Northwest Notes: George, Jokic, Gobert, Warren

The Jazz have fallen out of the play-in race and are headed for another lottery finish, but rookie guard Keyonte George continues to impress. He scored at least 25 points for a third straight game in Friday’s win over Atlanta, earning high praise for head coach Will Hardy, according to Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune.

“Keyonte (has) the opportunity to become a real star in this league,” Hardy said. “… There’s a lot of pressure when you’re the No. 1 guy. Like, you’re driving to the gym and you’re thinking, ‘If I don’t play well, we won’t win.’ Role players don’t always necessarily have that burden in their brain before a game and so these opportunities for Keyonte to be the quote-unquote No. 1 guy for us are imperative for his development.”

George was one of three players drafted by the Jazz in the first round last June, but he’s the only one of the three to have earned a significant role as a rookie.

While fellow first-rounders Taylor Hendricks and Brice Sensabaugh have played a combined 624 minutes, George has logged more than 1,500 across 59 games. The first-year guard has averaged 12.7 points, 4.5 assists, and 2.8 rebounds in 25.9 minutes per night, with a shooting line of .403/.359/.828.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Nikola Jokic played in his 65th game of the season on Friday night, ensuring that the Nuggets star will be eligible for end-of-season awards, including Most Valuable Player, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Jokic is currently the betting favorite to win this season’s MVP award, which would be his third.
  • Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert underwent X-rays after sustaining a rib injury in Tuesday’s game, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who says those X-rays came back negative. Gobert is listed as questionable for Saturday’s game in Utah due to what the team is calling a left rib sprain, so it doesn’t appear it’s a significant injury for the Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner.
  • With Karl-Anthony Towns sidelined, T.J. Warren got the opportunity to play real rotation minutes in his NBA comeback with the Timberwolves, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Warren’s 10-day contract expired last night, so Minnesota will have to decide whether or not to sign him to a second one.
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