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News » Utah Jazz preview: Player capsules


Utah Jazz preview: Player capsules


Utah Jazz preview: Player capsules The Utah Jazz roster at a glance:

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Andrei Kirilenko

Ht./Wt. ? 6-9/235

From ? Russia

NBA exp. ? 8

Key stats ? 11.6 points, 4.8 rebounds

Comment ? Kirilenko heeded the Jazz's advice to bulk up this summer and reported to training camp at close to 240 pounds, the heaviest of his career. The challenge for Kirilenko will be keeping on the weight through the grind of a seven-month season. He has not played more than 72 games in any of the last five seasons. Although he came off the bench last season, Kirilenko could start with C.J. Miles out after undergoing thumb surgery. As much of an anchor as his contract has been, Kirilenko is sure to draw trade interest next summer, when he will represent one of the biggest expiring contracts in the NBA .

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Mehmet Okur

Ht./Wt. ? 6-11/263

From ? Turkey

NBA exp. ? 7

Key stats ? 17.0 points, 7.7 rebounds

Comment ? Unlike Boozer, the Jazz had no problem signing Okur to a contract extension this summer. After Okur decided to play the final year of his contract rather than opt for free agency, the Jazz and Okur reached agreement just nine days later on a two-year, $20.8 million extension through the 2011-12 season. Okur is one of the NBA's most unique players with his size and shooting ability -- he ranked sixth in the league in three-point shooting at 44.6 percent -- but is limited as an interior defender. Okur has worked to improve his low-post offensive game, including adding a hook shot this summer.

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Carlos Boozer

Ht./Wt. ? 6-9/266

From ? Duke

NBA exp. ? 7

Key stats ? 16.2 points, 10.4 rebounds

Comment ? Back for what is all but certain to be his final season in Utah, Boozer has much to prove, especially heading into free agency. After missing a third of the Jazz's games the last five seasons due to injury, Boozer must stay healthy first and foremost. He also has joined in the team-wide commitment to better play on the defensive end. The Jazz would like nothing more than for Boozer to return to his former All-Star level, but they also will face repeated questions about whether they intend to deal him before the NBA's February trade deadline, especially given the events of this summer.

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Deron Williams

Ht./Wt. ? 6-3/207

From ? Illinois

NBA exp. ? 4

Key stats ? 19.4 points, 10.7 assists

Comment ? Despite suffering a gruesome sprained ankle in the preseason, Williams still posted the best numbers of his career in 2008-09. He also enjoyed his first summer free of USA Basketball commitments since 2006 and should be able to take advantage of the down time this season. Williams has his sights set on playing in his first All-Star Game -- in his hometown of Dallas, no less -- in addition to leading the Jazz back from last season's disappointment. Williams has set goals of cutting down on turnovers, boosting his three-point percentage and mastering a runner in the lane.

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Ronnie Brewer

Ht./Wt. ? 6-7/227

From ? Arkansas

NBA exp. ? 3

Key stats ? 13.7 points, 3.7 rebounds

Comment ? Heading into his third season as a full-time starter, Brewer also could be entering a contract year if he and the Jazz cannot come to agreement on an extension by the end of October. Brewer has been a key contributor and is still just 24, but the Jazz hope he can take the next step at both the offensive and defensive ends. The Jazz want to see Brewer become a more consistent jumpshooter after his playoff struggles against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, as well as an aggressive man defender in addition to already being one of the NBA's steals leaders.

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Wesley Matthews

Ht./Wt. ? 6-5/220

From ? Marquette

NBA Exp ? R

Key stats ? 18.3 points, 5.7 rebounds*

Comment ? The Jazz likely weren't planning to carry a 14th player given their luxury-tax situation, but Miles' injury and Matthews' play earned the rookie a spot on the team. Matthews could see more playing time than expected -- he will be counted on to defend, hit outside shots and do the little things -- but there are no guarantees he will stay with the Jazz all season, especially once Miles returns.

