How Do Jazz Youngsters Stack Up Against Fellow Rookies?

Oct 20, 2023, 3:16 PM | Updated: 3:16 pm

Keyonte George #3 of the Utah Jazz in action during the first half of a preseason game...

Keyonte George #3 of the Utah Jazz in action during the first half of a preseason game (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz preseason is over, and we have our first, albeit small sample size for rookies Taylor Hendricks and Keyonte George.

George appears to be in competition for a consistent role in the opening night rotation, while both Hendricks and 28th overall pick Brice Sensabaugh have seen limited minutes in the preseason.

But, beyond how they’ve played with the Jazz, how do the Jazz first-year players compare to other rookies around the NBA so far?

With Sensbaugh having played just one half of preseason basketball, it’s too early to extract anything from his nearly non-existent minutes.

Jazz Rookie Rankings Through Preseason

Though there remains a handful of games on the NBA preseason schedule, the Jazz have wrapped up exhibition play, meaning the numbers for Hendricks, George, and Sensabaugh will remain unchanged.

How do they stack up against other players selected in a similar range in the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft, and against their positional counterparts?

Taylor Hendricks Vs. Other Lottery Picks

Beginning with Hendricks, Jazz owner Ryan Smith acknowledged that Hendricks was the ninth-best player on their board on draft night, and when he was the top name remaining on the board, they pulled the trigger.

Hendricks ranks 54th in minutes per game at 11.9, 68th in points per game at 3.8, and 43rd in rebounds per game at 2.6, while shooting 31 percent from the floor and 25 percent from three.

The other names bigs/wings floated with the Jazz and the ninth pick were Jarace Walker (Indiana Pacers), Bilal Coulibaly (Washington Wizards), and Cam Whitmore (Houston Rockets).

Drafted eighth overall, Walker ranks 10th in minutes per game at 22.9, 13th in points at 10.0, and seventh in rebounds at 5.0, while shooting 33 percent from the floor and 29 percent from three.

Selected with the seventh pick, Coulibaly ranks eighth in minutes per game at 23.2, 21st in points per game at 8.0, and 15th in rebounds at 4.7, all while shooting a very healthy 47 percent from the floor and 43 percent from three.

Picked with the 20th selection, Whitmore ranks 18th in minutes per game at 20.1, fourth in points per game at 13.8, and 20th in rebounds at 4.0, while shooting 37 percent from the floor and 27 percent from three.

On the very early returns, Coulibaly has been the best rookie of this group so far due to his production, impressive two-way game, and efficiency as a scorer.

Whitmore has been the second most productive, but has also been given a healthy sample size to find his game which has strongly resembled his role in college.

After a brilliant 19 point, nine rebound debut, Walker has taken consecutive steps backwards during the preseason, culminating with a four point, two rebound, 2-8 shooting performance against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday.

Hendricks had had the worst averages across the board, but has also had the fewest minutes on the court, and has been asked to play behind Lauri Markkanen, John Collins, Kelly Olynyk, and Ochai Agbaji to begin his career, a hurdle no other player on this list as faced.

Keyonte George Vs. Other Rookie Guards

George, by the admission of several members of the Jazz, was in serious contention for the ninth pick, but slipped to 16h where they were thrilled to see him on the board.

After a stellar performance during the summer leagues, George ranks 11th in minutes played at 22.5, 12th in points per game at 10.4, and seventh in assists per game at 3.6 while shooting 32 percent from the floor and 28 percent from three.

Other rookie guards that were on the Jazz radar in the first round included Anthony Black (Orlando Magic), Jalen Hood-Schifino (Los Angeles Lakers), Cason Wallace (Oklahoma City Thunder), and Kobe Bufkin (Atlanta Hawks).

Black, the sixth overall pick ranks 40th overall in minutes per game at 15.2, 80th in points per game at 2.3, and 60th in assists per game at 0.7, while shooting 27 percent from the floor and zero percent from three.

Selected 17th overall, Hood-Schifino ranks 24th in minutes played at 18.7, 79th in points per game at 2.8, and fifth in assists at 4.0, all while shooting 16 percent from the floor and zero percent from three.

Wallace was the 10th pick by the Dallas Mavericks but was traded to the Thunder on draft night. The point guard ranks 19th in minutes per game at 19.7, 27th in points per game at 7.3, and 15th in assists at 2.0, while shooting a strong 50 percent from the floor and 43 percent from three.

Bufkin was the 15th overall pick and ranks 17th in minutes per game at 20.8, 19th in points per game at 8.3, and 15th in assists at 2.0, while shooting 31 percent from the floor and 19 percent from three.

Despite being the second-to-last player drafted in this group, George has been the most impressive guard of the bunch.

The Jazz rookie tops every category of production except assists per game which belongs to Hood-Schifino, while Wallace has been by far the most efficient of the bunch.

Other First Round Notables

Number one overall pick Victor Wembanyama has lived up to his billing leading all rookies with 19.3 points per game despite playing the 16th most minutes.

Second-overall pick Brandon Miller ranks 19th in points per game at 8.3, while shooting 38 percent from the floor and eight percent from three.

Scoot Henderson is playing the second most minutes, is averaging the fifth most points at 13.5, and has handed out the third most assists at 5.8 per game while shooting 42 percent from the floor and 29 percent from three.

Houston’s Amen Thompson, the fourth overall pick ranks 15th in minutes per game, 14th in points per game at 9.8, eighth in assists and 22nd in rebounds while shooting 38 percent from the floor and 27 percent from three.

His brother Ausar Thompson has averaged the most minutes of any rookie at 30.6, the seventh most points at 12.7, is the leading rebounder at 8.7, and ranks sixth in assists at 3.7 per game, while shooting 37 percent from the floor and a surprising 50 percent from three.

Other notable stats include Golden State Warriors rookie Brandin Podziemski who leads all rookies with 6.0 assists per game, Emoni Bates who has been the most productive second-round pick averaging 12.7 points per game on 52 percent shooting from the floor and 45 percent from three, and Detroit rookie Marcus Sasser who ranks in the top 10 in both points at 11.7 and assists and assists at 5.0.

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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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How Do Jazz Youngsters Stack Up Against Fellow Rookies?