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Collin Sexton was a standout at Alabama before being drafted No. 8 overall in 2018. But the moment he became a regular part of the national conversation was during a November 2017 game between the Crimson Tide and the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Multiple players were ejected from the game in the second half when the Alabama bench cleared during a fight. Paired with multiple technicals and another player fouling out, that left the Tide with just three players to compete for the rest of the second half.

So, Sexton led the three-man unit in a game of 3-on-5 and behind Sexton’s 40 points, Alabama almost won. They would eventually lose, 89-84, but Sexton’s performance was more than notable.

Cut to one of my favorite NBA games of the last few years. The young, fun Cleveland Cavaliers were hosting the Brooklyn Nets on Jan. 20, 2021. The Nets, led by Kevin Durant, had just acquired James Harden the week before in a trade with Houston, and Kyrie Irving was returning to action after missing seven games. They were the heel of the NBA and everyone wanted to see them lose.

Sexton seemingly took the challenge personally, scoring 42 points en route to a 147-135 double-overtime victory. The game was insane and Sexton was brilliant.

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Those are the kind of performances that Jazz fans should look to when thinking about what a future could be with Sexton on the Jazz.

The 6-foot-1 guard is incredibly athletic and had a dogged focus and determination that coaches salivate over. His work ethic is also out of this world, as he has reportedly had to be told by coaches in Cleveland to leave the practice gym and get some rest.

Nobody is perfect, and there are certainly some concerns, as there are with almost every player. Sexton’s 3-point shooting efficiency has steadily decreased over his time in the NBA and he hasn’t always lived up to his defensive potential.

But, with time to develop and with a staff that is going to be willing to work with him to make him the best version of himself, Jazz fans should be excited about getting such a dynamic piece back that could really be flourish in the future.

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Donovan Mitchell was voice for change that the Jazz and Utah needed

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 a special guest! Cleveland Cavaliers beat reporter from The Athletic, Kelsey Russo, joins the Unsalvageable crew for an in-depth discussion about the Donovan Mitchell trade and all the moving pieces involved.

The podcast has moved to a new feed so remember to follow or subscribe by searching for “Unsalvageable” through your podcast provider.

New episodes come out every week. You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and anywhere else you stream podcasts.

From the archives

With Donovan Mitchell gone, the Jazz rebuild is underway. But how long will it take?
Looking back at some of Donovan Mitchell’s top moments as a Jazzman — as shared by fans

How to pass the time in the offseason

Now that the Jazz season has come to an end, it means that I have some time to catch up on the things that I love but don’t have enough time for during the NBA season. Here I’ll suggest my latest way to pass the offseason time and also take your suggestions.

A reader recently asked me what I’ve been watching this offseason, so I thought I’d just run through that list. Consider this the most biased, incomplete television review ever.

I started watching “The Sandman” on Netflix and it seems like it’s right up my alley. But then I heard that it’s a graphic novel series and now I want to read the series before I finish the show, because that’s the kind of compulsive nerd I am.

I’ve been watching CBS’s “Big Brother” for what seems like my entire life and without fail I’m watching it every single summer and find myself going back and watching old seasons of it because I love it so much.

I really love “Afterlife” on Netflix, but I have to be careful how many episodes I watch in a row because it makes me cry so much. I’m also not great at dealing with grief in my own life so it can really bring me down if I watch it too much. But it’s so, so, so good.

I finally started watching “Ozark” on Netflix after years of being told I should, and it’s pretty good. If you liked the plot of “Breaking Bad,” you’ll probably enjoy it. I’m still not caught up though, so if you are, no spoilers. I have a lot of family who live in the Ozarks so it does make me a little nostalgic and miss summer nights by the river.

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I’m really looking forward to the return of “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Hulu on Sept. 14 and to finally starting the “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” on Prime Video. That will have to wait til I’m back from vacation.

Extra points

  • What does Rudy Gobert think of Donovan Mitchell’s trade to the Cavaliers? (Deseret News)
  • A timeline of events that led up to the Donovan Mitchell trade (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Are the Cavs contenders? Did the Knicks mess up? The experts weigh in (The Athletic)

Around the league

Lonzo Ball doubtful to start the season with the Bulls as he recovers from left knee surgery.

Patrick Beverley “super excited” to play alongside Russell Westbrook.

Inside the clandestine Basketball Hall of Fame voting process.

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