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If garnering NBA Rookie of the Month honors is an indication of how voting for Rookie of the Year will go, Utah's Donovan Mitchell and Philadelphia's Ben Simmons are indeed the frontrunners for the award.
The pair received the honors for the month of February on Thursday for the Western and Eastern Conferences, respectively. It is the third time each has won it this season, with it being the third straight month for Mitchell (Boston's Jayson Tatum won it for the East in December. Los Angeles forward and former University of Utah star Kyle Kuzma did for the West in November).
In February, Mitchell averaged 21.4 points (tops among all rookies), 4.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.3 steals in 34.6 minutes per game. He had seven games of 20 or more points and on Feb. 2 became the first rookie since Blake Griffin in the 2010-2011 campaign to score 40 twice in a season.
For the year, the Louisville product leads rookies in scoring at 19.6 points per game and is also averaging 3.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals. His 137 3-pointers is the most by a first-year player through their first 60 games in NBA history.
Mitchell is the second player in franchise history to win Rookie of the Month honors three times in a season, as Trey Burke also did so during the 2013-2014 campaign.
On the season, Simmons is averaging 16.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 1.8 steals per contest.
Full Story from the Deseret News...
SALT LAKE CITY — It’s highly unlikely that Utah Jazz forward Thabo Sefolosha will be returning to the lineup this season.
The injured forward is technically listed as being out indefinitely, but after suffering a torn MCL in his right knee he’s very likely to sit for the remainder of the year.
Sefolosha, 33, isn’t allowing himself to be defeated by the injury, though.
The league veteran was spotted during Wednesday’s practice in a thick black knee brace, his customary Nike Air Max 90 sneakers and a huge smile on his face.
He even shot free throws, without crutches, on the far end of the practice facility with teammate Derrick Favors and Jazz assistants Antonio Lang and DeSagana Diop.
There is still no timetable on Sefolosha’s return.
He originally underwent surgery on Jan. 17 with team physician Dr. Travis Maak, but he's making progress. He now spends most of his time in the training room getting treatment, but it was good to have him around.
“Some of the things we miss about Thabo are the things that happen between plays,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. “His voice, his experience. He added a lot to our team from a leadership standpoint, so to the extent that he’s doing better, he’s here and having his support and leadership there’s only so much you can do when you’re not playing but his energy is really good.”
Before going down, Sefolosha was averaging 8.2 points and 4.2 rebounds while...
FiveThirtyEight Predictions now have Utah Jazz out of the playoffs - The J-Notes - The J-Notes - A Utah Jazz Fan Site - News, Blogs, Opinion and More
Bad turnovers and bad shooting do in the Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz missed out on a big opportunity to upset the Houston Rockets Monday night with the Rockets missing Ryan Anderson, Clint Capela and Eric Gordon. But with 22 turnovers and a combined 24% from three, the Jazz couldn’t get the upset against the best team in the league.
Defensively the Jazz did a nice job holding James Harden to 1/5 from three and 26 points and Chris Paul to only 15, but it was their inability to make good passes and hit open shots that did them in.
Probably the best players for the Jazz were Ricky Rubio and Rudy Gobert who had the best plus/minus of all the starters.
SALT LAKE CITY — Only one player in the NBA wears No. 99.
He’s the newest member of the Utah Jazz and his name is Jae Crowder.
“It’s pretty cool,” Crowder said. “Hopefully people will catch on to it and like the number because it’s a unique thing and it means something to me, so it’s kind of special.”
The meaning behind it?
His best friend, Eric Thompson.
Throughout high school and college, Crowder wore No. 32 in honor of Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson but switched to No. 9 after leaving Marquette for the NBA.
“I would’ve never thought I would go to 99,” Crowder admitted.
He spent his first few seasons in Dallas before being traded to the Boston Celtics during the 2014-15 season as part of the deal that sent Rajon Rondo to the Mavericks. The change from No. 9 to 99 occurred then.
“When I got traded from Dallas, my best friend was wearing No. 99,” Crowder recalled. “I was No. 9 and going to Boston, so I didn’t want to take Rajon Rondo’s number out of respect to him so I decided to put a No. 9 on it just like my best friend.”
Thompson is also from Crowder’s hometown of Villa Rica, Georgia, and attended Villa Rica High School. He wore No. 99 on the gridiron as a defensive lineman at Faulkner University. Although he no longer plays, Crowder still brings that gridiron toughness and mindset to the hardwood with the odd number.
“People ask me what it’s for all the time, because it’s got to be a meaning behind it obviously, but it’s pretty cool just to keep it going for him every time I touch the floor and then put it on my shoes every time I get a chance,” Crowder said.
As the Utah Jazz try to regain their rhythm since returning from the All-Star break with a...