JAZZ NOTES

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

May 1, 2024, 2:03 PM | Updated: 3:44 pm

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Utah Jazz guard Collin Sexton (2) reacts to a call by the referee during a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City on Monday, March 18, 2024. (Courtesy of Deseret News)

(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Although Utah didnt find a lot of success in the franchise’s 50th anniversary season, some Jazz players had seasons and highlights that are worth a look back on.

On the Jazz Notes podcast, Ben Anderson and Chandler Holt began the process of highlighting Jazz player’s seasons.

Up first, the best veterans.

Jazz Notes Podcast Player Highlights

The young players ended up being the focus of the season for the Jazz but that didnt stop the vets from leaving their impact.

Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton, and John Collins all stepped up in their own way to lead Utah on and off the court.

John Collins

Season stats: 15.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 53.2 FG%, 37.1 3P%, 68 games played

When the Atlanta Hawks traded Collins to the Jazz for Rudy Gay and a second-round pick, no one really knew what to expect from the seventh-year big man.

It was always an interesting fit in Utah with Collins. But, the Jazz needed talent and Collins showed a lot of upside during his years with the Hawks.

Early in the season, it was a struggle to find the best way to orchestrate the frontcourt. With a lot of minutes to go around between Markkanen, Collins, Kessler, and Kelly Olynyk, the Jazz had to get creative.

Overall, Collins had a pretty solid season. He drastically improved upon his three-point shooting from last season and was a huge reason Utah was a top-5 rebounding team in the association.

“There is something there that you can figure out how to use,” Anderson said. “You didnt get a guy on the downslide of his career. That is not at all what you got with John Collins. Still not a perfect fit but there’s some promise there.”

Collin Sexton

Season stats: 18.7 points, 4.9 assists, 2.6 rebounds, 48.7 FG%, 39.4 3P%, 78 games played

After his first season with the Jazz left a lot to be desired, Sexton stepped up and became Utah’s clear second-best player in 2023-24.

He improved in almost every statistical category excluding field goal percentage. But, when you take 3.5 more shot attempts a game, dropping by less than two percent from the field is impressive.

Sexton went on two different tears this year in December and March. The first came when the Jazz won 15 of 19 games and became a threat for postseason contention. The second came when Utah was dealing with a myriad of injuries late in the season.

“Collin (Sexton) had an awesome year,” Anderson said. “(He)ย had a much better year than I was anticipating and a huge bounce back from last season. Collin Sexton was easily the Jazz’s second-best player.”

In December, Sexton averaged 21.1 points and 4.3 assists on 50.3 percent from the floor. In March, he averaged 22.5 points and 6 assists on 52.6 percent.

Sexton was also an Iron Man for the Jazz, playing in a team-high 78 games. If it weren’t for an illness late in the season, Sexton likely would’ve reached the 82-game mark for the second time in his career.

Lauri Markkanen

Season stats: 23.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 48.0 FG%, 39.9 3P%, 55 games played

Markkanen dealt with numerous injuries during the 2023-24 campaign but that didnt stop him from being an all-star caliber player when he was on the floor.

There was a pretty direct correlation between Markkanen being healthy and the Jazz winning games. When the Finnish big man returned from his injury in December, Utah immediately went on the run that saw them win 15 of 19 games.

Markkanen was on the floor for 22 of the Jazz’s 31 wins last season. He led the team in points, was second in rebounds, and fell just short of 50/40/90 shooting splits.

“Lauri (Markkanen) was a no-question all-star last year and borderline all-NBA,” Anderson said. “(Lauri Markkanen) didnt deserve any of those this year. He dropped two points per game, he dropped in rebounds, and his defense was significantly worse. I don’t think (Markkanen) was as good this season as he was last year.”

Even though he took a step back, Markkanen was still a clear top-50 player in the NBA. Also, considering the injuries and roster turnaround, it makes sense that Markkanen would have a less impressive season.

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The Jazz Notes podcast, hosted by Ben Anderson and Chandler Holt, keeps you up-to-date with Utah Jazz news from on and off the court every week. Check back on Tuesday afternoons for the latest episode!

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Chandler Holt is a co-host for the Jazz Notes podcast and a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerHoltKSL or on Threads @chandlerho1t.

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