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Gordon Hayward is getting his chance.

The Jazz rookie guard made his first career start Monday during a home loss to Oklahoma City, filling in at shooting guard for an injured Raja Bell. The ninth overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft recorded four points, two assists and one steal during 22 minutes.

With Bell still dealing with a left adductor strain — he was limited to light running during practice Tuesday and is a game-time decision tonight against New Jersey — Utah coach Jerry Sloan said he will likely continue to have the former Butler standout on the court at tip off as long as Bell is sidelined.

Sloan decided to use Hayward in the starting lineup instead of veteran forward C.J. Miles so that the rookie could accumulate experience, while Miles would still be able to provide the Jazz with scoring off the bench. The move paid dividends, as Hayward held his own on both ends of the floor, and Miles poured in 16 points on 7 of 14 shooting.

Sloan said he saw enough out of Hayward on Monday that the 20-year-old guard is again a leading candidate to hold Bell's place in the first unit.

"I think [Hayward] played better than what he'd been playing," Sloan said. "And, to me, that's a plus for him."

Prior to the game against the Thunder, Hayward had been limited to just 25 minutes and five points during the Jazz's previous five contests, including a did not play due to a coach's decision Friday versus Atlanta.

Hayward said that being able to stay on the court versus OKC for a longer duration improved his rhythm. But he is still attempting to balance playing a role in Utah's system with his past tendencies as an athlete. Hayward has never been a fast starter. Thus, while being the fifth and final offensive option in the Jazz's starting unit, he must weigh deferring to Utah's stars with the new look of sometimes finding himself wide open as defenses collapse and force Hayward to prove himself.

Hayward also saw room for improvement in his rebounding and help defense efforts. But for the most part, the rookie held his head high following his first start.

"I thought I did all right," Hayward said. "It's a learning process. It'll get better as time goes on."

Three questions

Bell is not the only Jazzman who is a game-time decision versus the Nets.

Andrei Kirilenko (sprained second left knuckle, left hand) and Kyrylo Fesenko (dizziness, headaches) are also questionable against New Jersey. Neither practiced Tuesday, while Kirilenko wore a splint on his injured finger.

Working together

Despite improved play from veteran reserve point guard Earl Watson, Sloan said nothing has been decided when it comes to whether Watson or Ronnie Price is the official back up for starter Deron Williams.

Sloan has said all season that Utah will insert either Watson or Price depending upon in-game situations. The duo have also taken the court together, at times giving the Jazz a two point guard-lineup that has complemented a two-center rotation of Francisco Elson and Kyrylo Fesenko.

But while Sloan is comfortable with the current setup involving Watson and Price, that does not mean Utah's coach is not interested in eventually handing the backup reins over to one player.

"It'd be nice to know exactly for them, I'm sure," Sloan said. "But we're still not totally settled."

bsmith@sltrib.comTwitter: @tribjazz