We’ve talked about it here more than a few times, and it’s been written about almost ad nauseam that the Jazz have turned the franchise over to the likes of Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
In Utah’s preseason game last night against the Portland Trail Blazers, those three lead the way; Favors finished with 10 points and 16 rebounds, Hayward had 20 points and 7 assists, and Kanter added 23 points and 4 rebounds. As will likely happen on a fairly regular basis this season, the solid performances from those three wasn’t enough, with the Jazz falling 99-92.
One of Hayward’s 7 assists is what we’re going to take a look at in this edition of “Pass of the Night.” The play took place late in the first quarter, with the Jazz trailing 18-13. Kanter catches a pass at the top of the key and immediately swings it to Hayward on the left wing. As Hayward received the pass, Kanter arrives to set a screen. Hayward jab-steps and denies the screen however, and begins to drive to the basket. The jab-step freed him and left his defender playing catch-up. Hayward’s drive forces Kanter’s man to leave Kanter and step towards Hayward to give Hayward’s defender time to recover. Hayward pulls up like he is about to shoot, but pump-fakes instead, drawing Kanter’s defender, who is looking to block the shot. With Kanter now open in the middle of the paint, Hayward changes his mind mid-air and slips a little pass into Kanter for a slam.
If you have any suggestions for a pass we should consider, contact me on Twitter (@jmaloney9) or by email at maloneyj(at)xavier.edu.