In our first look at the 2020-2021 roster, the Utah Jazz defeated the new-look Phoenix Suns 119-105. Although both teams had somewhat depleted rosters due to injuries, rest, and NBA COVID protocols, there were still many significant takeaways from this game.
In the first half, both teams played a regular rotation, despite missing starters on both sides. For the Jazz, Donovan Mitchell looked in control, making driving layups, hitting deep threes, and looking to set up his teammates. Donovan ended up with 12 points and 4 assists on only 8 shots in 17 minutes. Rudy Gobert played with his standard dominance on the defensive end, and Bojan Bogdanovic looked healthy and strong coming off his recent surgery.
The first subs off the bench for Quin Snyder were 6th man Jordan Clarkson, and newly re-acquired Jazzman Derrick Favors. In his first offensive set back in a Jazz uniform, Derrick paired up with his partner in crime, Joe Ingles, for a nice pick and roll layup, and Jazz fans everywhere cried tears of joy.
Jordan Clarkson did what Jordan Clarkson does. He put up shots. And he was burning the nets tonight, finishing the game with 19 points and 5 three pointers. Miye Oni impressed with his defense tonight. Although his shot wasn’t falling, he took upon himself the tough defensive assignment of checking Devin Booker, and made life tough for him. Oni finished the game with a team high +16.
In the second half, Quin rested his starters, and we got to see our bench play extended minutes. Lot’s of guys impressed, including Juwan Morgan who had 11 points, 7 rebounds, and shot 3 of 4 from the three point line. Nigel Williams-Goss was a pleasant surprise off the bench tonight. He finished with 15 points on only 4 shot attempts! His shot looked smooth, and he got to the line frequently with his aggressive play.
Our two rookies, Udoka Azubuike and Elijah Hughes, both showed fans why the Jazz believe in them. In Dok’s first play for the Jazz, he got way up to block a floater. He put up a nice stat line of 6 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 13 minutes. Elijah Hughes showed off a polished offensive game with 9 points scored in a variety of ways, and a few nice passes as well.
In a game where 15 players saw the court, and nobody played more than 25 minutes, the production was very evenly spread among the Jazz roster. That said, the game ball has to go to the Flamethrower, Jordan Clarkson. JC lit it up tonight, hitting shots from all over the court. He led the team in scoring, with 19 points, and did it efficiently, hitting 5 of 10 from three. Opposing benches will have a hard time guarding Jordan Clarkson this season.
There were a lot of positive things to take away from this game. The Jazz ran more and rained threes all night. This team will put up a lot of points this year, and it will be a lot of fun for Jazz fans to watch.