make up the bench options.
And while no one is ready to assert the frontcourt is now better, it is certainly different. The Jazz haven’t sported athleticism in the frontcourt like they do now in memory.
"It’s helped our competitive nature and gives us the ability to be a little more versatile how we play defensive situations," Corbin said.
The lingering question of who will assert himself as a leader on this Jazz team may be coming into focus. Corbin said Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward have both become more vocal this season.
"It’s one of the things we talked to them about in the summer [and] at the end of last year," Corbin said, "is being vocal and not just doing what you’re supposed to do, but if you’re back behind and talking to the guys and point and communicating so we can get it worked out faster."
Fans wanting to get a glimpse of the new-look Jazz will have their opportunity Saturday at EnergySolutions Arena. The team will hold its annual scrimmage at 4 p.m. Attending the scrimmage is free. Players will be interviewed on the floor before they play.
The Jazz roster currently includes 20 players, which is the league maximum. Per NBA rules, it must be reduced to 15 by opening night, Oct. 30 against Oklahoma City.
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