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As soon as the Utah Jazz traded Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the comparisons started making their rounds on social media.
This new player the Jazz got in the trade — rookie Walker Kessler — he looks an awful lot like the Jazz’s newly minted head coach Will Hardy. The jokes ran wild, with photos of the two put side-by-side.
“Will Hardy is Walker Kessler’s older brother,” one Twitter user quipped.
“Has anyone seen them in the same room?,” another asked.
“Kessler is a Hardy clone, no one can convince me otherwise,” one person said, adding laughing emojis to the tweet.
But it’s not just on social media where the jokes have made the rounds. Kessler has heard them all.
“I’ve heard it all about me being his other brother or his clone,” Kessler said. “Let’s face it, we’ve both got the same hairstyle. We’ve all got the same jaw line.”
What do Kessler’s new teammates think? Does Walker look like Will?
“Yes he does,” Ochai Agbaji said with a laugh and matter-of-fact nod.
Kessler has embraced the jokes and even said that his coach should see it as a compliment to be compared to someone like Kessler.
As for Hardy, the head coach at the center of the clone conspiracy, the first time he’d heard the comparison was when I asked about it.
He boasted that he doesn’t have Twitter on his phone, has never sent a tweet in his life, and so it’s easy to miss some of the conversations from social media. But he enjoyed the comparison and even laughed as he thanked Kessler for the “compliment.”
There are not always going to be things to laugh about with this team. But it was nice to kick off training camp and Hardy’s tenure as head coach with some lighthearted guffaws.
New with the Jazz
This week on ‘Unsalvageable’
Check out “Unsalvageable” hosted by Deseret News Utah Jazz beat reporter Sarah Todd and lifelong Jazz fan Greg Foster (no, not that Greg Foster).
This week the crew bids farewell to Bojan Bogdanovic and recaps media day and the first day of training camp while looking ahead at what could happen with the roster before the 2022-23 season begins.
The podcast has moved to a new feed so remember to follow or subscribe by searching for “Unsalvageable” through your podcast provider.
From the archives
This week in Jazz history
On Sept. 29, 2018, the Utah Jazz faced the Perth Wildcats of Australia’s NBL in a preseason exhibition game at Vivint Arena. It was the first time Perth had played against an NBA team since 1995. The Jazz would win that game, 130-72.
- Will the new-look Jazz get the franchise where it wants to be — eventually? (Deseret News)
- Quin Snyder consulting for Los Angeles Lakers coaching staff (KSLsports.com)
- Here’s who fans think should be starting games for the Jazz this season (Salt Lake Tribune)
- Defining expectations is not as easy as it once was for the Utah Jazz (Deseret News)
Around the league
Blake Griffin agrees to one-year deal with Boston Celtics.
Derrick Favors headed to Houston Rockets in 8-player trade with Oklahoma City Thunder.
Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant hoping to move past the offseason drama.
Up next: Preseason
Oct. 2 | 4 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ Toronto Raptors | AT&T SportsNet
Oct. 4 | 8 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ Portland Trail Blazers | AT&T SportsNet
Oct. 11 | 7 p.m. | Utah Jazz vs. San Antonio Spurs | AT&T SportsNet
Oct. 14 | 7 p.m. | Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks | AT&T SportsNet