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Tribune Jazz beat reporter Tony Jones will answer readers' questions in a Twitter mailbag each week. You can submit questions using the hashtag #TonyTalks. Here is the this week's questions.
Tony's reply • Derrick Favors has been out for a while, so if past history repeats itself, he will be on a minutes restriction upon his return. I think he'll be back before the regular season ends.
The Jazz need Favors. They need his defense. They need his rim protection. Most importantly, they need his minutes when Rudy Gobert is not on the floor, which has been a big issue lately.
Credit Jeff Withey for playing well in Monday's win over the New Orleans Pelicans. But Utah's biggest problem rotation-wise without Favors is putting a credible defense on the floor when Gobert is on the bench.
Tony's reply • Neto was on the floor at the end Monday night because George Hill tweaked his toe.
The Jazz were winning by a comfortable enough margin that Neto was able to finish the game.
I spoke to Hill afterwards, and he told me he is fine and will be good to go. No, Hill is not at 100 percent. But he is going to play through the pain at this point.
Tony's reply • Rookies and younger guys tend to get the difficult end of officiating calls, especially at the beginning of their careers. Exum's case goes past that.
I've never seen a young guy garner a whistle quite like Exum this season. One play against New Orleans epitomizes how Exum has been officiated. He was isolated against Anthony Davis, one of the best players in the league. Exum, knowing this, did what he could. He stayed in front, and when Davis lifted for a jumper over him, Exum put his arms straight into the air.
I knew at the beginning of the play that a whistle was going to blow, no matter what Exum did. So he did nothing. He barely even defended on the play. The whistle still blew.
I looked at a replay, and Exum didn't touch him. And this is what he's faced all season.
There's not much to be done at this point. It's a running joke among the Jazz media. We call it the "Call a foul on Dante Exum when he does nothing" call that he gets at least once a game.
Exum just has to play through it, and hopefully for him he'll start to get more leeway from NBA officiating as he ages so he actually can play a little defense.
Tony's reply • The plan is for him to come back and play a few games before the end of the regular season. The goal right now is to get him healthy for the playoffs.
I think it can happen since the playoffs, especially the first round, are so spread out that there's time between games to recover, unlike the regular season.
You are correct. The Jazz desperately need Favors and the minutes he provides when Gobert is not on the floor.
Tony's reply • It will be interesting to see what coach Quin Snyder does with Alec Burks going forward. He's struggled with his shooting. He's struggled with his decision-making. He's struggled defensively. Surprisingly, he's struggled to finish at the basket.
Burks essentially has lost two years to injury, and we're seeing the impact of that. He was a different player before the injuries. But I still think, it's too early to give up on him. I think he holds a lot of value as a guy who can create for himself and get to the basket.
The Jazz bench needs that. Can Burks provide it?