NBA • Guard calls for film sessions, says team needs to play harder.
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Less than 12 hours after a visibly frustrated Deron Williams said that the Jazz do not know what they are doing on offense, the Utah guard went much deeper Friday morning.
The Jazz have no rhythm, Williams said. No on-the-court chemistry and no real feel for what is going on as the team struggles through a messy 0-2 start that has seen everyone from Williams and veteran forward C.J. Miles to newly added center Al Jefferson search for open shots in a system that is not producing them.
But Williams did not stop there. During a tense four-minute interview, the All-Star guard and face of the franchise also questioned whether he or anyone else on his team has the ability to go to longtime coach Jerry Sloan and request changes.
"That's up to coach. That's up to him. I don't run practices. I'm just out here to try to keep guys together," said Williams, prior to a workout at the team practice facility. "We've got to do something. We've got to get better. There's no secret about that. What needs to be done, I don't know."
Williams suggested a group film session would be a start, allowing a team filled with new faces and in-progress change to spend time together while dissecting what has gone wrong.
"That would be nice," Williams said.
But even that option was ultimately frustrating for the guard.
Williams said the Jazz do not watch game film as a unit, even though he has put in requests for the team to do so in the past. However, when asked whom he had run the idea by, Williams shut down.
"It doesn't matter," he said.
Minutes later, while the Olympic guard sat by himself on a trainer's table and self-applied athletic tape, Utah coach Jerry Sloan responded to his star player's comments.
Sloan said Jazz coaches had already watched film of the team's second consecutive blowout loss, a 110-94 nationally televised defeat to Phoenix on Thursday. A group session was then planned before practice Friday.
"We'll see what happens," Sloan said.
As for Williams' assertion that Utah needs to simplify its offense, Sloan said it can easily be done. However, he pointed out that no matter how basic the Jazz's system becomes one currently based on screens, pick-and-roll sets and intricate reads and options it will not make a difference unless Utah efficiently executes its game plan.
"It's a matter of what you do when you're doing it," Sloan said. "If your job is to set screens and help somebody, you've got to screen people. We get screened all over the floor."
He added: "We've run a few pick-and-rolls, but they're nonexistent. We're right back to square one, the way we operate it."
While acknowledging that the Jazz are, at times, having trouble running their offense, Sloan said missed field-goal attempts that should have been made, shot selection and overall execution are at the core of Utah's early season struggles.
He also ruled out making any immediate changes to a starting lineup that has three players Williams, Raja Bell and Andrei Kirilenko shooting 30 percent or less from the field.
"I'm not going to panic," Sloan said.
Still, the Jazz rank 29th out of 30 teams in point differential (19.0), are 27th in 3-point percentage (23.1), 26th in field-goal percentage (40.9), tied for 25th in turnovers (19.0) and tied for 23rd in average points (91.0).
Paul Millsap has said that the team's chaotic start has blown his mind, C.J. Miles acknowledged that he is "stinking it up," and Utah's undisputed leader is offering hard questions rather than confident answers.
But Sloan and Williams offered reminders that the Jazz are just two contests into a long 82-game season. They asked for patience. And they are united in their search for a better result.
"We've had some bad stretches since I've been on the team. It's not the first time," Williams said. "There's no need to panic. The only thing we can do is play harder, especially to start the games. We can play a lot harder than what we've been doing."
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FG 3-pt Pts Reb Ast
Deron Williams 27.3 50.0 15.0 3.0 6.0
Raja Bell 30.0 22.2 9.5 3.0 3.0
Andrei Kirilenko 29.4 50.0 10.5 2.5 3.5
Paul Millsap 63.6 0 17.0 10.5 1.5
Al Jefferson 41.7 0 13.0 8.0 0