Wednesday, May 31, 2023
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Jazz Star Wins NBA’s Most Improved Player Award

Utah Jazz log


When the Utah Jazz traded All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell last summer, it was thought they had just gone out of the business of being a competitive NBA team.

But the Mitchell trade brought them Lauri Markkanen, who had been a very solid player for five years as a member of the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Markkanen took his game to a much higher level this season, and on Monday he was rewarded with the Most Improved Player award.

He averaged 25.6 points and 8.6 rebounds a game while shooting 49.9 percent overall and 39.1 percent from 3-point range this season, compared to 14.8 points a game last season.

Before this year, Markkanen’s previous high-water mark in scoring was 18.7 points per contest during the 2018-19 campaign.

Thanks to his improved play, Utah surprised everyone by starting the season with a 10-3 record, leading many to think they would make the playoffs outright.

However, they fell back to earth quickly and ended the year with just 37 wins, which put them out of the running for a spot in the play-in tournament.

But Markkanen made his first All-Star team this year, and the 25-year-old has given Utah hope for the immediate future.

They have also another nice young player in guard Collin Sexton, who was also acquired for Mitchell and put up 14.3 points a game on 50.6 percent overall shooting and 39.3 percent from downtown this season.

With a treasure chest of draft picks they got for both Mitchell and Gobert, the Jazz can look to the future with optimism.

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