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All-Star rewind—reviewing the best performances, stats and moments so far this season
We've reached the All-Star break, which seems like a perfect time to look back and review how this season's gone so far for the Utah Jazz.
***SPOILER ALERT: It's been pretty great***
For example, the Jazz have won four straight games. They're in fourth place in the Western Conference standings—and only 1.5 games out of second place—with a record of 36-18. They have the NBA's eighth-best rating on both offense AND defense. And they have two first-time All-Stars in guard Donovan Mitchell and center Rudy Gobert.
But there's definitely more, so here's a look at some of the numbers that have defined Utah's first 54 games.
Mitchell averaged 20.3 points per game as a rookie and 23.8 points per game last season, but that increase was strictly due to volume as he still shot only 43.2 percent from the field.
This season has been completely different.
The third-year guard ranks in the NBA’s top 15 in scoring at 24.3 points per game, and he’s doing so with much-improved efficiency. Mitchell’s shooting 45.7 percent from the field, 36.3 percent from three, and 86.1 percent from the free throw line.
Mitchell has scored 30+ points 14 times, and he matched his career high of 46 points against the Pelicans on January 16.
Utah caught fire from December 11 until January 25, winning 19 of 21 games—including a streak of 10 in a row. Over that stretch, the Jazz averaged 117.1 points per game and had a league-best net rating of +12.1.
Gobert leads the NBA in field goal percentage (.689) and ranks second in rebounds per game (14.6). Both would be new career highs for the Stifle Tower, who also scored at least 20 points seven times in January, his most for any individual month during his career.
And oh yeah, the two-time Defensive Player of the Year is still busy wreaking havoc on anyone who challenges him at the rim.
The recovery. The block.— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 26, 2020
After a slow start to the season, Joe Ingles turned things around when he rejoined the starting lineup after Mike Conley injured his hamstring on December 2. Conley missed 20 of Utah’s next 21 games, and Ingles teamed up with Mitchell as the team’s primary ball handlers over that stretch.
Coming off the bench, Ingles only averaged 7.3 points, 1.4 3-pointers and 3.5 assists. In 34 games as a starter, he’s averaging 11.5 points, 2.3 3-pointers and a team-best 6.2 assists—and the Jazz have gone 24-10.
Bojan Bogdanović has provided a major lift on offense, scoring 30+ points 11 times and averaging 3.2 threes per game (his previous career high was 2.0). He also made two game-winners at the buzzer—against Milwaukee and Houston.
Bogey's currently shooting 45.4 percent from the field, 42.5 percent from three, and 89.7 percent from the free throw line. He's on track to potentially be the first Jazz player—and only the 10th player in NBA history—to average at least 21.0 points per game with 45/40/90 shooting splits.
The Jazz lead the NBA in 3-point percentage (.387) and rank seventh in 3-pointers per game (13.1). Three Utah players are shooting above 40 percent from three—Bogdanović (.425), Georges Niang (.416) and Royce O’Neale (.407)—while Ingles (.396) is right on the edge.
Mitchell (24.3) and Bogdanović (21.0) are Utah’s third set of teammates to average at least 20 points per game in the same season. The others are Karl Malone and Jeff Malone (1991-92) and Adrian Dantley and Darrell Griffith, who did it four times (1980-81, 1982-85).
Call it the Clarkson Effect.
Jordan Clarkson, who joined the Jazz via trade on December 26, has averaged 16.2 points in 24 games with the Jazz—including 37 points in a narrow road loss to the Denver Nuggets—and has significantly increased the output of the team’s bench unit.
Before the trade, the Jazz ranked 29th in the NBA in bench scoring (26.9 points per game), and since then they’re 16th in the league with 37.0 per game.
O’Neale, one of the team’s foundational players on both ends of the court, signed a four-year contract extension with the Jazz in January. O’Neale has played in all 54 games—including 47 starts—and is averaging 5.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 29.2 minutes.
The Jazz lead the NBA with 12.7 screen assists—when a player sets a screen for a teammate that leads directly to a made field goal by that teammate—per game. Gobert leads the league in individual screen assists with 7.3 per game.
Gobert and Mitchell will each be making their first All-Star appearances this season, and they’re the first Jazz players to appear in the All-Star Game since 2017. The Jazz have now had 14 All-Stars in franchise history, a list that includes:
Pete Maravich (1977–79)
Truck Robinson (1978)
Adrian Dantley (1980–82, 1984–86)
Rickey Green (1984)
Karl Malone (1988–98, 2000–02)
John Stockton (1989–97, 2000)
Mark Eaton (1989)
Andrei Kirilenko (2004)
Mehmet Okur (2007)
Carlos Boozer (2007, 2008)
Deron Williams (2010, 2011)
Gordon Hayward (2017)
Rudy Gobert (2020)
Donovan Mitchell (2020)