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News » Young 'bigs' get a chance to shine

Young 'bigs' get a chance to shine

Young 'bigs' get a chance to shine LOS ANGELES ? Second game in a preseason back-to-back set. Second among three in four nights with a week-and-a-half still to go before the regular season opens. A couple hundred fans on hand for the tip.

It's exhibition games like Sunday's 110-103 win over Charlotte at the Staples Center that were made for young bigs like Kosta Koufos and Kyrylo Fesenko, who were blasted by coach Jerry Sloan "just going through the motions" and their need to "learn to compete" after Saturday's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Koufos responded Sunday with nine points, two rebounds and 3-for-4 field shooting in 22 minutes while fellow 7-footer Fesenko, also playing off the bench, had 11 points, four boards, a steal and a block while making 5-of-7 in 14 minutes. It was a start to redemption, but hardly an end. "It's good for them to have a chance to play, and have some more opportunities for them to make mistakes - and have something good happen for them," Sloan said. "I think they're better players than they were a year ago," he added, "but it takes a lot of time for them to learn all the stuff you're trying to do." Sloan continues to expect more from Fesenko, a 22-year-old Ukrainian whose option for this, his third NBA season, was exercise in the offseason. He was on the floor as the Jazz's protected their lead over the Sunday's final nine minutes, while Koufos played all of the fourth quarter. "I'm still not really happy with (Fesenko) being happy-go-lucky," Sloan said. "He's a young kid - and young guys have a tendency that they want to have some fun. "I don't have too much of a problem with that. But it sometimes it interferes with their progress. You know, you can't jackpot around and get better. "He can get a lot better," the Jazz coach added. "He's in a lot better condition than he's ever been in - even though he's still heavy. His physical conditioning is much better. And he's shown that. He couldn't run up and down the floor three or four times last year until he was out of gas." PROS AND CONS: Sloan suggested there are pros and cons - and perhaps more cons - to starting power forwards Paul Millsap and Carlos Boozer together like he did Sunday. "There are some things we can do, there are some things we have a tough time doing," Sloan said after Boozer followed a game-high 20-point showing Saturday with a team-high 22 on 9-for-11 field shooting Sunday and Millsap had 12 points on 6-for-9 and a game-high seven rebounds in 32 minutes. "We can't sustain a lot of teams that are gonna put some long lineups out there. We're not big enough," he added, mentioning the Clippers, Portland and the Los Angeles Lakers. "They got over the top of us, and that's one of the things that hurts us a great deal. We're not very long." DECISIONS, DECISIONS: General manager Kevin O'Connor said Sunday that the Jazz will wait until after its last two preseason games before deciding if they'll exercise the 2010-11 third-season option on Koufos' contract. O'Connor also said he'll talk this week with the agent for starting shooting guard Ronnie Brewer about a rookie contract extension, but he wasn't sure if a deal will get done. MISC.: Kyle Korver (knee), Ronnie Price (hamstring) and Mehmet Okur (back) all didn't play Sunday. Korver has missed four of five preseason games, Price three and Okur - shooting 6-for-8 (75 percent) from 3-point range so far in the preseason - missed his first. ... Okur said his back was tight when he woke up, but he should play Tuesday at Portland. ... Fesenko said he's wearing a wrist band on his right arm because it's gotten so bruised from dunking. ... The Jazz led by just one point after the first quarter despite shooting 12-of-15 (80 percent) from the field while committing just one turnover and holding Charlotte to 42.3 percent shooting ... Free agents Alexander Johnson and Spencer Nelson both didn't play (coach's decision), while Ronald Dupree logged just six minutes to fellow free agent Wesley's Matthews 21. But Matthews, fighting Dupree for a possible roster spot, shot 1-for-5. e-mail:

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 20, 2009


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