Caption for AK?
Jeffers made a case last night to stick around at least through the end of training camp. Like clark mentioned last night, it's going to be hard to cut any of the guys this season. One such play was described by Jody Genessy and shown in the recap below,
Tell the Suns' 7-footer Robin Lopez about it. Jeffers twice scored with Phoenix's starting center hovering above him. One time, Jeffers somehow squeezed between the double team of Lopez and 6-foot-10 Hedo Turkoglu for an inside hoop. Later on, Jeffers wiggled underneath a rebounding Lopez, tugged the ball out of his hands and then burst back up for a bucket.
Nichols also had a solid night with 9 points off the bench. Someone has to get cut though. I don't think Nichols makes it.
I think Evans is in. That leaves Thompson and Jeffers left to battle for that last spot. Right now I think you have to give the edge to Jeffers. Thompson hasn't played poorly, from what I can tell anyway, he just hasn't stood out yet. There's a lot that goes on in practice though that factors into these things. In fact, practice is probably the biggest factor for making the team.
I also like this note from Brian T. Smith about CJ helping out Jeffers,
Jeffers started rough, turning the ball over and getting blown by on defense. A supportive talk from C.J. Miles followed. Then Jeffers got on track.
CJ the vet?
Speaking of that second team, it appears that they've shaken off a bit of the nervousness from the first game where they gave up big leads that the first unit had secured. They've come together though to hold off charges by the Blazers and Suns over the past two games late to win the game. They haven't played entirely against the other teams' second units either. In the second quarters they've faced the first-stringers and not only held their own, but outplayed them at times.
There's always the qualifier that it's the pre-season yet this still has to be an encouraging sign as our depth is going to be the biggest question coming out of the gate.
They say that winning is infectious and it sounds like Jefferson has caught the bug. From Brian T. Smith
Jefferson on being 3-0 (in preseason): "You play these games to win. I get excited to win, because I haven't won many games."
He looks like he's improving each night. Pre-season wins don't count when we flip to the regular season, but the early pre-season success could beneficial for Al as he carries that extra motivation into the season.
It's important to remember that while Al is new to the Jazz, he is a vet that hasn't won much. Basketball-wise he'll be fine. I've worried about his mentality coming from a losing team and not knowing what it takes to win. We'll see how he handles the next week as the starters remain on the floor to close out games.
Finally, if you watched the recap video, you'll see where Fess gets called for a T under the league's new rule forbidding the players to show any kind of frustration. If that's what passes for T now, we're in for a long year. You can also see Fess shaking his head slowly when Nash is making the technical free-throw. I thought they might call him for that too since he's obviously showing up the refs.