Despite an impressively deep roster that includes 2020 All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz roster still needs a player who can defend scoring guards, per Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer. Nets point guard Kyrie Irving exploited this weakness when he scored 29 points in 29 minutes against the Jazz in a lopsided 130-96 Brooklyn victory on Tuesday night.
Current go-to Jazz wing defender Royce O’Neale is solid, but Tjarks contends that O’Neale lacks the athleticism necessary to contend with high-level guards like Irving. New addition Shaquille Harrison is another defensive perimeter option.
There’s more out of the Northwest Division:
- Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders is excited for the development of No. 1 draft pick Anthony Edwards out of Georgia, whose understated production (5 points, 4 assists) in a 123-116 Sunday loss to the Nuggets masked his game-reading improvement. “Even if it wasn’t your highest-scoring game, that was your best game as an NBA player because of the way he was reading defenses, the things that we’ve been trying to fast track for him over the last month,” Saunders said of the rookie swingman, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune.
- New Jazz owner Ryan Smith spoke with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on his podcast the Woj Pod, and indicated that he has some ideas for how he would like to help Utah build on its recent playoff appearances (h/t to Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune via Twitter). “Not a lot’s been broken,” Smith said. “But I would just say I think we’re gonna have to get a little more aggressive as we think about how to take this to the next level.”
- Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. will be clearing the league’s health and safety protocols-necessitated quarantine tonight and should be available for Denver tomorrow against the Mavericks, per Mike Singer of the Denver Post.