Walker Kessler Shows No Signs Of Slowing For Jazz

Dec 8, 2022, 1:54 PM


Walker Kessler of the Ut

SALT LAKE CITY – Walker Kessler continues to show strong development early in his young NBA career, and it was highlighted in his first start for the Utah Jazz.

With Lauri Markkanen scratched from the lineup due to illness, Kessler made his first start for the Jazz and recorded a 10-point, 12-rebound, five-block double-double in just 22 minutes of action.

It’s the latest in the long line of positive signs that Kessler has the chops to stick around as an NBA rotation player, and has far outperformed his 22nd overall draft position.

Kessler Begins Season Strong For Jazz

Kessler opened the season with a bang for the Jazz, making history in his rookie debut.

The first-year big man recorded a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds while shooting a perfect 5-5 from the floor against the Denver Nuggets.

Kessler is the only player in NBA history to record a double-double while shooting 100 percent from the floor in their first NBA game.

The Auburn product was a mainstay for the Jazz over the first 14 games of his career, averaging 5.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in 15 minutes per game while shooting 65 percent from the floor and 50 percent from the free throw line.

However, over his last ten outings, Kesler has clearly taken another jump in his NBA career.

Kessler Continues To Make Strides

Since November 19 when the Jazz beat the Portland Trail Blazers on the road despite losing Mike Conley to an injury in the second half, Kessler has seen his minutes and production increase.

Over his last 10 games, the rookie is averaging 6.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks in 17.4 minutes per contest while shooting a staggering 93 percent from the floor.

In fact, Kessler is shooting an unfathomable 29-31 from the floor during the stretch and has knocked down 75 percent of his free throw attempts.

That stretch includes two double-doubles which he’s posted over his last three outings. Since the beginning of the month, Kessler is averaging 12.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks in 22 minutes per game while shooting 94 percent from the floor and 75 percent from the stripe.

Kessler is unlikely to remain in the starting lineup when Markkanen returns to the floor for the Jazz, and coach Will Hardy still opted to close Wednesday’s win over the Golden State Warriors on the bench, instead favoring Kelly Olynyk at the center position.

However, Kessler is already the team’s best rim protector and offers badly needed defensive rebounding. With his surprisingly rapid growth as a rookie, Jazz fans should expect to see Kessler’s role continue to grow this season.

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

Utah Jazz

Utah's Carlos Boozer (left), and Mehmet Okur (right) congratulate Andrei Kirilenko...

Ben Anderson

Boozer, Williams, Kirilenko, Okur Return For Jazz Decade Night

Four All-Stars will return to Utah as the Jazz celebrate their 2000s rosters against the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday night.

2 hours ago


Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Mailbag: Will Jazz Be Better Next Year?

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

3 hours ago


Kyle Ireland

Reports: Former Jazzman Mike Conley Agrees To Extension With Timberwolves

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Mike Conley agreed to a contract extension worth more than $20 million, according to multiple reports.

1 day ago


Kyle Ireland

Brooklyn Nets Fire Former Utah Jazz Guard Jacque Vaughn

The Brooklyn Nets announced that they’ve fired former Utah Jazz guard Jacque Vaughn as the team’s head coach.

1 day ago


Ben Anderson

Lauri Markkanen Eliminated From Three-Point Contest

Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen was eliminated in the first round of the Starry Three-Point Contest after scoring 25 points.

3 days ago


Ben Anderson

Walker Kessler, Team Jalen Win Rising Stars Challenge

Walker Kessler and Team Jalen won the Rising Stars Challenge at the 2024 NBA All-Star weekend in Indianapolis. 

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles


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!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

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.


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.

Walker Kessler Shows No Signs Of Slowing For Jazz