Jazz Rookies Struggle In Loss To Rockets

Mar 29, 2024, 11:02 PM | Updated: Apr 1, 2024, 1:26 pm

SALT LAKE CITY –Β John Collins scored a season-high 30 points on 10-14 shooting, but the Utah Jazz fell to the Houston Rockets 101-100.

Collin Sexton added 29 points, six rebounds, and five assists in a losing effort.

With the loss, the Jazz have now dropped eight straight games.

Related: Recapping The Jazz’s Loss To The Rockets

What Can Jazz Learn From Rockets Jalen Green?

One of the key catalysts for the Rockets’ current 11-game winning streak is the play of third-year guard Jalen Green.

The second-overall pick from the 2021 NBA Draft had largely been labeled a bust through most of his three-year career, but has shown remarkable growth over his last 15 games.

Entering Friday’s contest, Green was averaging 28.9 points and 6.0 rebounds while shooting 49 percent from the floor and 43 percent from three over his last 14 games.

Against the Jazz, he recorded 34 points, nine rebounds, and six assists in the Rockets win.

With three 20-year-old rookies on this year’s roster, what can the Jazz learn from the Green?

“Five years ago, eight years ago, ten years ago, the ‘one and done’s’ were the people that everybody thought were sure things,” Hardy said. “There’s so many guys coming into the league now after one year of college and we can’t take that for granted.”

Taylor Hendricks, Keyonte George, and Brice Sensabaugh have each shown signs of promise during their rookie seasons with the Jazz, but have all made their fair share of mistakes, including a particularly difficult night against the Rockets by George and Sensabaugh.

George finished with six points and six assists, but shot just 3-12 from the floor and committed six turnovers.

Sensabaugh recorded four rebounds and four assists, but shot 0-8 from the floor including seven misses from the three-point line.

While many have focused on the development of the rookies’ skills during their first NBA season, Hardy added that physical maturity is an equally important part of the process.

“The difference in strength and athleticism sometimes between 19 and 22 can be pretty big,” the Jazz coach acknowledged. “Jalen is a great example of [how] you don’t want to judge players too early.”

Despite some inconsistent play from the Jazz rookies in recent weeks, Hardy remains confident in their development.

“Jalen is a good reminder for all of us that how people play at 19 and 20 isn’t necessarily going to be the end of their story. We are all seeking for our young players to be showing signs and trends that they’re heading in the right direction, which at this point, I think they are.”

Utah Jazz Standings Watch

With the Jazz’s loss, teamed with the Brooklyn Nets victory over the Chicago Bulls, the two teams have pulled even in the standings at 29-45,Β tied for the eighth-worst record in the NBA,

The tie could have enormous consequences for the Jazz in the draft lottery.

Related: What Happens If Jazz Win The Draft Lottery?

The team that finishes with the ninth-worst record in the NBA owns a 20.2 percent chance of selecting fourth or higher.

The team that finishes eighth has a 26.2 percent chance of moving into the top four picks.

If the two teams were to finish with identical records at season’s end, they would split the odds of moving into the top four picks, with a coin toss deciding who would select eighth, and who would pick ninth if neither moved up via the lottery.

Utah Jazz Next Game

The Jazz will face the Sacramento Kings on the road on Sunday at 7 pm MST. The game will be televised on KJZZ, streamed on Jazz+, and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone.

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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 onΒ 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter atΒ @BensHoopsΒ or on InstagramΒ @BensHoops.

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Jazz Rookies Struggle In Loss To Rockets