Baylor coach Scott Drew tells Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune (subscription required) that Jazz rookie Keyonte George can become an effective point guard in the NBA. George is viewed as a natural scorer, but Drew said he showed during his lone college season that he has potential as a distributor as well.
“With us, right away we learned he likes to share the basketball with his teammates, he gets excited and cheers them on when they do well, but he’s more than capable to make the right reads and right plays, and he can see stuff that we had no idea he could,” Drew said. “So that was a surprise to us, just how good he was at handling the ball and playing the point. It’s not something he’s done a lot because he’s such an efficient scorer off the ball; most people put him off the ball and when he got it, they just wanted him to get buckets. But with us, he was able to do both.”
Point guard appears to be the easiest path to playing time for the No. 16 overall pick. There’s not a definitive favorite to win the starting job heading into camp as Collin Sexton, Kris Dunn, Talen Horton-Tucker and Jordan Clarkson are all expected to see time at the position.
There’s more from the Northwest Division:
- Duop Reath traveled around the world before landing an NBA opportunity with the Trail Blazers, notes Ayush G of The Pick and Roll. The 27-year-old center played in Serbia, Lebanon, China and Australia before impressing Portland in this year’s Summer League. Reath, who started for Australia in the World Cup, is expected to sign a one-year contract with the Blazers before the start of training camp.
- Nuggets guard Jamal Murray may be the best player not affected by the NBA’s new player participation policy, per Bennett Durando of The Denver Post. The policy applies to “stars,” who are defined as players who have been All-Stars or voted to an All-NBA team over the past three seasons. Largely because of the torn ACL he suffered in 2021, Murray doesn’t meet those criteria, leaving the defending champs with Nikola Jokic as their only player affected by the PPP. Durando observes that earning All-NBA honors this season will qualify Murray to sign a super-max extension next summer.
- Nuggets assistant Ognjen Stojakovic said being involved with Serbia’s coaching staff at the World Cup was the highlight of his career, Durando adds in a separate story. “It was a childhood dream to be part of the national team with Serbia,” Stojakovic said. “Basketball is a religion. When I started to coach, I was thinking about that (goal).”