Archive for the ‘utah jazz’ Category

While LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry get the bulk of the NBA headlines, there are plenty of young players waiting in the wings to taking over when the stars of today lose a step.

Some — like Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving — are already household names, while others are on the cusp of stardom.

This list is the best-of-the-best of those young players, the ones who will carry the NBA to the next generation.

Just missed the cut: Rodney Hood, Utah Jazz; Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic

25. Clint Capela, Houston Rockets, 22

Capela is one of the best young rim protectors in the game and the perfect fit for the Rockets. He has stepped in for the departed Dwight Howard and has become the backbone of the Houston defense, averaging 1.4 blocks in just 23.4 minutes. He has also been a very serviceable finisher in the paint, averaging 12 points a night on 64.4 percent shooting from the field while adding 7.6 rebounds.

24. Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers, 22

Although his rebounding numbers are down — from 10.2 to 8.0 — Randle has become a more complete player in his third year in Los Angeles. He is averaging a career-high 13 points a game on 48.9 percent shooting while handing out 3.6 assists in 28.4 minutes.

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Matt Norlander of CBS Sports went through the 20 can’t-miss games left on the college basketball schedule, and the matchup between BYU and Gonzaga on Feb. 25, made the list.

He wrote, “The WCC always wraps up its league schedule early, so Feb. 25 is the final day of the regular season for the Zags. A win here, and the program completes its first undefeated regular season ever. It means 30-0. It means Gonzaga would become the third team in four seasons to not lose a game prior to postseason play. I think that’s pretty cool. And I think Gonzaga beats BYU by 20 here; 30-0 is happening.”

Utah Jazz still top 10 in Power Rankings

Despite a rough end of the week that saw them drop their last two games, the Utah Jazz stayed at No. 8 in the latest ESPN NBA Power Rankings done by Marc Stein.

Of the Jazz, Stein wrote, “Gordon Hayward certainly hasn’t slowed down since earning his maiden All-Star nod; Hayward has cracked the 30-point plateau in four of his past five games and remain on course to record the highest scoring average by anyone in Jazz colors since Karl Malone‘s 23.2 PPG in 2000-01.”

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ESPN’s Marc Stein released his latest NBA Power Rankings and the Utah Jazz came in at the No. 8 spot.

Of the Jazz, he wrote, “If you believe in the value of nightly average point margin when it comes to measuring a team’s strength, Utah deserves its status as the current holder of the last home-court advantage playoff spot in the West, thanks to a reading of plus-4.1 that ranks sixth in the league overall.”

The Jazz were one spot higher, coming in at No. 7 in John Schuhmann’s Power Rankings.

After talking about Rodney Hood’s injury, Schuhmann wrote, “Gordon Hayward is healthy and scored 60 points on 64 percent shooting as the Jazz took care of business against the struggling Bucks and Hornets last week. Joe Johnson also awoke from a slumber and the pair combined with George Hill for a 22-4, fourth-quarter run that turned a 10-point deficit into a seven-point win against Charlotte on Saturday.”

Rudy Gobert’s game analyzed in Prodigies Series

Jake Rauchbach took a look at the strengths and weaknesses in Rudy Gobert’s game in the latest installment of Basketball Insiders’ Prodigy Series.

After touching on the play of Anthony Davis — who was also looked at — Rauchbach wrote, “Gobert is a quintessential energy guy whose defense, rebounding and high field goal percentage have been a major asset for the Jazz this season.”

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