Nuggets drive by Jazz defense
Nuggets stay red-hot with lopsided win at Utah
The chant was not quite as loud, but no less sincere than the boos. When a small group of fans began chanting, "Carroll!" in the final minutes of the Jazz's 113-96 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, No. 3 noticed.
Marooned on the end of the Jazz bench for the last 10 games, DeMarre Carroll has continued to feel the love from Jazz fans.
"Fans they appreciate what I do and how I play," he said. "It's just one of those things. Keep waiting for my opportunity so I can get somewhere where I can get consistent minutes, be out there and really play my game."
Carroll, whose entire career feels like one giant Kickstarter campaign, became a fan favorite in Utah by interacting with supporters on Twitter, inviting them bowling, and a devil-may-care playing style that has alternated between him earning 12 starts and getting lost on the bench.
Carroll will be a free agent at the end of this season, and went so far Wednedsday night as to say his relationship with fans will play a role in his decision of whether to stay or go.
"They definitely are a priority," he said. "I'll decide what I'm going to do at the end of the year. Me, man, I'm just ... at a level of my life, a level of my game, I can play in the NBA. I can be a rotation player and contribute. It's just finding the right opportunity, finding the right system, the right coach that believes."
Carroll said fans "understand what I do" and "that's why I love it here in Utah. But I just got to see when it's all said and done, see what's my best opportunity."
With 3:05 left in Wednesday's game, Carroll checked in along with Alec Burks, Jeremy Evans and Earl Watson. With 30 seconds of being on the floor, he had his first rebound. Another 30 seconds later, he made a 22-foot jumper.
"Everytime I get out," Carroll said, "I leave it out on the floor, if it's two minutes, three minutes."
Earl Watson continues to be the most thoughtful, inquisative member of the Jazz roster. Tonight before the game he wanted to learn about newspapers. Watson asked why reporters, as a rule, tend to congregate around one player in the locker room following games. If you watch interviews on TV, you will often see hands and microphones poking at athletes from all directions. The answer I had for Watson was multifold: 1) Players get done showering/dressing at different times and are rarely ready to be interviewed at the same time; 2) When an interview subject is obvious, such as Randy Foye following his 8-for-9 night, you don't want to waste the guys' time by asking the same questions; 3) The one-on-one interview in that setting is almost impossible. Even if you step away from the pack that is, say, surrounding Mo Williams and go over to Foye, a couple of other reporters invariably will see you peeling off and, fearful that they'll miss something good, follow.
This isn't terribly interesting, but does explain why you see many of the same quotes in competing publications. Also, I think, it's more telling of Watson's role in the locker room. He aspires to coach one day, and if you listen to him speak or watch him in practice, it's difficult to imagine that day being too far off. He's a guy who wants to know how everything works and why. Come to think of it, if coaching somehow doesn't work out, he'd make a pretty good reporter.