UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Four Factors: High Marks For Fun, Low Marks For Tanking

Oct 28, 2022, 12:55 PM | Updated: 2:30 pm

Utah-Jazz-Forward-Lauri-Markkanen...

Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz are a week and a half into the NBA season and are one of the league’s most surprising teams.

The Jazz are 4-1 through five games, tied with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Before the season I listed four factors to grade the Jazz on in what was supposed to be a down-year in the standings. Those four factors included youth development, lottery standings, veteran performance, and the entertainment level of the team.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by KSL Sports (@kslsports)

Here are the letter grades for how they’ve fared through five games.

Youth Development: B

Walker Kessler burst onto the NBA scene with a record-setting night scoring 12 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and shooting a perfect 5-5 from the floor.

Kessler is the first player in NBA history to record a double-double and not miss a shot from the field in his rookie debut.

The center followed it up with strong games against the Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans before falling back to earth against the Houston Rockets.

Simone Fontecchio had his breakout performance against the Rockets in Houston on Monday scoring all 13 points of the game in the fourth quarter as the Jazz came up just short of a comeback victory.

On Wednesday, it was 21-year-old NBA veteran Talen Horton-Tucker who turned heads with his best performance in a Jazz uniform. The fourth-year guard scored 14 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and dished out four assists in 28 minutes off the bench.

So far, Jazz coach Will Hardy has found opportunities to play three of the five Jazz youngsters at crucial moments during the first week and a half of the season, and they’ve performed reasonably well.

This grade would be an A, but the team was dinged as neither Ochai Agbaji nor Leandro Bolmaro have played meaningful minutes this season.

Lottery Standings: D-

This may seem harsh to hand out an D- grade this early in the season, but the Jazz’s goal was to give themselves the best odds of landing the top overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, they’ve failed miserably.

Just five games into the season the Jazz already have a 4.5 game lead over the Orlando Magic for the worst record in the NBA, and they’ve built this lead by beating three likely playoff teams in the Western Conference.

Make no mistake, there is plenty of time to rack up losses this season, but if the draft were held today, the Jazz and the Portland Trail Blazers would flip a coin for the 29th overall pick in the first round.

Veteran Performance: A-

With Lauri Markkenen putting up All-Star numbers for the first time in his career, Jordan Clarkson experiencing career-highs across the board, and Kelly Olynyk shooting nearly 70 percent from the three-point line, the Jazz get a near-perfect mark for veteran performance.

Markkanen looks like a major piece of the Jazz franchise going forward, while Clarkson and Olynyk could be highly sought-after trade pieces with their current production.

Mike Conley and Malik Beasley have yet to shoot the ball well, but their numbers should improve. Rudy Gay’s production has been below-average since a strong opening-night performance, and moving him may prove difficult.

Fun Factor: A+

Remember, above all else, basketball is a game designed to be enjoyed by fans. Through five games, the Jazz have one blowout victory over the Denver Nuggets, two overtime wins against the Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans, and a close win over the Houston Rockets.

On top of that, they’ve been fun to watch due to their fast-paced offense, rapid ball movement, and strong individual performances from Markkanen and Clarkson.

The Jazz won’t keep up their current .800 win percentage, so fans wanting more draft lottery balls need not worry yet. Until the wins slow down, enjoy them while you can.

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

Utah Jazz

Utah Jazz guard Isaiah Collier...

Ben Anderson

Jazz Fall To Clippers In Vegas Summer League

The Utah Jazz dropped to 2-2 at the Las Vegas Summer League after falling to the Los Angeles Clippers 105-88.

14 hours ago

Russell Westbrook #0 of the LA Clippers reacts against the Utah Jazz...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Trade For Russell Westbrook, Again

For the second time, the Utah Jazz are acquiring Russell Westbrook, this time in a sign and trade for guard Kris Dunn.

24 hours ago

Keyonte George NBA Summer League Salt Lake City Utah Jazz...

Chandler Holt

Are NBA Summer League Struggles A Cause For Concern?

The NBA offseason is driven by recency bias and high expectations, with Summer League players feeling that pressure the most.

1 day ago

Utah Jazz forward Taylor Hendricks...

Ben Anderson

Taylor Hendricks Thrives In Jazz Win Over Raptors

Taylor Hendricks had the best performance of his basketball career against the Toronto Raptors scoring 23 points and grabbing nine rebounds.

2 days ago

Utah Jazz Houston Rockets Taylor Hendricks...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Mailbag: Are Jazz Good At Developing Players?

Welcome to the Utah Jazz mailbag where every week our NBA insiders answer your questions on social media about your favorite team.

3 days ago

Utah Jazz rookie Kyle Filipowski...

Ben Anderson

Kings Embarrass Jazz In Second Vegas Summer League Game

The entire Utah Jazz roster struggled in game two of the Vegas Summer League as they were drubbed by the Sacramento Kings 82-70.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

KSL Sports

Utah Hockey Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Want to get the latest info on Utah's newest sports franchise? Sign up for the Utah Hockey newsletter!

ksl-sports-newsletter...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

...

KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz...

KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Jazz Four Factors: High Marks For Fun, Low Marks For Tanking