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Jazz start two sophomores

Published January 3, 2012 4:35 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Los Angeles • Coach Tyrone Corbin shook things up for the Jazz's 2011-12 season-opener.

Pushing Utah's youth movement another step forward, Corbin started second-year players Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward on Tuesday against the Lakers at Staples Center.

Hayward's promotion made perfect sense. A rookie during 2010-11, the small forward gradually built confidence and came on strong at the end of the season, scoring a career-high 34 points during the Jazz's season-closer April 13 against Denver. He then pushed himself hard during the offseason and entered training camp in excellent shape.



Favors also excelled during the offseason and camp. However, his promotion made a much larger immediate impact, moving 2010-11 starting power forward Paul Millsap to the bench.

Corbin has often said he plans to use different lineups during a lockout-shortened 66-game season. But he made it clear Tuesday the 20-year-old Favors has earned a spot in the Jazz's starting lineup. The combination of his muscular 6-foot-10 frame with undersized center Al Jefferson should provide Utah with increased length in the paint.

"Taking nothing away from the other guys, [Favors] gives us a chance to be versatile — he's a little bigger. … And with the change, it gives us a chance to be stronger coming off the bench," Corbin said.

Millsap's willing to do whatever a rebuilding team asks of him. But he acknowledged it's impossible not to be affected by the decision.

"It's not a demotion. I believe [Corbin] in that sense," Millsap said. "But it's still a tough thing to try to swallow. But being the team player that I am, I have to go out there and do the best I can to fulfill that role off coming off the bench."

More minutes

Corbin's comfortable adding to reserve small forward Josh Howard's workload.

The nine-year veteran played just 25 minutes during two preseason games and is still learning Utah's plays.

As a result, Corbin streamlined what Howard is supposed to know on the court. The condensed information should help keep him off the bench.

"We'll see where his conditioning is," Corbin said. "He came into camp late and he's getting into basketball shape — we don't want to run the risk of getting him hurt."

Briefly

Millsap (right quadriceps tendinitis) was a game-time decision. He received a green light less than an hour before tipoff. … Corbin said during shootaround he hadn't named a team captain. … The Jazz have 13 players on their roster. Utah is allowed to add two more, but an addition wasn't imminent as of Tuesday morning.

bsmith@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribjazz

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