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When the Denver Nuggets were in town to play the Utah Jazz earlier this week, head coach Michael Malone was asked about facing such a young group.

“You gotta understand one thing,” Malone said. “When guys who have not gotten a chance to play most of the year get a chance to play, they play like there is no tomorrow. So for Taylor Hendricks, for Brice Sensabaugh, for Johnny Juzang, who I vote best name in the NBA, those guys are making the most of this opportunity.”

OK, that stuff about young guys playing hungry is great. But I wanted to hear more about Malone’s best name rankings, so I asked if there were others. He laughed and said I’d put him on the spot and he’d have to get back to me but doubled down on Juzang’s name standing out.

“Johnny, he’s so far ahead of the group,” Malone said. “Wouldn’t you agree? Johnny Juzang has to be up there.”

Great question, Michael — and also another interesting piece of the puzzle that is Malone’s interest and matter-of-fact love of names.

I’ve always loved the name Thabo Sefolosha, it just feels good to say it. But among active NBA players, who has the best name? I asked other reporters and some of the Jazz players, and here’s what I’ve come up with. A short list that is in no way definitive, ranked or even final — just a smattering of favorites.

First up, Miami’s Bam Adebayo. Bam is an objectively cool name on it’s own. But during discussion about names, Jazz two-way player Micah Potter informed me that Bam isn’t his real first name, that it’s actually Edrice. What?! Bam is cool, and Edrice Adebayo sounds so regal. Either way, it’s a winning name.

A couple of the Jazz rookies said that LeBron James, even if he wasn’t who he is (one of the greatest players of all time) would have a cool name. I disagree, but OK.

The Portland Trail Blazers might have an awful record but when it comes to names they are filthy rich — Scoot Henderson (whose real first name is Sterling), Toumani Camara, Duop Reath, