Utah's Taylor, BYU's Fischer try to impress at Jazz workout
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Brandon Taylor and Chase Fischer know the odds are against them continuing their basketball careers in the NBA, but the pair isn't shutting it down. The two - from Utah and BYU, respectively - worked out for the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, mostly so the team could have some competition for Washington guard Dejounte Murray, as they search for an opportunity.
Taylor was the heart of the Utah program that advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2015 and finished second in the Pac-12 last season. He was named to the Pac-12 all-defensive team in 2016 and has always had to play bigger than his 5-foot-10, 170-pound frame. That becomes much more difficult in the NBA.
Taylor didn't shoot as well as he wanted during the workout but wanted to show his leadership skills and knowledge of the game. Jazz vice president of player personnel Walt Perrin said Taylor needs to show elite defense and knock down open shots.
''To be quite honest, now it's the NBA. You start to think a little bit, is this really a deal of you being too small to play in the NBA?'' said Taylor, who averaged 9.7 points and 3.9 rebounds as a senior. ''You can get past it in high school and college. But I don't let it sink in. Even if I think it, it kind of washes away because that's not me.
''That's not how I think of the game of basketball. I think of basketball as being a fighter. ... It's not the size of the dog. It's the size of the heart that's in the dog. That's how I thought about the game my entire life, so I'm not going to switch it now.''
Taylor mentioned looking up to small, scrappy players like Allen Iverson and Isaiah Thomas. He wants to make an NBA summer league team and is open to playing in Europe.
Size isn't as big of an issue for the 6-3, 190-pound Fischer, a former BYU guard, but Perrin said he would have to be able to defend NBA guards. He averaged 18.2 points as a senior and finished his collegiate career with the fourth-most 3-pointers in BYU history. He's also open to playing in Europe and thinks his game translates well to that style, but he is trying to show that he's more than just a shooter. Wednesday was his first workout for an NBA team.
''I wanted to show I go hard, I have pace and I have a little bit more to my game than just shooting,'' Fischer said. ''I really competed at 1-on-1, played hard on defense and showed I have a little off the dribble.
''I wanted to make shots, too.''
The Jazz also had former Michigan guard Caris LeVert in to meet with team officials. He remains in a walking boot from a lower-leg injury but was once considered a possible lottery pick before injuries to that left leg derailed his junior and senior seasons.