Jamal Murray‘s ex-teammate believes he’ll be in top form during the postseason, Michael Grange of Sportnet writes.
Will Barton, who recently signed with the Raptors, says the regular season is just a “tune up” for the Nuggets guard, who didn’t play last season due to a knee injury.
“I know he’s anxious to get back to the playoffs,” Barton said. “The regular season is just a tune up for him to get his confidence back, and I know once he gets to the playoffs he’ll make that leap. He’s so competitive – that’s what I love about him, he competes at such a high level, and he loves the bright lights. That’s one guy they won’t have to worry about, because he’s going to perform.”
We have more from the Northwest Division:
- Having former Jazz teammate Mike Conley on his side again has helped Rudy Gobert settle into a groove with the Timberwolves, coach Chris Finch told Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Twitter link). Gobert is averaging 17.7 points over the last six games. “I think you see it. The chemistry is obvious,” Finch said. “We could’ve played another 40 games (without Conley) and just begin to develop that. … I think Rudy has got a pep in his step.”
- Walker Kessler still faces an uphill climb for the Rookie of the Year award despite being named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month, Sarah Todd of the Deseret News notes. The Jazz rookie averaged 10.6 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.2 blocks in February but the Magic’s Paolo Banchero remains the top candidate for the yearly award.
- Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons missed his third consecutive game during the team’s six-game road trip on Monday due to an right ankle sprain, the team’s PR department tweets.
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6 thoughts on “Northwest Notes: Murray, Barton, Conley, Gobert, Kessler, Simons”
Obviously Banchero is the odds on favourite to win ROY, but if I had a vote, I may have to go Kessler.
I mean, the guy may lead the league in blocks, and has had a better season overall than the guy he replaced. The fact that the Jazz are still in the Play In conversation has to be at least partly attributed to him. Banchero is a heck of a player and will almost assuredly be the better pro overall, but for year one, he may not be the right choice.
Believe it or not, both of their teams are still alive in the play-in race. The Jazz are in better shape but the Magic are not dead yet. Paolo and Goga could help them get there.
I have some bad news. The Magic are not in the race. The Jazz are closer to 5th place in the West than the Magic are to 10th place in the East.
Could the Magic turn into a great team overnight and go on a run? Only in your Disney dreams. They will struggle to win half their remaining games and the teams in front will not oblige by playing worse than the Magic.
Banchero didn’t have a vet in front of him. So he started hot and then struggled. He obviously hit the rookie wall.
Kessler had 2 vets ahead of him (4 if you consider Lauri and Olynyk both fives). He outplayed them all to the point where the Jazz traded the main guy ahead of him, Vando. It also made them comfortable playing Olynyk and Lauri at the 4 and 3.
He’s only gotten better and has had very few bad games. In fact, he’s been one of the most consistent players on the Jazz’s roster ever since he got enough minutes. He’s never looked back.
He’s even added a 3-point shot and some really nice post moves already. How many rookies add things to their games? That doesn’t usually happen until year two onward.
Just imagine a whole Summer of working with trainers on those things. Very excited for him and the Jazz’s future!
All rookie first team
Paolo Mathurin Ivey Williams Kessler
Branham Sharpe Eason Murray Duren
Conley showing just how much a good point guard can do for an offence that has stalled regularly over the past 3 seasons…