When the 2022-23 NBA season began, the Utah Jazz were the talk of the town.
That’s because they got off to an amazing start and were briefly the best team in the entire Western Conference.
Times have changed, the competition has gotten harder, and the Jazz have now slipped down the 12th spot and will miss the playoffs.
But many fans are still excited about the future, partly because of their new star player.
Lauri Markkanen has come out of the gates swinging during his time with the Jazz.
During his previous year with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Markkanen averaged 14.8 points and 5.7 rebounds a game.
This season, his first in Salt Lake City, has seen him produce 25.6 points and 8.6 rebounds.
That’s a huge improvement in less than a year and is also the second-most career points per game ever by a Jazz player.
As a Cav — As a Jazz —
14.8 PPG 25.6 PPG
5.7 RPG 8.6 RPG
2nd most career PPG by a Jazz all-time. pic.twitter.com/OxjsVJHGNS
— StatMuse (@statmuse) April 4, 2023
No one is quite sure what is next for the Jazz because they have set themselves up in a very strong position.
Thanks to the work of mastermind Danny Ainge, the team now holds a lot of young talent and a cornucopia of future draft picks.
They can wheel and deal and trade away a number of assets to get much stronger over the next few years.
Will Markkanen still be a part of this team when all the changes are complete?
Fans sure hope so because he is clearly the sort of player that a team can be built around.
His achievements this year have numerous analysts calling on him to be named Most Improved Player of the Year.
Even if he doesn’t receive that award, Markkanen has made a huge mark in Utah during his first season with the Jazz.NEXT: Jazz Insider Details Team's Long List Of Injuries For Spurs Game