The rebuilding Jazz have enjoyed a surprising 4-1 start to their 2022/23 NBA season, but still seem likely to trade several of their veteran players prior to February’s deadline. That said, Zach Lowe of ESPN suggested in his podcast The Lowe Post that the team is hesitant to offload 2021 Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson, who has thrived thus far this year.
“I’ve heard the same stuff that other people have reported, that they are just super reluctant to move Clarkson,” Lowe said on the podcast (hat tip to RealGM). ”They’re really fond of him for whatever reason. So, I would peg him as the least likely of all these Jazz guys to get traded.”
The 6’4″ combo guard out of Missouri has stepped into a starting role for the Jazz this season, and is playing well for the team under new head coach Will Hardy. Through five games, Clarkson is averaging 18.8 PPG, 5.2 APG, 4.2 RPG and 0.8 BPG. He’s currently posting shooting splits of .452/.429/.769.
There’s more out of Salt Lake City:
- 21-year-old Jazz reserve guard Talen Horton-Tucker had his first stellar turn for Utah in a 14-point, seven-rebound, four-assist, two-steal performance in a 109-101 win over the Rockets Wednesday. Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune wonders if that game could be the catalyst Horton-Tucker needs to start clicking with his new Utah teammates. “[When] opportunity presents itself, I’ll always be ready,” Horton-Tucker said.
- Jazz starting small forward Lauri Markkanen has enjoyed a terrific start to his Utah tenure, to which he in part credits a strong EuroBasket performance this past summer, per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Through five games, the seven-footer is averaging 22.0 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 3.0 APG, 0.8 SPG and 0.6 BPG in 35.2 MPG. “I think having that experience this summer, coming in confident, I think I showed, yes, to you guys, but even to myself, that I can do all that stuff,” Markkanen told Fischer. “I was the guy this summer. And carrying that over [to Utah], we’ve got a lineup where everybody can do a little bit of everything. But mind-set wise, I’m trying to have that same approach.”
- Jazz reserves Rudy Gay and Simone Fontecchio have both been placed in the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link). Both will miss the team’s Friday contest against the Nuggets.