Probably the biggest question from this game was are the Jazz getting better or are the Charlotte Hornets terrible? It’s a little more likely that the Hornets are terrible. For the season the Jazz have the 25th defense in the league. With that in mind, the Charlotte Hornets shot 12.5% from three with just 16 attempts (2/16). They also shot just 44% from the field overall. In their defense, the Hornets were without LaMelo Ball but there’s truly not a lot to be optimistic about with this Hornets team. What exactly are they good at? The Jazz’s defense is 25th but the Hornets sit at 27. The Jazz on the other hand have the 4th best offense in the league, the Hornets are 29th. They’re truly dreadful in every way.
For the Jazz, they took care of business like they should against one of the worst teams in the league. Lauri Markkanen had another solid night with 25 points and 11 rebounds. His consistency night to night is getting to a level of stardom no one saw coming.
Markkanen’s future counterpart, Walker Kessler, also had a solid night. For the game he ends it shooting 5/6 from the field with 9 rebounds. Surprisingly, no blocks tonight for Walker Kessler. This is only the third time all season in a game he started he ends with no blocks.
Jordan Clarkson also poured in 18 points on an efficient 50% shooting from the field. It’s getting hard to ignore how big of a contract he might be getting this offseason if he hits the open market in free agency.
Two other small trends were pretty exciting from this game. First, we’re seeing the development of Ochai Agbaji happening game after game. Each night we see him put together more and more impactful minutes. Tonight Agbaji scored 8 points on 3/7 shooting from the field and 2/5 from three. He also grabbed 4 rebounds and threw out two assists. You can see his confidence growing each game and it will be fun to see just how good he can become. It should be noted that Agabaji had a scary fall during the game after going for an alley-oop and landed hard on his wrist. He did return to the game later so it looks like he’ll be fine.
The other trend that’s nice to see is Malik Beasley’s improved shooting. Beasley has been in a bit of a slump for the last 2-3 weeks but it’s now 3 games in a row he’s shot 40% or better from three. It won’t be long till that 3-pt% gets back to the 40+% range.