* -- College stats

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C.J. Miles

Ht./Wt. ? 6-6/227

From ? Skyline H.S. (Dallas)

NBA exp. ? 4

Key stats ? 9.1 points, 2.3 rebounds

Comment ? The consensus among Jazz players was that Miles was primed for a breakthrough season before he ruptured a ligament in his left thumb and had to undergo surgery. Free of any contract issues this summer, Miles took advantage and reported to training camp in the best shape of his career, then scored 16 points in the Jazz's first preseason game. He is expected to be sidelined six to eight weeks with the injury.

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Paul Millsap

Ht./Wt. ? 6-8/250

From ? Louisiana Tech

NBA exp. ? 3

Key stats ? 13.5 points, 8.6 rebounds

Comment ? Even if he must wait a season until Boozer leaves to take over at power forward, Millsap's future with the Jazz is set. The team matched the four-year, $32 million offer sheet Millsap signed as a restricted free agent with Portland and now must find a way to get him on the floor. Look for the Jazz to play Millsap at small forward when the matchups are favorable, as well as alongside Boozer in the frontcourt.

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Matt Harpring

Ht./Wt. ? 6-7/230

From ? Georgia Tech

NBA exp. ? 11

Key stats ? 4.4 points, 2.0 rebounds

Comment ? Harpring did not take part in either training camp or preseason and remains out indefinitely with ankle and knee issues. His career very well is over, but the Jazz could keep Harpring on the roster this season, if only to use his expiring contract in a trade and count him toward the NBA's 13-player minimum. Without Harpring, the Jazz lose a trusted veteran and favorite of coach Jerry Sloan.

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Kyrylo Fesenko

Ht./Wt. ? 7-1/300

From ? Ukraine

NBA exp. ? 2

Key stats ? 2.3 points, 1.8 rebounds

Comment ? The Jazz opted to bring back Fesenko, even though he had played in just 30 games in his first two years in Utah. As a third-year player, Fesenko is ineligible to be sent to the NBA Development League, forcing the Jazz either to find a role for him or watch his development stall on the bench. Fesenko is gifted physically, but the Jazz regularly have questioned his seriousness.

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Kyle Korver

Ht./Wt. ? 6-7/212

From ? Creighton

NBA exp. ? 6

Key stats ? 9.0 points, 3.3 rebounds

Comments ? It's only October, but Korver already has battled his share of injuries for the season. He was sidelined in the preseason with an inflamed left knee and was slow to heal following offseason wrist surgery. Korver hopes to improve on his 38.6 percent three-point shooting last season and wants to prove he is part of the Jazz's core of players heading into free agency this summer.

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Ronnie Price

Ht./Wt. ? 6-2/184

From ? Utah Valley

NBA exp. ? 4

Key stats ? 4.0 points, 2.1 assists

Comment ? Price endeared himself to Sloan with his play in the Jazz's Game 5 playoff loss to the Lakers and was re-signed for two years as a free agent. He spent his first two seasons in Utah as the No. 3 point guard behind Jason Hart and Brevin Knight, but no doubt will see more playing time this season. Whether that's as Williams' backup or as a scoring off guard remains to be seen.

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Eric Maynor

Ht./Wt. ? 6-3/175

From ? Virginia Commonwealth

NBA exp ? R

Key stats ? 22.4 points, 6.2 assists*

Comment ? The Jazz considered themselves fortunate to draft Maynor with the No. 20 pick in the first round. Maynor's preseason play suggested not only that he could be the rare Jazz rookie who plays immediately for Sloan, but also that he could serve as the team's backup point guard ahead of Ronnie Price. Maynor is a steady distributor, but his shooting has been questioned.

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Kosta Koufos

Ht./Wt. ? 7-0/265

From ? Ohio State

NBA exp. ? 1

Key stats ? 4.7 points, 2.9 rebounds

Comment ? Although he played in 47 games as a rookie, Koufos didn't see action the final two months of the season. He bulked up in the offseason and played with the Greek national team at the European championships, but Koufos struggled in preseason with the Jazz. He remains a work in progress and again will be the Jazz's youngest player at 20.

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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 27, 2009

 

 
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