Lauri Markkanen will be in the All-Star for the first time. The Finn joined the Utah Jazz in what it seemed to be an absolute rebuild of the franchise. However, for the surprise of everyone, the course of the team and of Markkanen himself is more promising than expected.
The Jazz are shining for their quick rebuild under coach Will Hardy when the goal seemed to be to tank and start all over again. They actually got rid of their stars this past summer, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. The hierarchy of powers did not seem to work out and despite having good records throughout the regular season, it all fell apart as soon as it was time to compete in the Play-offs.
Other roles within the squad also had to change, like the case of Jordan Clarkson. The point guard has earned importance as a starter and is leading more possessions than in previous years.
The rebuild is still under process, but at a quicker pace than thought. Jazz own very interesting replacement pieces in the market, such as the veteran Mike Conley, the promising Vanderbilt or Beasley. They should not have any specific set goal currently, but just to improve nd keep finding pieces that can end up shaping a renewed roster. The competitiveness will come with the time.
The Jazz are currently in Play-In spots with a record of 27 wins and 27 defeats. Markkanen from Cleveland has step up as the leader of this team and is having his best numbers since he arrived in the NBA back in 2017. He averages 24.9 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists.
The power forward is going through a great momentum after being unable to show his best level in Chicago and Cleveland. However, the Jazz have found the way to get the most out of him, as he is now showing huge confidence and aggressiveness offensively. The All-Star is his reward for it.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.
Main image: @utahjazz.