OAKLAND, Calif. — It remains to be seen if the Utah Jazz will have an All-Star this season for the first time since Deron Williams in 2011.
That will be the case if Jazz players have anything to say about it.
Thanks to a new NBA policy, they actually will — at least a small say.
The league announced this week that players and a select group of media members will help fans determine All-Star starters. Fans, who’ve traditionally chosen the starters, will still have a 50 percent say in the matter. Votes from media and players (25 percent for each group) account for the other 50 percent.
Players like the idea of being involved in the selection process. Coaches will still vote for the seven All-Star reserves.
I think it’s something that’s pretty cool,” Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward said. “I think the NBA players know better than anybody else who’s legitimate or who deserves it.”
“I think players are on the court, they can tell. Coaches can tell, too,” Jazz center Rudy Gobert said. “I think it’s smart.”
If they keep up their play, Hayward and Gobert are the two players who will get consideration in the All-Star conversation, though probably not as starters.
From the sound of it, they have each other’s back, too.
“I’ll vote for Gordon,” Gobert said. “Of course I’ll show support for my teammate.”
Likewise for Hayward.
“Would I vote for Rudy?” Hayward said when asked. “I’d vote for everybody on our team to be All-Star starters.”
The team likely won’t end up with a starter, but Gobert believes the Jazz deserve at least one representative thanks to their strong start.
“If,” he said, “we’re fifth in the West and we don’t have at least one player, that would be pretty bad.”
TEXTING BUDDIES: While talking about his good relationship with Rudy Gobert, Quin Snyder said he constantly gets texts from The Stifle Tower.
"He texted me the other night because I called him solid," Snyder said. He continued with a smile, "Rock solid, I told him."
Texts like that don't surprise the Jazz coach. Nothing seems to get by Gobert.
"He pays attention to everything. He’s very aware," Snyder said. "I think it’s probably one of the reasons he’s such a good shot blocker. There's an awareness, an alertness and urgency to who he is as a person. That fuels him and I think it fuels him as a player."
NIGHT OFF: Derrick Favors didn't play against the Warriors on Tuesday but hopes he'll be able to go Wednesday when the Jazz host the Kings.
Snyder said Favors' absence in this one isn't due to a new injury. It was part of the power forward's rehabilitation protocol for his injured left knee.
"Essentially," Snyder said, "this is going to be just similar to the minutes restriction where he played the other night and had some soreness, which is to be expected like any player."
Favors, who said his knee felt good Tuesday morning, played 14 minutes and contributed five points and four blocks in the Jazz's physical 92-83 win at Memphis on Sunday. That's consistent with the amount of time — 13 and 14 minutes — he logged in the previous two appearances after missing 13 games because of the bone contusion in his left knee.
Snyder said the Jazz will evaluate how Favors looks and feels on Wednesday after spending the past few days rehabbing his knee.
"He’ll likely play (Wednesday)," Snyder said. "It’s in continuing with everything we’ve done with him so far, nothing really different."