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Mike Conley, Jazz

NBA

Don’t worry about Mike Conley’s dreadful start with Jazz

Mike Conley has had a real rough go of it in his first few weeks with the Utah Jazz.

The veteran point guard is averaging 12.4 points, 3.9 assists and 2.1 rebounds while shooting a putrid 31.8% from the field and 28.2% on 3-pointers. If you take out his 11-of-17 shooting performance against the Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 30, he’s shooting under 24%.

What does this mean?

Absolutely nothing.

Conley may not be in his prime anymore at 32 years old, but there’s no way he’s going to struggle like this over the course of the season. He’s coming off one of the best seasons of his career with the Memphis Grizzlies, a campaign in which he put up 21.1 points, 6.4 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game while shooting 43.8% overall and 36.4% from long distance.

The veteran point guard won’t match those numbers again now that he’s sharing a backcourt with Donovan Mitchell, but we can expect the efficiency to rise as Conley gets more comfortable playing next to Mitchell in Quin Snyder’s system. The track record is too much to ignore.

The good news is, as poorly as Conley has shot the ball, the Jazz are still 4-3 and Mitchell has been superb. Much was made of the need to get Mitchell a legitimate running mate in the backcourt to take the pressure off, and so far Utah is thriving with the two on the court together. Despite Conley’s struggles, the Jazz have a 112.5 offensive rating in the duo’s 133 minutes on the court, per NBA.com. Meanwhile, the defense has been terrific as well at 94.2 points allowed per 100 possessions, giving the duo an 18.3 on-court net rating.

Mitchell is looking like an All-Star, averaging 25.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists while shooting 52.0% overall and 44.4% from 3-land. This efficiency won’t keep up the whole season, but regression in Mitchell’s efficiency should be somewhat offset by Conley finding his shooting stroke and getting back to his normal levels of offensive success. They’ll only gain more chemistry as the season goes on, which will help both of them.

Utah has dreams of being a title contender this season. The defense is elite yet again, and the additions of Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic were supposed to help jumpstart their offense. While the offense has had its share of problems, with Conley’s shooting being among them, the potential is there for excellence once they find their groove.

To put it simply, there’s little reason to worry about Mike Conley’s shooting slump to start this season. Health is a bigger concern given his injury history, but if he’s on the court, his play will come around at some point.