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News » Back from Europe, back to business


Back from Europe, back to business


Back from Europe, back to business With the NBA now sending four to six teams annually to Europe and China, not to mention opening new offices from Dubai to South Africa to India, the Jazz could be headed overseas again in the preseason sooner than later.

How they will view such future trips likely will be shaped by how they fare the rest of this month. Having returned from London and Madrid, Spain, the Jazz will resume practicing today and face a 17-day sprint to opening night.

"We've still got a lot of learning to do, a lot of things to do before the regular season starts," Paul Millsap said, "but we're making good progress."

The Jazz's five-day trip to Europe was part business, with a full schedule of practices, games and clinics that left little time for sightseeing, but also part vacation, with many players, coaches and staffers bringing along their wives.

Although the Jazz opened training camp three days early to accommodate the trip, general manager Kevin O'Connor said he believed the team had lost more than three days of normal preseason preparations due to the travel.

"We're all creatures of habit," O'Connor said. "When you take us out of a routine, whether it's driving the same way to work or whatever it is, I think it takes a while to catch up."

The Jazz lost to the Chicago Bulls in London on rookie James Johnson's shot at the buzzer, then wiped out Real Madrid in the second quarter in cruising to a 22-point victory Thursday over the Spanish power.

As long as their 14-hour trip home was -- the team left immediately after the game and arrived in Salt Lake City Friday morning-- the Jazz still have four road preseason games left to play. This time next weekend they will be in Los Angeles in the midst of a stretch of three games in four days.

The most pertinent question for coach Jerry Sloan is how long it will take for his team to recover. After opening the 1990-91 season with two games in Japan, Sloan couldn't hold full practices for a month afterward given how much his players were dragging. This time, the Jazz returned home two-and-a-half weeks ahead of their Oct. 28 opener at Denver and won't play again until Thursday's preseason game against Portland at EnergySolutions Arena.

"We have time, and that's one good thing about it," Sloan said. "We have time to try to hopefully do what our job is, to try to analyze players, analyze whether or not they can play and what we're trying to do."

Sloan was grateful for the chance to visit two European countries, noting that if it wasn't for Basketball he likely never would have gone. Same as with the Jazz's trip to Japan nearly two decades ago.

"From that standpoint, that's an experience that would have never happened and I'm glad that I've had an opportunity to do it," Sloan said. "There's always something you can learn from it and kind of remember it."

Most of the Jazz's players simply were looking forward to crawling into bed. Deron Williams noted that he didn't get to bed until 9 a.m. Wednesday after the Jazz's predawn arrival from London and couldn't fall asleep until 6 a.m. Thursday.

On the flip side, Williams didn't think it would take long to readjust once back home. "I never really adjusted on this trip," he said.

"Everything was pretty much good, but we couldn't really get enough sleep the first couple days," Mehmet Okur added. "It's all good. It's great to come here because most players, they haven't been in Europe before. . . .I feel like I was here yesterday."

The Jazz still have a host of issues to resolve before opening the season, including filling the void left after C.J. Miles suffered a ruptured thumb ligament in practice in London and flew home to undergo surgery.

With Miles out to start the season, the Jazz must decide about carrying an extra 14th player. They are particularly interested, as well, this preseason in seeing whether young players Kosta Koufos, Kyrylo Fesenko and Eric Maynor can claim a role.

The Jazz also will see how Kyle Korver returns from an inflamed knee that forced him to miss two games before playing Thursday. They additionally have to divide power forward minutes for Carlos Boozer and Millsap and backup minutes at point guard.

"We've got some things to work on," Williams said. "We haven't put a lot of our offense in. I mean, most guys know it, so it's not a big deal. We look all right right now."

rsiler@sltrib.com The week ahead

? Today: Jazz resume practice after returning from Europe

? Tuesday: Public scrimmage at EnergySolutions Arena

? Thursday: Preseason game vs. Portland, EnergySolutions Arena

? Saturday: Preseason game vs. L.A. Clippers, Staples Center MLB playoffs

Saturday

? Dodgers X, Cardinals X

Today (all games on TBS)

? N.Y. at Minnesota, X p.m.

? L.A. at Boston, X p.m.

? Philly at Colorado, X p.m.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 12, 2009

 

 
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