Jazz Have Strong Week Despite Veteran Absences

Dec 9, 2022, 2:45 PM


Jordan Clarkson #00 of the Utah Jazz reacts after scoring during overtime at the Smoothie King Center on October 23, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz are through week seven 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 grading system for a team that wasn’t quite rebuilding but wasn’t competing for a championship.

Here’s out they fared over the last week.

Utah Jazz Four Factors: Week Seven

Youth Development: A-

Walker Kessler once again ruled the day among Jazz youngsters turning in the best week of his young NBA career.

Over the last week, Kessler posted two double-doubles, made his first start, and averaged 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 free throw line.

Simone Fontecchio also had the best appearance of his NBA career in Wednesday’s wild win over the Golden State Warriors. The Italian rookie scored a career-high 18 points including the game winning-dunk in the final second of regulation.

On the flip side, Talen Horton-Tucker’s difficult stretch carried over from the previous week, culminating in his second DNP-CD in four games on Wednesday.

Lottery Standings: B-

The Jazz crawled out of the no man’s land that is the NBA play-in tournament, and sit in the sixth seed in the West.

With a 2-1 record, the Jazz moved up one spot from the seventh seed and beat both the Indiana Pacers and the Warriors, two playoff hopefuls in the process.

The Jazz have a chance to improve these standings over the next week with four games before their week eight grades. Three of the Jazz’s four games this week will be played at home, and all four come against Western Conference Playoff hopefuls.

As of Friday, the Jazz are 0.5 games ahead of the seventh-seeded Mavericks, but only 1.0 games back of the fourth-seeded Denver Nuggets.

Veteran Performance: C+

It was one of the rougher weeks for Jazz veterans so far this season and Mike Conley missed all three of the team’s games, Lauri Markkanen missed one, and both Jordan Clarkson and Collin Sexton saw early exits of their own.

Markkanen suffered an illness against the Warriors but was stellar in his two outings prior.

The Finnish forward averaged 22.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.0 steals while shooting 48 percent from the floor and 60 percent from the three-point line.

But while his numbers were great, he could have had a much bigger impact in the team’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, especially in the fourth quarter.

Clarkson added 19.3 points and 5.0 assists, but was ejected from Wednesday’s win over the Warriors, and fouled out in the Jazz loss to Portland.

Sexton has remained efficient on the offensive end averaging 18.0 points on 50 percent shooting from the floor and 43 percent shooting from three, but his defense continues to need work. He will also miss most of the week and potentially more with a hamstring injury suffered against Golden State.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker had his best week as a Jazzman averaging 5.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.0 assists, and made several huge plays down the stretch in the Jazz victory over the Warriors.

With Conley on a minutes restriction and Sexton out this next week, he should get ample opportunity to prove he belongs in the NBA.

Fun Factor: A

Minus Saturday’s last-minute collapse against the Trail Blazers, the Jazz turned in a series of entertaining games including a blowout against the Pacers and the most exciting game of the season against Golden State.

Conley is expected to return this week which will help the Jazz offense fix its execution issues, and Markkanen shouldn’t miss extended time.

The continued development of Walker Kessler, Rudy Gobert’s return to Utah, and two matchups with Zion Williams should make for another exciting week of Jazz basketball on the horizon.

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

Utah Jazz

Ron Holland #0 of G League Ignite reacts with teammate Matas Buzelis #13...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Mailbag: Which Draft Picks Fit Jazz Best?

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

8 hours ago

Jared McCain #0 high-fives Kyle Filipowski #30 of the Duke Blue Devils...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Draft Prospects: Filipowski, McCain, Walter, Missi

At look at Jared McCain, Kyle Filipowski, Ja'Kobe Walter, and Yves Missi, and how they'd each fit with the Utah Jazz in the NBA Draft.

1 day ago

Rudy Gobert #27 of the Minnesota Timberwolves...

Ben Anderson

Rudy Gobert Shares Photos Of New Baby

Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert shared photos of his son after becoming a first-time father Monday morning.

1 day ago

Utah Jazz guard Keyonte George at the Salt Lake City Summer League...

Ben Anderson

Salt Lake City Summer League Tip Times Announced

Tip times for the Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Philadelphia 76ers at the Salt Lake Summer League were announced. 

1 day ago

The 2023 NBA Draft at Barclays Center...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Draft Prospect: French Forward Tidjane Salaun

French forward Tidjane Salaun is projected to be selected in the lottery of the 2024 NBA Draft where the Utah Jazz own the tenth pick.

5 days ago

Devin Carter #22 of the Providence Friars...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Draft Prospect: Providence Guard Devin Carter

Providence guard Devin Carter is projected to be selected in the lottery of the 2024 NBA Draft where the Utah Jazz own the tenth pick.

6 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!

Hans & Scotty's Day of Adoption...

Hans & Scotty’s Day Of Adoption

Join the KSL Sports Zone for Hans & Scotty's Day of Adoption, in partnership with the Humane Society of Utah, on June 25th, 2024!


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.

Jazz Have Strong Week Despite Veteran Absences