EDMONTON, Alberta — Walker Kessler’s first made basket on Sunday night came off an assist from Jordan Clarkson. It came easy and was a classic case of a big man rolling to the basket and being bigger than the defenders in front of him. He made the bucket and he drew the foul.

As he walked to the free-throw line, teammate and veteran Malik Beasley yelled from the bench.

“Welcome to the NBA big man, welcome to the NBA.”

Though, it would be later in the game that Kessler would experience his true “welcome to the NBA” moments.

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For the most part, the 21-year-old rookie made a solid first impression in the Jazz’s first preseason game. He was quick on the floor, sprinting ahead of the guards baseline to baseline. He showed off his finesse around the basket, picking up 11 points and four rebounds. And he showed glimpses of what makes him a threat on the defensive end.

But it was in the defensive moments when Kessler saw that this wasn’t going to be like playing in college and that the competition is not just more skilled, but they’re bigger and stronger than what he’s used to.

“Defensively I think that I’ve got to definitely make some adjustments,” he said. “A lot of the guys are more athletic and bigger so I’ll just have to get more vertical. But that will come with time so I’m not super worried about it.”

Kessler was a part of the 10-man rotation that the Jazz played through the majority of their game against the Toronto Raptors and it seems as though he will have plenty of opportunity to work through some of those rookie hurdles.

Multiple times throughout the game, head coach Will Hardy took Kessler to the side or caught him as he was subbing off the court and talked through some of the things he’d seen on the floor. There seems to be not only encouragement, but also investment in Kessler’s success.

“It was a classic first NBA game,” Hardy said. “He had some really, really bright spots and I think he had some welcome to the NBA moments. But I’ve been really happy with Walker in camp and tonight. I think again, there’s a lot of things for him to take away from this game. He’ll get with the assistant coaches and watch film and we’ll watch film as a team. But there’s definitely some bright spots to build on.”

The Jazz head to Portland to face the Trail Blazers on Tuesday and then will have two more preseason games at home on Oct. 11 against the San Antonio Spurs and Oct. 14 against the Dallas Mavericks.

The hope is that those contests give Kessler a chance to shake out some of the rookie emotions he had heading into Sunday afternoon and that he’ll start to pick up on some of the little things that will make him more ready for the regular season.

“A lot of nerves going into it tonight and didn’t really have my legs under me,” Kessler said. “But it was a lot of fun and I’m just looking forward to the next one.”