UTAH JAZZ

Former Jazz Players Shining In Postseason

Apr 24, 2024, 2:40 PM

Rudy Gobert #27 of the Minnesota Timberwolves dunks the ball against Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoeni...

Rudy Gobert #27 of the Minnesota Timberwolves dunks the ball against Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Several former Utah Jazz players are shining on the NBA’s biggest stage to open the playoffs.

With the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves both 2-0 to open the postseason, a handful of fan favorites from Utah are poised to advance to the second round.

Here’s a look at how these former Jazz players have saved their best basketball for the most important stretch of the season.

Related: Minnesota Fanbase Welcomes Alissa Pili During Playoffs

Timberwolves Crushing Suns

Perhaps the most surprising outcome through the first two games of the playoffs is the dominant fashion in which the Timberwolves have handled the Phoenix Suns.

The Suns are headlined by superstars Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal, but have been outscored by the Timberwolves by an average of 18.5 points in two contests.

Former Jazz center Rudy Gobert has been dominant averaging 16.0 points and 12.5 rebounds while anchoring a defense that has held the Suns below 100 points in both outings.

Related: Which Lottery Pick Fits Best With Jazz?

Gobert has quieted the critics around the country who doubted his ability to perform in the playoffs after several early exits during his time with the Jazz.

Timberwolves guard Mike Conley had a quiet game one but bounced back in game two helping steady Minnesota’s offense in the first half.

The former Jazz All-Star is averaging 11.0 points and 5.5 assists while turning the ball over only three times in two games.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the postseason has been the play of Nickeil Alexander-Walker who made 51 appearances in Utah.

Alexander-Walker has averaged 14.0 points, 3.5 assists, and 3.0 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the floor and over 38 percent from three to open the series.

The guard has also played stellar defense against the Suns talented backcourt.

Minnesota will look to extend its stranglehold on the series to 3-0 when they travel to Phoenix on Friday.

Mitchell Carrying Cavaliers Past Magic

Despite a difficult close to the regular season, Donovan Mitchell and the Cavaliers have found their rhythm in the playoffs against the Orlando Magic.

Like the Timberwolves, the Cavaliers have held Orlando below 100 points in each of their first two games, while Mitchell leads all scorers in the series.

Related: Utah Jazz Fan Playoff Rooting Guide

The former Jazz guard is averaging 26.5 points while adding 5.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 36 minutes per game.

Mitchell battled knee and nasal injuries over the final two months of the NBA schedule, but has regained his star power in the opening round of the postseason.

The Cavaliers will hope to take a 3-0 lead when they travel to Orlando on Thursday.

Tougher Playoffs Ahead For Former Jazz Players

While Jazz fans may be feeling the pinch of their former star players’ postseason success, their playoff runs could soon meet a much more difficult reality.

The Cavaliers are all but certain to face the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the second-round playoffs if they can get past the Magic. Boston won a league-leading 64 games this season and won the regular season series 2-1 against Cleveland.

Sign up for the new Jazz Notes newsletter! Receive game updates, exclusive analysis and chances to win Jazz tickets.

The Timberwolves are likely headed towards a second-round matchup with the defending champion Denver Nuggets.

The Nuggets have taken a 2-0 lead over the Los Angeles Lakers, and dismissed the Wolves in five playoff games last season.

Are you on Threads yet? Let’s connect, give us a follow @kslsports


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

Dalton Knecht #3 of the Tennessee Volunteers...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Draft Prospect: Tennessee F Dalton Knecht

Tennessee forward Dalton Knecht is projected to be selected in the lottery of the 2024 NBA Draft where the Utah Jazz own a top-ten pick.

1 day ago

Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson celebrates an in-season tournament win highlights...

Chandler Holt

Jazz Notes Player Highlights: Utah’s Other Veterans In 2023-24 Season

Although Lauri Markkanen and Collin Sexton stole the show for Utah, some other Jazz veterans played key roles in the 2023-24 season.

1 day ago

Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Cleveland Cavaliers...

Ben Anderson

Donovan Mitchell Denies Frustration With Cavaliers Teammates

It's been a rough 24 hours for Donovan Mitchell and his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates after being eliminated from the playoffs.

2 days ago

Bronny James Utah Jazz 2024 NBA Draft...

Chandler Holt

Utah Jazz Reportedly Have Interest In Working Out, Drafting Bronny James

According to Yahoo Sports, the Utah Jazz have expressed interest in working out Bronny James and selecting him in the 2024 NBA Draft.

2 days ago

Ron Holland #0 of G League Ignite...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Mailbag: Which Wing Fits Jazz Best In Draft?

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

4 days ago

Dalton Knecht #3 of the Tennessee Volunteers...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz 2024 NBA Mock Draft Round-Up: Post Lottery

The NBA Draft is just over six weeks away and with the lottery in the rearview mirror, it's officially mock draft season for the Utah Jazz.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @kslsports...

KSL Give-A-Thon

The KSL Sports Zone, KSL 5 TV, FM100.3, 103.5 The Arrow, and KSL NewsRadio have teamed up to raise money for the kids being served by Primary Children’s Care!

ksl-sports-newsletter...

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!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

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.

Former Jazz Players Shining In Postseason