Rookies Help Jazz Down Clippers To Open Preseason

Oct 8, 2023, 10:05 PM | Updated: Oct 9, 2023, 4:58 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Two Utah Jazz rookies played key roles in the second half of the team’s 101-96 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers to open the preseason.

Keyonte George scored 10 points and dished out five assists while Taylor Hendricks added three points and four rebounds.

Kris Dunn led all Jazz scorers with 15 points on a perfect 7-7 shooting.

Jazz Rookies Show Flashes, Growing Pains In Debut

While George scored 10 points in his Jazz debut, it wasn’t all roses for the rookie.

The Baylor product’s first quarter was particularly rocky after he got beaten on two back door cuts, had a three-point shot blocked, and committed a double-dribble in just four minutes on the floor.

However, the guard settled as the game progressed, utilizing his speed and vision to earn easy points at the free-throw line, even though never quite found his shot.

George is a blur with the ball in his hands, easily beating defenders off the dribble and in transition, which helped him earn six trips to the free-throw line where he knocked down five freebies.

The 16th overall pick shot just 2-9 from the floor, but showed enough flashes to lend confidence to his skillset as the preseason continues.

Hendricks didn’t see the floor until the fourth quarter, but he played the final 12 minutes of the game and made his impact known.

Soon after taking the court, the ninth overall pick hit an impressive dribble-stepback three which found nothing but the bottom of the net.

The Central Florida product showed a willingness to put the ball on the floor in an effort to attack the rim, though he tripped on his only real drive to the hoop.

The forward added four rebounds in the final period including an important offensive board late in the game off a missed Luka Samanic free-throw.

This was Hendricks’ first minutes with the Jazz after missing the entire summer league with a hamstring injury.

Brice Sensabaugh, who was selected with the 28th overall pick in June did not see the floor in the Jazz opener.

After having knee surgery earlier this year, the wing was cleared to practice with the Jazz during training camp but didn’t play against the Clippers.

Collins Has Two Highlights In Debut

In addition to the rookies, John Collins debut was the top storyline for many entering the Jazz preseason.

The forward had a mostly quiet outing scoring five points and grabbing four rebounds in 18 minutes, though his two made baskets were both highlight reel plays.

First, Collins confidently stepped in a three-point shot, an area of struggle last season, and knocked it down midway through the second quarter.

Then, to open the third, the forward showed off his upper-echelon leaping ability finishing a one-handed alley-oop pass on a lob from Collin Sexton.

Collins mostly saw the floor with both Lauri Markkanen and Walker Kessler in his Jazz debut, though coach Will Hardy did mix and match his deep frontcourt throughout the first half.

The forward spent most of his time on offense spacing the floor out to the three-point line, and managed to record only one field goal attempt in his first 10 minutes of the game.

Collins ever-decreasing role in Atlanta was a cause of some frustration for the forward, so not seeing more deliberate inclusion early on for the Jazz was a touch surprising.

The Jazz aren’t a heavy pick-and-roll team, but Collins ability to finish at the rim would make him a dangerous screener for any one of the team’s offensive creators.

For now, Collins role in the Jazz offensive remains a work in progress.

Jazz+ Off To Promising Start

While many were focused on what the team looked like on the floor, Jazz fans had to be satisfied with how easy it was to watch Sunday’s game either on TV or streaming.

The over-the-air broadcast on KJZZ-TV was a barebones production with no standard pre-, half, or postgame show, but there was no drop in quality from last year’s AT&T SportsNet broadcasts.

Similarly, the team’s streaming service, Jazz+, also functioned as designed.

Related: Jazz Launch Jazz+ Streaming Service

Outside of some static on the audio feed on both the over-the-air broadcast on stream, Jazz+ delivered exactly as advertised.

For a first-of-its-kind stream for the organization, having no major delays, website crashes, or log-in issues, Jazz+ felt like a major success.

The stream does have a standard 20 to 30-second delay from the TV broadcast, which was also the case last season for those using FUBO TV, but the rewind and fast-forward functions worked well on a smart device.

The Jazz+ app on streaming devices like Apple TV, Roku, and Fire Stick has not been released, but the team said it will be functioning by the opening night of the regular season.

The Jazz will face the Los Angeles Clippers again on Tuesday at 8 pm MST in Seattle. The game will be televised on KJZZ, streamed on Jazz+, and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone.

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, and 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.

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Rookies Help Jazz Down Clippers To Open Preseason