How does Jazz use Lauri Markkanen’s skill set differently? Here are the numbers.


Three thoughts on the Utah Jazz’s 126-103 win over the Los Angeles Clippers from The Salt Lake Tribune beat writer Andy Larsen.


1. How is Markkanen’s use changing?

Lauri Markkanen continues to be absurdly good. He had 34 points and 12 rebounds tonight, shooting 11-20 from the field and 6-8 from deep.

There’s really no argument for him not being an All-Star. It should be. There is even an argument he must start. I’m one of 100 NBA media voters who receive 25% of the voting credit to select All-Star Rookies, and that’s soon to be mine. (Nikola Jokic and LeBron James would likely be locks. Would you go with Markkanen or Domantas Sabonis for third?)

So, since we take his goodness for granted, let’s instead learn how his game has changed throughout the season. Two things happened throughout the year:

1. Defenses have changed the way they guard, because they’ve learned how good it is.


In particular, let’s take a look at the ways Markkanen got his points. This breakdown is stats courtesy of Synergy Sports.

So what trends do we see?

First, the Jazz moved Markkanen from more of a ball catcher to a catch and roll checker. This is really interesting, because the usual way to take advantage of a great player is to put the ball in his hands more, and ask him to create. Instead, Jazz put the ball in his hands as a performer, making it either the middle ground or the pick-and-pop.

Secondly, look at how much that number has increased off screen. Jazz makes him pop out of his teammates’ screens – take this example from tonight:

Two of his teammates set him up for the three open wing. very easy.

Deployments have not changed. Replays down actually. The cuts are over – maybe his colleagues are looking for him more.

Whatever it is, it works. Markkanen averaged 30 points per game in January, and he looks pretty good.

2. The Mike Conley and Clippers rumors

Mike Conley had a very good game tonight, honestly, not anything he normally wouldn’t, but this was a good 3-point shooting variation game – he made it 5-6. (It was a great 3-point game of contrast for the Jazz: They hit 59% as a team, their best shooting performance in years.)

Speaking of which, Conley has had his name in the news a lot lately.

• Mark Stein on Substack Books Sources say that (the Clippers) also have a business interest in Mike Conley Jr. of Utah amid a growing belief that the Jazz — which has slipped to No. 9 in the West at 22-24 after a stellar start — could become a seller in this area. final date “.

• athletes Shams Al-Shaarani reported League sources say “The Timberwolves and Clippers express interest in Jazz guard Mike Conley Jr…. The Clippers are looking for depth in the frontcourt and have discussed guard John Wall in potential trades.”

• and Bleacher Report’s Note Jake Fisher: Mike Conley’s interest in the Clippers dates back at least to this summer, when Los Angeles were weighing point guard options before John Wall headed to Staples center after securing his purchase from the Rockets.

That’s three of the top four or five top news players in the league all writing about Conley’s availability in the past week. It may be available.

How will the clippers trade work? Really, their package to match Conley’s salary is pretty straightforward: Robert Covington or Reggie Jackson (who both make about $12 million a year), John Wall, and Jason Preston (or Amir Covey or Brandon Boston or whichever comes closer to the lower contract) do just fine. equally.

Why does Jazz do that? Mainly, because Conley is somewhat overpaid in his current deal, and because you’d like to give his money to someone younger next season in a growing squad.

Meanwhile, the Clippers may see Conley as a lucrative promotion now over Jackson or Wall. Maybe you can convince the Clippers that a base promotion to Conley is worth giving up a second-round pick — it really might be when Paul George and Kawhi Leonard play. (They don’t really have anything to offer until 2028, thanks to a trade that made them PG.) In particular, Conley is the best shooter out of these vigilantes.

Conley is very valuable to this Jazz team, but it’s hard to imagine him on the next opposing Jazz team at 36 or older. According to news experts, there is interest in its availability.

3. Plan clippers with load management

Uh, the Clippers are in trouble, and they don’t seem to notice.

They are currently ranked eighth in the Western Conference. They are two games ahead of the 13th-ranked Los Angeles Lakers.

That’s right, they’re also a match-up between the five seeds – where they’ll take on a good team on the road in the first round, and every round after that. Their path to a potential title will be very difficult.

Every game really matters right now; It looks like they will be important at the end of the season. The Clippers have lost eight of their last 10 games.

So why would they rest Paul George? Why are they resting Kawhi Leonard? Of course, the answer is “so they can be healthy in the qualifiers” – guys, there might be no qualifiers for them to be healthy if you keep doing that! Besides, resting their best players is terrible for the league; This should have been an exciting game that was instead a blast because of the Clippers’ decisions.

Look, maybe this will all end well, and the Clippers will make the NBA Finals out of the West. I think they’ll still probably lose to any of the Eastern Conference contenders, but that should be considered a successful season.

But she’s about to not be so well. To be honest, I would probably support this result, because I hope that teams in the future will not follow her example.

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