Keyonte George now has two starts for the Utah Jazz and he’s been impressive with his ability to pass the ball. In his first two starts, George is averaging 7 points, 10 assists, and 2.5 rebounds in 30.5 minutes played. The shooting percentages haven’t been eye-popping but the passing certainly has. The other impressive thing is that George has done this with just 1.5 turnovers, for a rookie to be controlling things like this is special. The question is, how special was it compared to other elite point guards' first two starts in the NBA? Let’s take a look.
Mike Conley is the player that some Jazz fans have lamented sending to the Wolves. Whether Utah should have sent him to Minnesota is a debate for another day. Here’s what Mike Conley did in his first two starts with the Memphis Grizzlies when he was picked 4th overall.
Conley didn’t start until game 31, but in those first two starts, he averaged: 8.5 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds on 1.5 turnovers per game. He shot 43% from the field and 20% from three. Other starters were: Pao Gasol, Rudy Gay, Darko Milicic, and Mike Miller.
Just like Keyonte George, Deron Williams got the start on game 9 and it was a good one. Williams averaged 16.5 points, 3.5 assists, and 3.5 rebounds with 5 turnovers per game.
Other starters were: Mehmet Okur, Andre Owens, Devin Brown, Greg Ostertag.
You can also start to see a trend that the assist numbers for George is starting to stand out, as well as the low turnover rate. Let’s see how he fairs as we keep going.
Known by many as the point god, Chris Paul got to start right away for the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets and he was fantastic earning rookie of the year.
Here’s what the stats from his first two starts looked like: 13 points, 3.5 assists, 6.5 rebounds, and 4 turnovers.
Other starters: P.J. Brown, J.R. Smith, David West, Boštjan Nachbar.
Hailiburton had to come off the bench and came in randomly to begin, so his first two starts are spread from game 8 and game 23 of his rookie year. You could tell he was special right away in those starts. In those two games, he averaged 13 points, 7.5 assists, 2 rebounds, and 3.5 turnovers.
This is an exciting one because you can see that Haliburton also avoided turning the ball over. There’s little doubt that George will start scoring more, but it’s neat to see he’s stacking up pretty well.
Other starters in that first game: Harrison Barners, Buddy Hield, De’Aaron Fox, and Marvin Bagley III.
Trae Young has put up big numbers basically from game 1, in his first two starts, he put up some big numbers that got the NBA buzzing about what he would become. In those two games, he averaged 17 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds with 3.5 turnovers. If there’s one thing Young isn’t afraid of, it’s shooting the ball. He shot 37.5% from the field in those games.
Other Starters: Taurean Prince, Kent Bazemore, Vince Carter, Alex Len.
Whether you think LaMelo is a star or not, he’s put up big numbers in his short time in the NBA. His first start surprisingly didn’t happen till game 21, the numbers are really good for his first two games: 18 points, 5 assists, 6 rebounds, and 4.5 turnovers.
Melo has seemingly had the free reign of the offense for Charlotte ever since he got the start, and it’s been interesting to see how he’s evolved.
Other starters: Gordon Hayward, Devonte’ Graham, Cody Zellar, PJ Washington.
Garland has been an elite-level point guard in this league, and, before Donovan Mitchell came to the Cavs, he was an all-star. I didn’t realize but Garland started from game 1 for the Cavs, never coming off the bench.
Here’s how he looked in his first two starts: 10 points, 4.5 assists, 1.5 rebounds, and 3.5 turnovers.
Other starters: Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Collin Sexton, Cedi Osman.
It’s way too early to make too many conclusions, but you can’t argue that George has proven to be a special passer already, on the same level as multiple all-star players. If he keeps this up, the Jazz have found a special point guard.