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The return of Stockton and Malone

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The pressure of playing in front of the statues may have been too much for the Jazz

Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz had a tough loss against the tanking Atlanta Hawks last night. But there was one bright spot, John Stockton and Karl Malone returned to Salt Lake City to take in the game.

It was great to see the statues at the game again. They were there to support David Stockton get a chance to play. Considering they were playing against a tanking Atlanta Hawks team you would have expected a few minutes for the legend’s son. It feels like we let down our Jazz dads.

We are yet to see David Stockton get a chance to make an assist in a Jazz uniform. Hearing Craig Bolerjack call “Stockton with the assist” can’t come soon enough.

If there was a bright side to the loss against the Hawks, it was that Dante Exum had a +4 in plus minus. It’s been a relatively positive showing from Dante the last three games where he’s showed the same flashes of athleticism and talent like he did pre injury.

In the last three games his minutes have gone from 12:53 to 14:27 to 16 last night. The minutes increase is exciting because it means that Quin may be growing some confidence in the young guard.

Whatever the case may be, the Jazz need positive production from the bench. One of the reasons is Royce O’neale having a recent slump. O’neale may be hitting the rookie wall in his last 12 games where he’s struggled to hit shots.

And that chart doesn’t include last nights game against the Hawks where he was 0/3 from from three.

Royce will be fine, he’s proven his ability to impact the game, and he’s already show an elite ability to defend. But this is a good reminder that he’s still a rookie and things like this happen with 1st year players.

But this also may be a reason for Dante Exum to gain more minutes if it takes a while for O’neale to regain his stroke.

In other news, Donovan Mitchell summited Ensign Peak and is now the king of Salt Lake City. I for one accept our new ruler.

ESPN recently ranked Rudy Gobert as the #7 player in their player rankings.

Over the coming weeks, much will likely be made about Rudy Gobert’s charge into the defensive player of the year conversation. And while that will always be the Stifle Tower’s calling, let’s give some love to Gobert on the other end, as he led the Jazz in scoring last week despite ranking just fourth on his own team in field goal attempts. It marked just the third time in his career -- and first time this season -- that Gobert averaged more than 20 PPG in a single week. He has been vitally important to Utah’s offense during the recent 21-2 surge. The Jazz offense has been 13.3 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor than on the bench, the largest differential of any Jazz player.

Rudy might be the most underrated player in the league so it’s nice to see him get that national attention.

The Jazz continue to push for the all-star game.

What do you think? Will the Jazz get the bid?