The Utah Jazz are 14-12, and they are not short of storylines to discuss. The SLC Dunk Podcast returns to discuss some current Jazz talking points.
Walker Kessler, the rookie Utah obtained in the Rudy Gobert trade, has been extraordinary in his limited minutes this season. Despite only playing 15.8 minutes per game, Kessler averages 1.7 blocks in each contest, ranking 8th in the entire NBA. His 39 total blocks also rank 8th in the league. Every player ahead of him in both lists is a starter. His production is genuinely remarkable. To put his per-minute output into perspective, Kessler averages 13.2 points, 12 rebounds, and 3.9 blocks per 36 minutes.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to find more minutes for the rookie, as the Jazz are starting three competent big men who can play center. However, Kessler keeps proving his worth, and one has to wonder how long Will Hardy can last before finding more minutes for the young big man.
One of the aforementioned starting bigs, Jarred Vanderbilt, has been a bit of a story himself recently. Vanderbilt was not a three-point shooter before his relocation to Utah. In his 166 games before this season, Vanderbilt had made a total of three three-point shots. Now, through 24 games with the Jazz, he has made 12. In Utah’s last game alone, Vanderbilt was 4-4 from beyond the arc, bringing him to a lofty 46.2% for the season. While 12-26 is still a very small sample size, it’s not nothing. That percentage may drop throughout the season, but we’re seeing a player taking only wide-open corner threes and hitting them with confidence. With each passing game, it looks more and more like a reliable shot for the young forward.
The NBA recently announced that Jordan Clarkson would be fined $15,000 for throwing his headband into the stands during Utah’s last game against Portland. Clarkson was on the receiving end of some widely criticized officiating in that game. It was bad enough that Coach Will Hardy got a technical foul for it and afterward said he should’ve gotten another. Team owner Ryan Smith has publicly stated his plans to cover the fines for Clarkson and Hardy, as he felt, like the rest of the Jazz fans, that they were undeserved punishments. These are the perks of having an owner that’s been a fan of the team his whole life.
I’ll be covering the fine on this one https://t.co/lgW8Nd9JgJ— Ryan Smith (@RyanQualtrics) December 4, 2022