Mudiay’s First Game In Utah Starts Slow, Ends Strong

Oct 15, 2019, 10:46 AM
Utah Jazz guard Emmanuel Mudiay (8) plays defense during the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings NBA pre...
Utah Jazz guard Emmanuel Mudiay (8) plays defense during the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings NBA preseason basketball game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Maybe Emmanuel Mudiay thought of a riding bike while he played his first game with the Utah Jazz. You know, the well-worn idiom that once you learn how to do something, like riding a bicycle, you never forget how to do it.

Mudiay practiced with the team Monday and was cleared to play against the Sacramento Kings that night. The former lottery pick was thrown on the proverbial bike early in the first quarter. Let’s just say he fell off a few times – because the first quarter was not pretty.

In his first foray to the rim, Mudiay lost control of the ball and it bounced off of a couple of guys before bounding out of bounds. The Jazz ended up retaining possession.

The next time he touched the ball Mudiay drove to the basket, but had his shot rejected by De’Aaron Fox, who was guarding him. Fox then abused Mudiay near the low post for a bucket, moments later, Mudiay was sitting on the bench.

Happy Ending

Don’t worry, this is one of those feel-good stories where Mudiay got back on the bike and never gave up.  Of course, coach Quin Snyder helped by putting Mudiay back into the game in the second quarter.

He didn’t do anything great, but Mudiay didn’t look lost out on the court, then in the third quarter – things changed.

Late in the period, Mudiay made a driving layup and banked a shot before the end of the quarter. He also hit a couple of tough step-back shots in the fourth quarter. He finished the latter part of the game sitting on the bench.

Mudiay’s final line was 8 points on 4-6 shooting, 2 rebounds and 2 turnovers in just under 17 minutes of play.  His plus/minus number was -9, but most of the regular rotation players were also in a negative number.

Eight points is not a lot when you consider Mudiay averaged close to 15 points a game for the Knicks last season. He knew what he was getting himself into when he signed with the Jazz.

Up To The Challenge

On Jazz media day, Mudiay said it took a lot of maturity and growth on his part to turn down other jobs and come to learn from Snyder and new point guard Mike Conley.

After being humbled in the first quarter against the Kings, he has plenty to be proud of going into the final preseason game against Portland.


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