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Lauri Markkanen’s highlight pass wasn’t a pass at all

Jazz All-Star explains how crazy assist during game against the Bulls was actually a shot

SHARE Lauri Markkanen’s highlight pass wasn’t a pass at all
Utah Jazz’s Lauri Markkanen saves a ball from going out of bounds vs. Chicago Bulls, Nov. 6, 2023, in Chicago.

Utah Jazz’s Lauri Markkanen saves a ball from going out of bounds during game against the Chicago Bulls Monday, Nov. 6, 2023, in Chicago. The save resulted in an easy two.

Charles Rex Arbogast, Associated Press

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The Utah Jazz have not been playing very well, and they’ve had some embarrassing and bad losses over the last week. But, in the midst of one of those losses, there was a lighthearted and fun moment.

Against the Chicago Bulls, Lauri Markkanen saved a ball from going out of bounds and without looking, chucked the ball as far as he could behind his back. Well, the ball went right into the hands of Kelly Olynyk, who was standing right under the Jazz’s basket, and the Jazz got an easy two points.

For those that haven’t seen the play, here it is:

Well, I talked to Markkanen and Olynyk after the Bulls game about the pass and the first thing that Markkanen did was correct me.

“It wasn’t a pass,” he said. “I was trying to make it. Seriously.”

While that’s a little bit of a stretch, he wasn’t lying. He had his back to the basket and he didn’t want the ball to go out of bounds or for it to go to one of the Bulls players near him where they’d be able to run out for an easy fast break. So in that instant, he just figured he’d throw it as close to the basket as possible.

“A perfect pass,” Olynyk said with a laugh. “The best passes are always missed shots.”

And even though Olynyk was laughing when he said it, we’ve heard something similar before.

Donovan Mitchell once said that the best lob dunks come off passes that aren’t very good, or on missed shots. The reason is because a perfect lob pass makes for a really pretty and usually easy dunk. But the ones that come from something funky, those are the ones that look the craziest and get the best reactions.

So, the biggest take away here is that Olynyk probably missed out by not trying to somehow turn this into a dunk highlight. Could have ended up being the best one of the year.

There’s always next time.

New with the Jazz

Quote of the week

“It’s the most important development in basketball since the peach basket went up.” — Will Hardy joking when asked about the in-season tournament

From the archives

Stat of the week

In his first NBA start, rookie Keyonte George finished with an impressive nine assists and just one turnover. George is also leading all rookies in total assists, having dished out 35 through nine games.

Extra points

  • Walker Kessler will miss at least two weeks with elbow injury (Deseret News)
  • Can Walker Kessler and John Collins successfully play together? (Deseret News)
  • The Jazz are one of the worst defensive teams for two key reasons (Deseret News)
  • Mike Conley calls being traded from Jazz, ‘weirdest day of my life’ (KSL.com)

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Up next: 2023-24 regular season

  • Nov. 14 | 7 p.m. | Utah Jazz vs. Portland Trail Blazers | KJZZ
  • Nov. 17 | 8 p.m. | Utah Jazz vs. Phoenix Suns | ESPN

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