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Secret's out on Jazz players' skills

Ever wonder what other NBA teams think of the Jazz players?

Here's some insight, based on excerpts from the usually secret scouting report of one of Utah's recent preseason opponents:

• Deron Williams: "Keep him out of the lane. ... Strong crossover left to right. ... Good defender."

• Ronnie Brewer: "Outstanding athlete who really runs in transition for layups. ... Slasher. ... High flyer. Will take on a tough defensive assignment. ... Much improved from last year. Range is better on shot but make him prove consistency."

• Andrei Kirilenko: "Very, very long. ... Will shoot 3 (but let him) and slash to basket. ... Will take bad shots if contested. ... Shaky handle — will turn it over."

• Carlos Boozer: "Prefers left hand. ... Excellent with both hands around the basket. ... Coast(s) on defense — so go at him and make him defend."

• Mehmet Okur: "Very skilled big. ... Does not like to be played physical, so get into him."

• Ronnie Price: "As quick as any in the league from end to end. ... 3-point range both on dribble and catch-and-shoot."

• Gordan Giricek: "Does not possess a great strength. Does everything fairly well. Play him straight up. Pressure him, and he will turn it over. ... Be physical with him. Poor defender, go at him."

• C.J. Miles: "Capable all the way to 3 range. ... Challenge shots. ... Be physical with him. ... Streaky shooter who is very capable of getting it going."

• Paul Millsap: "Beast on the glass. Great hands. Quicker on his feet than he looks. ... Quick baseline spin in the post."

• Jarron Collins: "Good pick-and-pop player to 16 feet. ... Go at him, not a shot blocker. Flops in the post."

• Jason Hart: "18 foot range. ... Pass first mentality."

• Morris Almond: "3-point range."

• Kyrylo Fesenko: "Decent body. 18-foot range. ... Has ability to get to rim on dribble."

WELCOME, ROOK: First-round rookie Almond got quite a welcome to the league from the Sacramento Kings, who went right at the shooting guard with a Mike Bibby-to-Kevin Martin alley-oop dunk just moments after the Rice University product entered Thursday's preseason loss in Albuquerque for the first time midway through the third quarter.

"Unfortunately," said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, who was trying to give Almond a chance to play with Utah's starters, "right off the bat, what did they do? Just go right to the guy, see if he's awake defensively.

"Rookies," Sloan added, "have got to know, 'Here they come.' It's a cruel world, you know?"

Projected starter Ronnie Brewer, by the way, opened again at shooting guard and twice got beaten badly on drives by Sacramento's John Salmons.

ALUMNI UPDATE: According to Florida Today this week, Jameer Nelson "has the edge to be the starter" at the point in Orlando, but ex-Jazz guard Carlos Arroyo "will still get major minutes in the guts of the game because of his ability to change the tempo with his hustle."

"Last year was hard because I never got into a rhythm, and when I did a couple of times my minutes went down," Arroyo, who is entering the final season of his current contract, told the newspaper. "I tried to stay positive, but it was hard. I'm a competitor and I want to play.

"You can't think about (a contract year)," he added. "I love the sport and play hard every night, and all of that is bigger than any contract thoughts I might be having. But definitely, I want to be here (in Orlando) the rest of my career."

OPEN SCRIMMAGE: The Jazz will hold a free, open-to-the-public scrimmage at 7 tonight in EnergySolutions Arena. No ticket is required for admission.


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com