The Utah Jazz came into San Antonio, TX on Wednesday night looking for a win, but the trip was a failure to say the least as the San Antonio Spurs beat up on the Jazz 109-105. The score does not give credit to the authority with which the Spurs handled the game but if you blinked, you may have missed the progression of Jeff Ayres.
The fourth-year player out of Arizona State University has been quietly honing his skills in his new-found starting position for Spurs. Ayres finished with 10 points and four rebounds in 29 minutes of play. Much like the score, his stat line does not do justice to the improvement he has made on the offensive end.
Ayers seemed to have a better rhythm and understanding of the way that the ball must be moved within the Spurs’ offense. He found shooters in open spots on more than one occasion and did not seem to force his hand. A good portion of Ayres’s points came from drop-down passes and basket cuts which lead to easy scores.
In his matchup with Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors of the Jazz, Ayres was outworked and outsmarted. His anxiousness to block shots caused him to be out of position on many defensive possessions. However, defense is a hard idea to grasp for many young players in the NBA.
In his last collegiate season for the SunDevils, Ayres averaged 14.5 points per game and 8.2 rebounds, which shows his willingness to rebound. The room for growth is exponentially high for the young post player who is only 26-years old. With the guidance of Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich, there could be a bright future for Ayres and the Spurs.