The Utah Jazz will return to action tonight against the Portland Trail Blazers and it’s a good thing too. I was starting to get NBA withdrawals. The All-Star break gave us a few good moments, highlighted by Donovan Mitchell’s dunk contest victory, but it’s time for real basketball again.
Speaking of tonight’s game and the dunk contest. Darrell Griffith will be on hand to officially present Mitchell his trophy in front of the fans at Vivint arena tonight before tip-off.
For fans who want to see and/or get a picture with the dunk contest trophy, it will be on display before the Jazz’s home game tonight from 5:30-6:30. It will be in the “porch” area of the America First Atrium next to portal B.
Dr. Dunkenstein will be on hand for a Q&A session with the Jazz TV and radio crew that will be interactive with fans from 4:45-5:15 this evening.
Things are about to get real in the playoff race. The Jazz have 24 games left and are just two games behind the sixth-seeded Nuggets. The schedules for each of the teams in the back-end of the Western Conference playoff race will play a big role. Here’s a good breakdown.
The @nba is back! And the playoff race in the west is going to be bonkers. Here is your chart to prepare for the chaos. Let's go @utahjazz! #TakeNote cc: @World_Wide_Wob @ZachLowe_NBA @Lockedonsports @snark_tank pic.twitter.com/rcjW4bpREb— me (@kenny_is_me) February 22, 2018
To summarize, the Jazz have the easiest schedule between themselves, the Clippers, Pelicans, Trail Blazers and Nuggets. Utah is the only team of the five whose remaining opponents have an average winning percentage below .500 (.484) and face the most teams that are in the market for tanks (11) according to this breakdown.
Despite everything that has happened this season, the Jazz now have a great opportunity to make the playoffs and prove just how much mettle this team has and how much the NBA will need to fear them going forward.
Donovan Mitchell continues to be in a class of his own. NBA Math released a chart that plotted all the rookies based on offensive and defensive points added/saved. And it’s not very hard to find the Jazz rookie.
Heading into games on February 23, here's how all NBA rookies have fared in TPA throughout the 2017-18 season: pic.twitter.com/YKFPruberg— NBA Math (@NBA_Math) February 23, 2018
While he can certainly stand some defensive improvements (though he’s hardly a slouch on that end), Mitchell is unique among rookies. He is the only rookie to add more than 18 points offensively and he’s added 49.2 according to NBA Math. The closest player to him is Bogdan Bogdanovic.
The NFL combine is quickly approaching and there will be on individual there with a unique connection of Utah Jazz history: Karl Anthony (K.J.) Malone.
Yes, the son of the great Karl Malone is trying to make his own sporting legacy, but in the NFL. Though Karl the younger also feels the pull to join the ranks of America’s finest in law enforcement. You can read all about it and K.J.’s struggle to get out of his father’s shadow and chase his dreams in Chase Goodbread’s article.
It wouldn’t be fitting to bring up Karl and not mention his other half, John Stockton. John and his son, David, were mentioned in an article by 2 for 1 hoops ranking the best father/son duos in NBA history. They came in ninth.
John’s career is well-known while David’s NBA career has been much less eventful than his father’s. He appeared in three NBA games for the Sacramento Kings in 2014-15 playing a grand total of 33 minutes and hasn’t stepped on an NBA court since. David currently plays in the G-League for the Reno Bighorns.
While Karl’s son has chosen to pursue dreams outside of basketball (and to be clear, that’s awesome, all power to him), basketball runs deep in the veins of the Stockton household. Five of John’s six kids have or currently play basketball at a competitive level.
Two of John’s sons aside from David play basketball. Michael (who played at Westminster here in Utah), signed with a German team in 2011 and Samuel is currently playing high school basketball.
John’s two daughters, Laura and Lindsay have also made names for themselves. Laura currently plays for Gonzaga’s women’s team while Lindsay played for Montana Tech and has since graduated.
One of John’s four sons, Houston, deviated from basketball and played football for the University of Montana as a defensive back.