The Utah Jazz began their 2023-24 season with a preseason win in Hawaii. While the preseason is far from a regular season game, there was still a lot for Jazz fans to watch.
Utah started Collin Sexton and Talen Horton-Tucker in the backcourt. That pairing was not what many expected with the backcourt logjam, and one has to wonder if that will be the same starting five next game. The newly acquired John Collins was the other notable addition to the starting lineup. At times, Collins looked a bit lost out there, and it’s clear that the team is still trying to figure out how they all fit together, but Collins did get a chance to show off his famed dunking ability.
Coach Will Hardy went a full 14-deep today, giving many of his rotation players only short stints before going to the bench. When veteran Kris Dunn and rookie Keyonte George shared the backcourt, the team found its groove. Dunn was the best player for the Jazz tonight with 15 points on a perfect 100% shooting night. George struggled with his shot but created plays for others, got to the free-throw line, and made things happen.
Walker Kessler and Lauri Markkanen both played well in limited minutes. It seems neither has skipped a beat. The Jazz rotation might have a lot of question marks, but those two players will be the cornerstones this year.
The bench unit closed out the game on the backs of Kris Dunn and Luka Samanic. Samanic only got minutes late in the game but hit a couple of big shots and came up clutch to seal the win.
Player of the game
Kris Dunn shot a perfect 7-7 from the field, 1-1 from deep, for 15 points and five assists in only 16 minutes. He is Utah’s most steady hand at point guard, and it could be argued that he’s the best guard on the roster. Dunn’s lockdown defense was on display with two steals, and his in-control offense led the Jazz run in the second half.
Lauri Markkanen: ten points, eight rebounds, two assists
Walker Kessler: seven points, seven rebounds, five blocks
Keyonte George: ten points, five assists, one block
The Utah Jazz will rematch the Los Angeles Clippers on October 10th, 2023, at 8:00 PM.