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Jazz Great Mark Eaton Offers To Help Gobert’s Offensive Game

Mark Eaton #53 of the Utah Jazz plays defense during an NBA game at The Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1988. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Don’t panic Utah Jazz fans, it is still early. It’s been just over a dozen games for the team and while there have been glimmers of potential there are also things to work on. Mark Eaton joined KSL Unrivaled to talk about the high and low points of the team thus far.

Even with some hiccups, the Jazz are winning over 60 percent of their games.

However, playing in an ultra-competitive Western Conference the Jazz can’t afford to lose winnable games like the recent losses against a sub-.500 Memphis Grizzlies team and an average Minnesota Timberwolves squad.

Eaton joined KSL Unrivaled and gave his thoughts on the Jazz so far. He pointed to the defense as one of the issues.

“I think we have seen there are a lot of weapons for this team to score a lot of baskets. I think the one consistent glaring point is on defense. When you have a lot of offensive weapons players can rely on that and try to shoot themselves out of situations,” said Eaton.

Rough Patches Are Normal

Prior to the season, Eaton told KSL Sports it would take 10 games for the Jazz to gel with the new additions. We are past that and the team is playing well but not as well as some thought with the talent they have.

Eaton preached patience to Jazz fans who have concerns.

“As a fan you have to take the whole season in context. A lot of these things are happening to other teams. As long as you are in the hunt, I wouldn’t panic too much because there will be ups and downs,” Eaton said. “There are a lot of new players on the team this year, and it takes time to integrate that. I have not seen as much ball movement on offense as I’d like to see.

“I think as a fan you have to look at it is going to take time for these guys to gel. There are a lot of new faces and new lineups like Joe Ingles coming off the bench instead of starting.”

Take Mike Conley for example. He is averaging 14 points per game which is on par for his career but he had games with a wide range of outcomes with three games in the single-digits, including one game where he scored a single point.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, he has three games with more than 20 points.

A key for the Jazz to be more cohesive is consistency. The team would be better off if Conley were to close the gap on his highs and lows in his scoring. Part of that is getting a feel for your teammates.

“It is just one of those things that it takes a while to know your teammates and know where they are on the floor and to understand where and when they like the ball. There are just no short cuts,” Eaton said.

The good news is that the Jazz are within a few games of the top teams in the Western Conference.

Can Gobert Be A Go-To Scorer?

Eaton is one of the all-time great NBA bigmen, so his opinion matters.

“He is playing well. As long as they are keeping him involved and throwing the ball at the rim he is in good shape,” Eaton said of Gobert. “He is doing a nice job on the boards and getting some offensive rebounds. The one thing I want to see him improve upon over the course of the season is seeing him be a little bit more of a go-to scorer in the low post, and this goes beyond the lobs.”

Eaton mentioned what Gobert really needs is that one specific specialty move – like a jump hook. If he can establish that it would make Gobert a more well-rounded player and likely an All-Star.

“He needs a jump hook or something. When he gets the ball in a tight situation you need someone to come up with a basket, he can be one of those guys,” Eaton said. “Maybe I need to go down there and show him a couple of things?

“When you are 7-foo-2 you have the tendency to do things like the other players do and you forget that you are 7-feet tall and you need to just go over guys.”

Once the Jazz get a bit more offense from Gobert and this team continues to learn each other’s tendencies – watch out because those things will help make the Jazz an NBA contender.

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