San Antonio • Jazz assistant coach Mike Wells dashed out of the locker room pregame, on his way to turn in the team’s official list of active and inactive players.
As he passed rookie guard Grayson Allen stretching out in the hallway, Wells slowed momentarily to tell him, “You’re active tonight!”
“Really?” the Duke guard asked in response.
“You like that, don’t you?” Wells retorted, before resuming his sprint.
Allen liked it.
Of course, Allen wound up getting only 22 meaningless seconds at the end of Sunday’s 110-97 loss. His minutes with the Jazz have been similarly minute of late, and so he’s recently been assigned to the G League affiliate Salt Lake Stars for a pair of games.
Asked which was more helpful for him at this point, to get regular playing time with the Stars, or to be around the Jazz, even if getting sporadic playing time, Allen said there were positives to both.
“Even when I’m not playing, or I might get in for a few minutes, I still learn a lot from getting up and getting scouting reports and watching the game up close and watching the preparation up close and being with the team,” Allen said. “Also, I think it’s good to get out there — both the [G League] games I played, I think I played 35 minutes. It’s good for me to play extended minutes at a time like that, to get out there and work on some of the stuff I’ve been trying to improve on throughout the year. Because once you get going, we don’t have a lot of time to practice — so it’s nice for me to get some time.”
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said he closely reviews the Stars’ game film to see how players are doing.
Allen confirmed as much, noting that he’d reviewed the tape with Jazz assistant Johnnie Bryant, and that Snyder had also passed along some notes: “He’s told me he has more that he’s gonna give me, that we’re gonna go through when we have time.”
The feedback mirrors what Allen had already been told — mostly that he needs to continue to work on defense.
The Duke product said he’s mostly focusing on small details and attempting to get them ingrained — defensive shifts; determining when to stay at home and when to help on pick-and-rolls; even simply maintaining a proper stance for the duration of a defensive possession.
“It’s just getting those habits and footwork down,” Allen said. “… That’s where my focus is right now.”