It’s been a very frustrating start to the season for both the Utah Jazz and its fans. Although it hasn’t been all doom and gloom because of Lauri Markkanen and Keyonte George, which is why John Hollinger made mention of him in his latest article.
Make sure you go read the entire thing, because it’s great. Here’s what Hollinger said about George.
I don’t know if George is going to be a significant player this season, but he’s definitely a player you need to know about. Basically, either he becomes significant, or we get 75 more games of Utah’s Sahara-thirsty guards blowing off Lauri Markkanen to hunt bad shots.
While it’s true that Utah’s problems are even more serious on defense, where the Jazz rank 29th entering Wednesday, let’s also remember that A) this squad is built as more of an offensive team, Walker Kessler excepted, and B) I still hate watching this. The Jazz have tried Talen Horton-Tucker, Collin Sexton and Jordan Clarkson on the ball at various points, with similar effect, and … it’s been hard on the eyes. It’s not their fault — they’re not point guards! None of this was an issue last season when Mike Conley was around to orchestrate.
Enter George. The 16th pick in the draft was a breakout star at NBA Summer League but has had an uneven start to his regular season; however, he’s the one Jazz guard who might (key word) have the distribution instincts to push this offense forward. His background was as more of a combo guard, but some of the deliveries he made this summer made you wonder about him moving to an on-ball role. With Utah already laboring to a 2-6 start in the unforgiving Western Conference, his development could be key to whether the Jazz can maintain contact with the playoff hopefuls.
Hollinger couldn’t have described the start to this season better. The line about Sahara-thirsty guards is a classic and describes exactly what we’ve seen. The Jazz are turning the ball over at a historically bad rate and, like Hollinger says, it’s probably because each one of them is a shooting guard. But like Hollinger says, Keyonte George has shown that ability, but also in his short time on the floor you can see it as well.
The two-man lineup of Keyonte George and Lauri Markkanen is getting 51% of their shots from three, Markkanen’s most effective shot. Considering how great a season Markkanen is having, you want to find ways to get him the ball as much as possible and it clearly looks like George is the best option at this point.