((Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images))

Preview: Wizards close West Coast swing in Utah against Jazz

On Monday night, the Washington Wizards (9-51) will finish their three-game West Coast road trip in Salt Lake City when they take on the Utah Jazz (27-34). Here's everything you need to know.

WHERE: Delta Center (Salt Lake City, UT)
WHEN: 9:00 p.m. ET
TV: Monumental Sports Network
RADIO: Team 980 & The Wizards App


Isaiah Livers (right hip joint capsule inflammation -- out)

Walker Kessler (right foot sprain -- out)
Lauri Markkanen (right quadriceps contusion -- out)


Utah Jazz guard Keyonte George has been one of the league's standout rookies this season. He's averaging over 12 points and nearly five assists in 27 minutes per game. He's shaping up to be one of the early steals from the 2023 NBA Draft.

While George has shown flashes all season long, he's been even better as of late. In the Jazz' last six games, George is putting up stellar averages of 20 points on .434/.436/.833 shooting splits to go along with six assists and 2.7 rebounds. On Monday, his role will be even bigger with Jazz star Lauri Markkanen sidelined due to injury.

Wizards wings Deni Avdija and Bilal Coulibaly will likely shoulder most of the defensive responsibilities on George. Their length and athleticism will be a unique counter to George's quickness and skill. Plus, any time two of the top rookies face off against one another, it's always a fun time. Keep a special eye on the Coulibaly-George matchup.


This season, the Jazz have struggled to protect the rock. They have the league's worst turnover rate (15.5%). They lead the league in turnovers per game (15.8). And they allow the second-most points off turnovers per game (19.3). This is great news for the Wizards as forcing turnovers and getting out in transition is one of their biggest strengths.

Washington is at their best when they're able to turn defense into offense. They're tied for the third-most points off turnovers per game (17.9) and are second in fast break points (18.1). If the Wizards can jump passing lanes and disrupt ball-handlers with pressure, they'll be in a good position to come away with a win.


Another facet of the game the Wizards can aim to control is the paint battle. The Jazz struggle with paint defense. They're in the bottom third of the league in paint points allowed per game (52.2). Thankfully, this is an area the Wizards excel in. They're third in the NBA in paint points, averaging 55.5 per game.

This is where Avdija, Kyle Kuzma, and Jordan Poole can aim to take over.

Avdija, Kuzma, and Poole are all at their best when they put the ball on the deck and get downhill. Whether it's Avdija and Kuzma using their strength and length or Poole using his quickness and handle, those three guys are a nightmare for opponents who struggle with paint defense.