Jazz Vets, Youth Get High Grades For Week Three Performance
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz are three weeks into the NBA season, so it’s time to look back at how they fared in the four factors we at KSL Sports laid out before the year to measure the team’s success.
Those four factors for the Jazz are youth development, lottery position, veteran performance, and fun factor.
Here’s how they fared for games between November 4-11.
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Utah Jazz Four Factors: Week Three
Youth Development: B+
Walker Kessler has once again been the star of the show among the young players on the Jazz roster this season.
The center took a step back after a non-covid illness sidelined him for three games two weeks ago, but was back to better-than-expected ways over the Jazz last four outings.
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) November 10, 2022
Kessler averaged 8.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, and an impressive 2.3 blocks per game this past week while playing just over 15 minutes per night.
The rookie’s best performance came against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night in front of his hometown when he recorded 12 points on 6-6 shooting, adding six rebounds, and three blocks in 16 minutes.
Talen Horton-Tucker also had his best week in a Jazz uniform. The 21-year-old averaged 8.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in four outings while shooting a much improved 41 percent from the floor and 38 percent from the three-point line.
The guard is a mainstay in the Jazz rotation and began to show why the team’s coaching staff remains invested in him early in the season.
10 & 7 for Ochai in his Stars Debut pic.twitter.com/rm2lDatvv6
— Salt Lake City Stars (@slcstars) November 11, 2022
Both Ochai Agbaji and Leandro began made their Salt Lake City Stars debuts on Thursday. Agabji scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds while Bolmaro recorded 16 points, four rebounds, and four assists.
Lottery Standings: F
The Jazz went 4-0 this past week including impressive wins on the road against the LA Clippers and the Atlanta Hawks, and a two-game sweep over the Lakers. At some point, we might have to reassess whether this category applies to the team this season.
It’s early, but at 10-3, the Jazz own the best record in the Western Conference and are nowhere near the NBA Draft lottery.
However, the Minnesota Timberwolves, Brooklyn Nets, and Philadelphia 76ers have identical 5-7 records through 12 games, and none of the three would be locks for the playoffs if they started today.
The NBA standings after Thursday night's hoops!
— NBA (@NBA) November 11, 2022
The Jazz are owed the Timberwolves first-round draft pick this season regardless of where it lands and will receive the worst of the Houston Rockets, 76ers, and Nets picks.
While it’s unlikely that all three of those teams miss the playoffs, there’s a growing chance the Jazz could end up with a lottery pick from one of those teams if they aren’t able to turn their seasons around.
For now, the Jazz haven’t positioned themselves well in the lottery, but that may cease to be the goal if their high-level play continues.
Veteran Performance: A+
It’s quickly looking like the Jazz found a major piece of the franchise’s future in Lauri Markkanen.
The Finnish forward has graduated from being a Most Improved Player candidate to open the year to a legit All-Star threat just 13 games into the season.
Markkanen continued his tear averaging 25.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in the Jazz last four outings and shot 46 percent from the three-point line during the stretch.
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Jordan Clarkson averaged 22.0 points and 4.3 assists while shooting a blistering 51 percent from three over the last four games, while Mike Conley has fully hit his stride during the Jazz 4-0 week.
Collin Sexton had his work game as a Jazzman against Atlanta scoring three points in 13 minutes, while Jarred Vanderbilt missed two games with an injury. Otherwise, Kelly Olynyk and Malik Beasley continued their strong play this past week.
Overall, the veterans are largely responsible for the Jazz success this season, and they are coming off their best week as a unit.
Fun Factor: A+
Not only are the Jazz winning games, but they are also providing a terrific product on the floor.
The offense is ranked second in the NBA, the defense is ranked tenth, they make the third-most threes, per game, while recording the fourth-most steals.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) November 10, 2022
To top it off, the team is clearly enjoying one another, regularly sharing one another’s highlights on Instagram after the game, and laughing together on the court.
Ultimately, it was a strong week for the Jazz across three of the four factors that will determine the success of the season.
Utah Jazz Scoreboard
Utah Jazz Team Leaders
Utah Jazz Standings