The Rookie Steps Up
November 15, 2009 -
With Deron Williams away from the team to deal with a family medical issue, these two back-to-back games could have been extremely ugly. Compound Williams’ absence with the fact that Ronnie Price is injured, and the Jazz are only left with one available point guard—a rookie who had exactly 23 minutes of NBA experience heading into Friday night’s game.
Gotta hand it to Eric Maynor. He absolutely stepped up when his team needed him. I’m amazed at the poise and confidence he showed. He still has a lot to learn, but the kid has serious potential. We may have gotten a steal with the 19th pick.
Game ball goes to: Eric Maynor (as if there was any doubt after that lead in). The rookie formally announced his arrival on the NBA scene with 13 points and 11 assists in his first career start to help the Jazz beat the 76ers. He then dropped 24 points the following night at Cleveland in a narrow loss to the Cavs.
Stat of the game(s): The Jazz made 44 of 50 (88%) free throws over the two-game stretch. If only they could keep that up all season...
Highlight: Carlos Boozer seems to have found his game. He averaged 24.5 points (on 63% shooting), 12 rebounds, and 2 steals over the last two.
Lowlight: Despite losing in Cleveland, there wasn’t much to complain about during these two games. No one played particularly poorly, especially given the circumstances (i.e. back-to-back games on the road missing multiple key players)
Other items of note:
- Paul Millsap seems to have found his groove along with Boozer. He averaged 13 points (on 59% shooting), 5 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in 28 minutes off the bench. The power forward position is suddenly solid again.
- Wes Matthews continues to be somewhat of a savior. Considering he probably wouldn’t have made the roster had Miles and Korver not been injured, Matthews is proving he belongs in this league. He currently leads the Jazz in 3-pt shooting at 47% (7 of 15) and averaged 14.5 points in 36 minutes over the 76ers and Cavs games.
- The Jazz only dressed 9 players at Philly and Cleveland. Harpring, Korver, Miles, and Price are still out with injuries, while Williams missed for personal reasons.