Defensive-oriented Jazz rookie swingman Juwan Morgan, who went undrafted in 2019 out of Indiana University, has already developed into a playoff starter for the West’s No. 6 seed. Tony Jones of The Athletic details Morgan’s journey.
After starting point guard Mike Conley left the NBA’s Orlando restart campus to attend the birth of his child, coach Quin Snyder elected to move All-Star Jazz shooting guard Donovan Mitchell to the point to make room for Morgan as the team’s starting power forward in their quarterfinals matchup with the Nuggets, currently knotted at 1-1.
“My main focus was the same thing any time I step on the floor,” Morgan said of his playoff debut as a starter. “I wanted to hustle hard, play defense, get offensive boards and block out. I wanted to do all the little things and then make life easier for all of the other guys.” Conley has since returned to Disney World and is probable to rejoin his Jazz teammates for tomorrow’s third game in the series.
There’s more out of the Northwest:
- Veteran Nuggets power forward Paul Millsap needs to be relegated to the bench in favor of the more athletic Jerami Grant, Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post opines. Millsap is currently the team’s highest paid player earning $30.5MM this season on an expiring deal, but Kiszla sees the 35-year-old former All-Star as a liability to the team’s success in third-seeded Denver’s playoff quarterfinals series against the Jazz.
- The outcome of the series between the Nuggets and the Jazz may be determined by which team can out-rebound the other, per Sarah Todd of the Deseret News. Because Nuggets All-Star center Nikola Jokic represents a threat to initiate his team’s offense or shoot from outside the paint, he draws his All-Star counterpart Rudy Gobert away from the basket, which leaves his Jazz teammates vulnerable to taller Nuggets players in the battle of the boards. “It’s really a point of emphasis for our team,” Gobert said. “Especially with the way [the Nuggets] crash the boards and the way my guys have been fighting. I need to go back out there and make sure I get those long rebounds.”
- In case you missed it: The Timberwolves, who entered the NBA draft lottery with a 14% chance of moving up to take the top pick, will now draft first during the 2020 draft, as we detailed earlier tonight. Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, and Obi Toppin are among the most-coveted players ahead of this year’s draft. The Wolves last had the No. 1 draft pick in 2015, when the team selected future All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns.