The Utah Jazz are one of the NBA’s best feel-good stories so far this season. Yes, the team was in a mini-slump not too long after losing five games in a row, but it still owns the seventh-best record in the Western Conference at 13-11. And a big reason for Utah’s surprising start to the season has been the play of Lauri Markkanen, who has evolved into a star and the primary scorer for the Jazz.
On a recent episode of JJ Reddick’s podcast, TheOldMan&TheThree, Markkanen hopped on the show to chat with Reddick about the team’s hot start and how they have been able to surprise folks:
“We got good players and good staff around us that we can make some noise… It feels like we have a so-called revenge game every other day.”
Markkanen, 25, is in his sixth year in the NBA and his first as a member of the Jazz. He’s averaging 22.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists across 24 games for Utah this season. Markkanen has been scoring the ball with great efficiency in his new home, as he’s shooting 53.1% from the field and 39.5% from behind the three-point arc.
Markannen was traded to the Jazz back in the offseason as part of the return package that sent Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers. If the Jazz can continue to win at this level with Markkanen leading the way, it’s hard to believe that the Finland native won’t win the league’s Most Improved Player award. He is the consensus favorite to win the award right now.