Nekias Duncan of Basketball News unpacks Utah’s reported interest in Hawks big man John Collins. Duncan acknowledges that a trade seems unlikely, but believes Collins’ screen-and-roll game would work well in the Jazz‘s offensive system.
While Collins is an upgrade over Kelly Olynyk defensively, Duncan doesn’t view him as a difference-maker on that end, so he probably wouldn’t help improve the team’s defense, which currently ranks 21st in the NBA. Ultimately, Duncan thinks Olynyk would be the primary piece heading back to Atlanta if a deal is completed.
Here’s more from the Northwest:
- The Jazz‘s players are enjoying being one of the NBA’s biggest overachievers so far this season, writes Tania Ganguli of The New York Times. “Every game people are surprised that we win,” Lauri Markkanen said. “We got a great coaching staff, we got great players on this team, so we can beat anybody when we play our best basketball. We try and have that underdog mentality going into games. People really are not expecting a lot from us. Use that to fuel us — not that you really need that; we obviously go out there and compete every night. Just if we ever need some extra motivation, I guess.” After dropping two straight games, the Jazz currently sit with a 12-8 record, the No. 4 seed in the West.
- External expectations for the Thunder were low entering 2022/23, particularly after No. 2 overall pick Chet Holmgren was ruled out for the season with a foot injury over the summer. However, ESPN’s Bobby Marks says Oklahoma City appears to be “on the right path” with the league’s youngest roster, which is led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is averaging 31.1 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 6.3 APG and 1.8 SPG on .519/.380/.917 shooting through 17 games (36.1 MPG). The Thunder are only 7-11, but they’ve been competitive and the players seem to trust each other, Marks notes.
- The new-look Timberwolves had their best performance of the season Wednesday at Indiana, defeating a Pacers team that had won five consecutive games heading into the contest, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. “Very, very pleasing,” head coach Chris Finch said. “Hopefully it’s one more step, many more to go, but one more step in the right direction.” The Wolves have now won five straight and hold a 10-8 record.