Forward Lauri Markkanen has looked like a star in the early season, wrote Sarah Todd of the Deseret News. Markkanen arrived in Utah as part of the Donovan Mitchell trade with the Cavaliers.
“I kind of showed myself I can do multiple things on the floor on both ends and it kind of built my confidence back up,” Markkanen said, via Todd. “So, I feel ready to go for the year.”
Markkanen’s teammates have also been impressed, including guard Malik Beasley.
“That dude is so cold. I had no idea,” Beasley said, via Todd. “Every single game he does something else and I tell him, ‘You’re cold as (expletive).’ He’s shooting, getting to the rim, dunking the ball, moving around, he does everything for the team.”
- Another key part of the Mitchell trade, guard Collin Sexton, is coming off the bench and averaging 13.0 points through the first four games. The Jazz are working Sexton back slowly as he recovers from knee surgery that cost him all but 11 games last season with Cleveland.
- Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News wondered if it’s possible that the Jazz, Cavaliers and Timberwolves are all three winning the blockbuster trades centered on Utah this offseason. You can read McDonald’s breakdown right here.
Guard Jalen Green said every game is a good lesson for the Rockets — win or lose.
“One thing that we have been preaching, me and my training staff, is that there are no losses with this team,” Green said, via Brian Barefield of Rockets Wire. “We are all in a rebuild right now. It is either a win or a learning lesson.”
Green indicated he is feeling more comfortable this season as a second-year player.
“A lot of it last year during film sessions was me just listening,” Green said, via Kelly Iko of The Athletic. “I was in a space where I didn’t understand too much and needed to pick up on a lot of things. I know a lot more now, and learned a lot from last season. Now I’m in a place where I can ask questions, wonder why that’s happening and what’s going on.”
- Rockets center Bruno Fernando is out indefinitely after suffering a left-knee injury. However, coach Stephen Silas said that forward Jae’Sean Tate (ankle) could be closing in on a return, via Ben DuBose of Rockets Wire.
Coach Michael Malone wasn’t pleased with the team’s defensive effort in the blowout loss to the Trail Blazers. From the sounds of things, Malone hasn’t been pleased on that side of the ball for most of the early season, actually.
“We were embarrassing tonight,” Malone told reporters. “It was a poor effort after that first quarter. We did not defend at all. We cannot guard one-on-one right now at all.”
- Back-to-back NBA MVP and Nuggets center Nikola Jokic has matched Wilt Chamberlain for sixth on the league’s career list with 78 triple-doubles.
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