The Jazz have surprised everyone, starting out the season with an impressive 3-1 record with wins over playoff teams. They are just a few shots away from a 4-0 record, with last night’s loss on the back-end of a back-to-back in Houston coming up just short. Many thought the Jazz would be tanking this season away, and at least right now, that doesn’t appear to be the case at all. Assuming the Jazz actually continue to try to win games, and do so, it drastically improves their odds of getting an All-Star selection.
Having a player named to the All-Star team is going to particularly awesome this year, since the game is going to be hosted in Salt Lake City for the first time in 30 years. In 1993, John Stockton and Karl Malone hoisted the trophy as co-MVPs on their home floor, which was pretty epic.
Who has the best chance to make the All-Star team this season? Right now the clear favorite on the Jazz would have to be Lauri Markkanen. The Finnisher is off to a career season so far through 4 games, averaging 21.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. He is top 20 in the league in points, rebounds, field goals made, and win shares. He has already put together some pretty nasty performances, with a 24 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists against the Wolves in an overtime win last week, and a 31/12/2/2/1 game in another OT win against the Pelicans the other night.
One of these names is not like the others. pic.twitter.com/94Dro84U9t— Kevin Pelton (@kpelton) October 24, 2022
Lauri has been the Jazz’s best player so far this season. If the Jazz are able to keep up the success that they have shown in these opening games, Lauri has a shot at his first All-Star selection. He’s definitely playing like one right now.
Besides Markkanen, the only player that looks to have a realistic shot at an All-Star selection is the legend Jordan Clarkson. Clarkson’s role has definitely shifted this season, and he has fully embraced it and has been really really good. He’s currently averaging a career high in points, minutes, and nearly doubling his career high for assists per game at 5.3. That has been one of the funnest things to watch this season is Clarkson’s ability to distribute, make plays, and pass the ball. The Jazz have found themselves in close games in each of the last three matchups, and JC has been coming up huge for them in the clutch.
The playmaking of Jordan Clarkson tonight was absolutely marvelous. What a play. pic.twitter.com/JzJaySmgVN— Cam (@Cam_S1990) October 22, 2022
This is as Jordan Clarkson as it gets pic.twitter.com/tBtDt5EogG— Calvin Chappell (@CHALVIN2018) October 24, 2022
Jordan Clarkson scored 23 of his 29 points in the 2nd half/OT of the Jazz's win over the Timberwolves. The Jazz are 2-0!— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 22, 2022
He’s also just making plays everywhere. This hustle play to chase down Zion Williamson of all people and block a dunk attempt that turned out to be a massive play (and injured Williamson, prayers up to the hip, getting feeling better homie) was just amazing.
The Jazz have been playing team basketball so far, which hasn’t resulted in the ultimate green light for Clarkson like many, including myself, thought he would have. Clarkson has the flash that could definitely be a deciding factor in an All-Star selection at the coach level for the reserves. Clarkson hasn’t had a 30-point game yet which is a bit of a surprise, but when he does pop off, the sky is the limit.
After Markkanen and Clarkson, there isn’t really any other player that has any chance at an All-Star selection. Collin Sexton has found himself on the bench a lot so far this season, which is kinda weird. Conley has been playing great, and his role as the veteran with all the young players is definitely going to get him minutes over Sexton. Sexton was a guy that might have had a chance, but just doesn’t seem to be getting the opportunities needed to put up All-Star numbers.
The All-Star game in SLC will be quite the experience, even if the Jazz don’t have any players make it. Having Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert possibly back in town for the All-Star game would be pretty cool. Looking forward to see what Ryan Smith can do, and if he has any impact on making the All Star Jerseys as bright and glaring as possible.