Markkanen, Beasley Shine In Jazz Week Five Grades

Nov 25, 2022, 2:04 PM


Malik Beasley #5 of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Jazz are through week five of the NBA season so it’s time for another check-up on the four factors of a successful season.

The four factors — youth development, lottery standings, veteran performance, and fun factor — were laid out before the season as a trading system for a team that wasn’t quite rebuilding but wasn’t competing for a championship either.

Here’s how the Jazz performed in four games over the last week.

Utah Jazz Four Factors: Week Five

Youth Development: C

Talen Horton-Tucker turned 22 on Friday and earns the top nod for the Jazz’s youngsters.

The guard has had to play a bigger role this past week with Mike Conley out with an injury and has turned in consistently strong performances.

Horton-Tucker averaged 8.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 2.3 assist, and saw his shooting efficiency climb to 43 percent from the floor and 37 percent from the three-point line.

At this point, it looks crystal clear that the Jazz won the Patrick Beverley for Horton-Tucker trade, and the guard may figure to be a long-term part of the team’s plans.

Walker Kessler has remained solid off the bench for the Jazz. The center averaged 4.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 16 minutes per game.

Ochai Agbaji had the best game of his young G League career recording 19 points, four rebounds, three assists, and a steal in a 128-97 win against the Santa Cruz Warriors.

Second-year guard Leandro Bolmaro has been sidelined with a concussion.

Lottery Standings: B

As the Jazz have made it clear over the first 20 games of the season, they aren’t outwardly tanking, so giving them a poor grade for not being in the draft lottery doesn’t feel appropriate.

Going forward, this grade will reflect where they are in the playoff standings or the lottery standings, with no weight added to one side or the other.

As long as the Jazz stay out of the 9-12 range in the West which is just good enough to make the play-in tournament, but not good enough to get a high lottery pick, their performance should be viewed favorably.

Even after a 2-2 week, the Jazz find themselves as the fourth seed in the West, with a long homestand on the horizon, the team should be able to stay firmly in the playoff picture.

Veteran Performance: B+

Lauri Markkanen bounced back after a rough week four and averaged 24.8 points and 8.5 rebounds since last Friday, even with Wednesday’s underwhelming performance against the Detroit Pistons.

The forward shot an impressive 55 percent from the floor and 45 percent from three, including his masterful 39 point, 15-18 shooting performance against the Phoenix Suns.

Jordan Clarkson also had a terrific week after recent struggles averaging 24.5 points per game but has seen his playmaking dip slightly at just 3.3 assists per game.

Malik Beasley continued his impressive play off the bench averaging 22.8 points per game while shooting 44 percent on a staggering 13 three-point attempts per contest.

The most pressing issues facing the Jazz is the injury to Mike Conley who will miss at least the next week with a knee strain. The Jazz went winless in the games Conley didn’t start and have struggled to execute with him off the floor.

Fun Factor: B+

The Jazz win over the Phoenix Suns on Friday might have been the game of the season so far, and to follow it up with a win over the Portland Trail Blazers the next night as truly spectacular.

However, the team’s performance dipped in back-to-back losses to the Los Angeles Clippers and the Detroit Pistons as the roster never seemed to find a consistent rhythm on either end of the floor.

Looking back at the Utah Jazz four factors for week five, the team was competitive in every game and remain one of the easiest teams in the NBA to watch on a nightly basis.

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Markkanen, Beasley Shine In Jazz Week Five Grades