Oklahoma City • One team is built to win now, the other hopes to get there eventually.
So as the Utah Jazz prepare to tip off against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night, coach Ty Corbin says his young team can learn a thing or two from one of the best in the West.
"We want to make sure we get some lessons from them," Corbin said this week, "and get a good measurement of where we are."
Right now the Jazz are young, inexperienced and coming off three straight preseason losses.
The Thunder (3-1 in the preseason) are title contenders.
"We’re growing to that and they’re there," Corbin said. "So they know how to play and we have to figure out how we’re going to play against them."
The Jazz remain without a trio of key contributors. Rookie point guard Trey Burke is out with a fractured finger. Wings Brandon Rush and Marvin Williams are on the shelf, too.
The Thunder have one glaring absence. All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook is expected to miss 4-6 weeks after undergoing knee surgery earlier this year.
Westbrook’s injury may have dampened expectations for Oklahoma City, but Corbin said he considers the Thunder to be one of the best in the conference.
"To their defense, they’ve grown, so they are expected to be good," he said. " They’re boring. They’re an old story. But they are going to be one of the teams that will be there at the end. Westbrook is hurt. That’s going to take something out of them for a while. But we understand how good they are."
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