Gobert, “ Statement ” jerseys and Bogdanovic win mid-season jazz awards
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz sit well midway through the NBA season as one of the top four teams in the Western Conference, a feat accomplished without much offseason acquisition Mike Conley missed 19 games with injury.
KSL Unrivaled has decided to hand out material for the first half of the season with a variety of awards for this Utah Jazz season – which is set to be one of its best ever. Some will be very obvious, maybe a few are controversial and there will be some wacky rewards.
Defensive player – Rudy Gobert
Rudy Gobert is an obvious choice as a top defender as he’s spending another amazing year protecting the rim and patrolling the paint down.
Its numbers so far are on par with last year with blocks down slightly from 2.3 to 1.9 and thefts are a dead end, but its rebound is up from 12.9 to 14.5 per game with his defensive total up two targets per game.
Alex Kirry of KSL Sports knew that Gobert was the clear choice for this mid-season award.
âNo doubt about it. This guy changes everyone’s shots across the league and everyone changes the game for him when he comes in and out, âKirry said. “It’s a bad deal for Jazz when he’s not in the game.”
Team MVP – Donovan Mitchell
Another clear choice with Donovan Mitchell as he’s been rock the whole year and led Jazz to one of the best teams in the Western Conference. He’s averaged a career-high in points, rebounds, assists and shooting percentage.
âHe’s averaging almost 25 points per game, this guy is an All-Star, he has to be,â Kirry said. “We had to wait for Donovan Mitchell to turn it on [in past seasons]. He’s been there from day one and has been as consistent as anyone. “
Scott Mitchell of KSL Sports argued that there was something to be said for playing all year as a young player and going abroad to see different defenses, play with different teams, and even fail this summer with Team USA. This could all be another reason Mitchell raised his game.
âDon’t you feel like his game has really risen,â Mitchell said. âI wonder if that has anything to do with him playing at the FIBA ââWorld Championships and I wonder what impact it has had on him this year.
Newcomer of the year – Bojan Bogdanovic
With Mike Conley being injured for a good part of the year, Bojan Bogdanovic kindly stepped in to be the best new player on this team. He hits three-point shots at a high rate of 41% and so far he’s averaging 21.1 points per game, his career record.
Most thought Bogdanovic would come in and add a three-point shot and score around 12 to 15 points per game as he was paired with Mitchell and Conley. There have been games where he took over and was the star of Jazz.
No one expected Bogdanovic to score more than 20 per game, but with Conley out of the roster, and even when he’s in training, Bogdanovic is scoring points and is this team’s second-highest scorer.
âI fell in love with the guy from day one,â Mitchell said. âWhat I really enjoyed was that he really understood how passionate Utah Jazz fans are. It really got his juices flowing and he looks like a guy who says, ‘I love to play basketball, I love to play hard basketball and I really love to play basketball for Utah Jazz.’ “
Overachiever – Georges niang
This choice came as a surprise to Mitchell and Kirry, but they went with Niang for how he surprised the duo – neither had any real expectations for him at the start of the year.
âI will say he’s been better than I’ve seen him in his career,â Kirry said. âI used to be really annoyed when he came into the game. Now he drops three when he comes into the game.â
Underachiever – Mike Conley
This one is also evident and in large part has to do with the injuries Conley has suffered this year and has seen him spend almost half the year so far. That said, when he was in good health, Conley was inconsistent in scoring basketball with nine of his 24 games played, which saw him scoring in single digits.
âYou can’t be too cranky about someone getting hurt because it’s part of the game,â Kirry said. âMike Conley is way below his career average scoring with just 13.5 points per game, and it’s after a really, really appalling start. He’s progressing in rehab and I wonder what his comeback looks like. .
As the preseason approached, the hype was huge for Conley to be paired with this jazz team. Things didn’t go as planned in the first half of the year, but maybe sentiment heading into the second half won’t be what it was in July.
âEveryone was excited. This guy has been stable, consistent and doesn’t have to be the superstar of this team, âsaid Mitchell. “He’s a guy who will stir the drink and put everyone in the right place, but he looks lost.”
Worst jersey award – âStatementâ yellow jerseys
It has to go to the yellow “Statement” jersey which saw the Jazz go just 2-6 in these uniforms. They look good but the record is less than desirable and of all other jersey combinations the Jazz have seven total losses. Are they sorry? Probably not and it’s just a coincidence that the Jazz have almost as many losses in these yellow jerseys as the others.
âGet rid of these things,â Kirry said. “They schedule them, so why can’t they adjust the schedule because they’re not doing well and they’ll have three or four over the next few weeks.”
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