Jazz • Teammates, fans praise the second-year forward's creative dunking.
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If the NBA wants him, Jeremy Evans wants in.
With several Jazzmen pushing for the second-year forward to be included in the 2012 NBA All-Star dunk contest, Evans said Friday he'll gladly head to Orlando in late February if he receives an invite.
The only catch: Evans would like to know in advance if he should pack his bags, since it'll take time to build up a first-place-worthy repertoire of throwdowns.
The NBA invites interested players who possess an ability to entertain fans with creativity.
Last season, it took the Los Angeles Clippers' Blake Griffin jumping over a car to edge Washington's JaVale McGee, who dunked two balls into two baskets at once. Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka ripped a stuff animal off the rim with his teeth after shaking the cylinder.
"It's all about ideas," Evans said.
Leaping off the ground, flying through the air and slamming a ball through a basket comes easy to Evans. Center Al Jefferson said The Human Pogostick rivals ex-Boston guard Gerald Green as the best skywalker he's ever seen. Green won the 2007 dunk contest and finished second to Orlando's Dwight Howard in 2008.
"Jeremy … the way he [can] get up and elevate to another level is something special," Jefferson said. "I'm kind of jealous of him."
He added: "He's got a good chance if he don't get out there and get nervous. His dunks [are] crazy."
Evans has also drawn the notice of Superman Junior. Howard pulled Evans aside during an exhibition game, advising the Jazz forward to step into the spotlight.
Evans wasn't a dunk aficionado growing up. But he killed time in college watching YouTube highlights of Michael Jordan. And, given advance notice, he'd leap at the chance to put his name next to His Royal Airness.
"I always get fans saying something about it," Evans said.
Now, the NBA just has to call.
Josh Howard's production and comfort level continue to increase, and Utah coach Tyrone Corbin is taking notice.
Howard ranks third on the Jazz in average points (11.4), first in made free throws (4.0) and second in steals (1.1). Asked about promoting the veteran forward to the starting lineup, Corbin said, "we'll see where things go."
"He has experience, and that's the key thing for us," Corbin said. "He'll do the right things to help us win."
Results of Earl Watson's magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam Thursday were normal.
Watson sprained his left knee Wednesday against the Los Angeles Lakers. The MRI revealed a bone bruise on the front of his knee.
Watson didn't practice Friday and is a game-time decision for Saturday against New Jersey.
Nets at Jazz
P At EnergySolutions Arena
Tipoff • Saturday, 7 p.m.
TV • ROOT Sports
Radio • 1320 AM, 1600 AM, 98.7 FM
Records • Nets 2-9, Jazz 6-4
Last meeting • Nets, 103-95 (Jan. 19, 2011)
About the Nets • New Jersey entered a road game Friday against Phoenix tied for the second-worst winning percentage (.182) in the NBA. … Ex-Jazz guard Deron Williams was leading the Nets in average points (16.9), assists (8.2) and steals (1.4). … The Nets had lost 9 of 10 games.
About the Jazz • Utah entered Friday ranked fourth out of 30 teams in points in the paint (44) but 28th in 3-point percentage (27) and tied for 27th in 3s made (3.7). … The Jazz have scored 94 points or less in five of six games. … Utah has won six of its past eight contests and was tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for sixth place in the Western Conference.