Scouting Report: Utah Jazz
The Hawks will look to salvage the final game of what has been a winless road trip so far when they face the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City Monday night.
It’s been a rough season for the Jazz; one that most knew would be rough, after the team let big men Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap go to free agency in the offseason. The team has countered with some young hopefuls as the franchise rebuilds, and the most notable is rookie point guard Trey Burke. Burke has had his rookie ups and downs but has had the opportunity to come in and start, gaining experience along the way. His assists are up over five a game now, and he loves attacking the basket. The perimeter shooting hasn’t quite been there yet, but he’s an all-around good player who’s only getting better.
Gordon Hayward leads the team in scoring and is also averaging better than five assists per game. I’m not sure how many saw his development coming after he averaged just five points as a rookie. He has terrific length as a shooting guard and as a result usually draws a smaller defender, allowing him to shoot over the top. He is having the worst shooting season of his four-year career, though that’s likely more due to the lack of talent around him compared to years past.
The Jazz are bottom five in the league in scoring, assists and steals, so it certainly hasn’t been easy for them. One thing they are getting is production from the bench. Third-year guard Alec Burks is second on the team in scoring despite not starting. He’s a score-first guy and won’t shoot the three often, so limiting his driving ability will be key for whoever is on him. Backup center Enes Kanter is also top five on the team in scoring. He’s an athletic big who runs the floor well and is active around the rim.
Utah had lost five straight before ending their road trip with a win on Saturday. The Hawks won easily earlier this season in Atlanta, and a repeat performance would be nice now that the group is healthy once again. It’ll be a homecoming for Millsap and DeMarre Carroll.
Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE/Getty Images