SALT LAKE CITY — Father Murphy? Why, yes, of course.
Jazz rookie Kevin Murphy finally made it to training camp Thursday after missing the first to days for the birth of his son.
Not to be confused with the old television show of the same name — starring late Utah State football star Merlin Olsen — the Jazz’s version of father Murphy sent out a message on his Twitter account: “Thank the lord for another day. Thank you for giving us a healthy baby!!!”
Murphy reported to the team and was at media day on Monday, but soon returned to his home in Atlanta to be with his wife as she went into labor. She delivered little Kevin Jr. on Tuesday.
Kevin Sr. returned midway through Thursday’s practice but did not speak with the media.
Murphy, a 6-foot-6 guard, was taken with the No. 47 overall pick in the 2012 draft. He averaged 20.6 points and 5.2 rebounds as a senior at Tennessee Tech last season.
Over the summer, he averaged 8.6 points and 2.4 rebounds for the Jazz at the Orlando Summer League.
Jazz teammate Earl Watson said fatherhood changed his life.
“The greatest thing that happened to me was becoming a father because you become more of a nurturer,” he said. “That (nurturing) kind of carries over to your teammates and you can guide them and talk to them differently.”
Watson, 33, is one of three point guards on the roster. He, Jamaal Tinsley, 34, and Mo Williams, 29, comprise a veteran group of leaders.
Williams, whom the Jazz drafted with the 47th overall pick in the 2003 draft, bounced around the league before returning to Utah after a draft-night trade. He figures to be the starter but will also play some shooting guard along with newcomer Randy Foye.
Tinsley and Watson will compete for backup minutes, however, Tinsley is on the mend from a right knee injury that ended his 2011-12 season. He underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus on April 17 and is taking it slowly in camp.
“I feel great,” he said Tuesday. “I’m (going through) partial practice and (will) just keep moving forward, keep getting stronger.”
The Jazz are a relatively young team with six players, including Murphy, under the age of 25. Watson said he relishes his role as a mentor to some of the younger players.
“I was looking up on the court today and I was like, ‘Wow, I’ve been in the league a long time,’ ” he said. “You see the guys are so young.”
Tinsley, too, enjoys helping to develop young players.
“It’s something you really appreciate, as an older guy, a guy that’s been around, to pass along (advice),” he said.
Tinsley said he wants to get into coaching after his playing career ends, something he hadn’t considered until recently. He began the 2011-12 season as the Jazz’s No. 3 point guard and spent time sitting near the end of the bench.
Often surrounded by rookies and second-year players, Tinsley began “coaching” from his spot on the bench, readily imparting information to his young teammates.
“(I was) just letting them know to keep their mind into it,” he said. “Any time, something can happen and they’ve got to be ready.”