Jazz Climb In Standings Despite Quiet Week

Mar 17, 2023, 2:48 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz are through week 23 of the NBA schedule, so it’s time to examine how they’ve fared in the four factors of a successful season.

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

Here’s how they fared with less than a month left in the regular season.

Utah Jazz Four Factors Week 23

Youth Development: A

It was a rare quiet week for the Jazz who’ve played only two games since last Saturday, but the rookies continue to show glimpses of their bright future.

Walker Kessler averaged a 12.0 point, 12.5 rebound double-double posting a strong 17 point, 16 rebound, three block performance in a win over the Charlotte Hornets before a more modest seven point, nine rebound outing in the Jazz’s loss to Miami.

Ochai Agbaji had two solid outings for the Jazz averaging 12.0 points and 3.5 rebounds while continuing his prolific three-point shoot efforts.

Over his last 10 games, Agbaji is hoisting 6.9 threes per game, a remarkably high number for a rookie, despite shooting just 31 percent on his attempts.

There is little doubt that the first-year Jazzman can shoot, so continuing to look for those shots, even during a cold streak isn’t a bad sign.

Similarly, rookie Simone Fontecchio is playing his best basketball of the season scoring a career-high 23 points in Miami.

The Italian is shooting a much-improved 42 percent from three over his last six games upping his value for the team heading into the offseason.

NBA Standings: C+

Though the Jazz split their two games over the last week, they actually climbed a spot in the Western Conference rankings from 11th place to 10th.

The Jazz are tied with the New Orleans Pelicans in the West, but after winning the season series 3-0, would have the tiebreaker in the playoff rankings.

Both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder sit a half-game ahead of the Jazz in the West and have significantly easier schedules to close the season.

The Jazz’s upcoming four-game home stand against the Boston Celtics, Sacramento Kings, Portland Trail Blazers, and Milwaukee Bucks will go a long way toward determining whether they make the playoffs, or improve their standings in the lottery.

If the regular season were to end today, the Jazz would miss the playoffs and own the 11th pick in the draft, the worst of both worlds.

Veteran Development: A-

Lauri Markkanen had perhaps his most interesting two-game stretch of the season over the last week.

The All-Star shot a miserable 3-22 against the Hornets in a Jazz win but bounced back with a dominant 38-point performance in a loss in Miami where he proved even the best defenses in the world have no answer for him.

It was the type of bounce-back performance from Markkanen that showed he’s taken the next step in his development from a budding young player to an unflappable scorer.

With Jordan Clarkson and Collin Sexton each missing the last two weeks Talen Horton-Tucker continued to get a larger role in the starting lineup and had mixed results.

The 22-year-old had arguably the best game of his career scoring 38 points, handing out 10 assists, and grabbing eight rebounds against Charlotte, before a difficult nine point, eight assist, six rebounding outing in Miami.

Horton-Tucker’s prolific statistical outings remain intriguing, even if he likely can’t be the starting point guard on a top playoff team.

It will be worth tracking if his recent success changes how the Jazz approach Clarkson’s free agency this summer.

Fun Factor: B+

Even with Markkanen’s rough night in Charlotte, the game was easy to watch thanks to the play from Horton-Tucker and Kessler.

In Miami, it was Markkanen, Agbaji, and Fontecchio who stole the show as the game came down the wire.

The Jazz have the most difficult schedule remaining in the NBA which should provide plenty of intriguing games over the final three weeks of the season.

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

  • 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.

17 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.

2 days 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.

2 days 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. 

2 days 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.

6 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.

7 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 Climb In Standings Despite Quiet Week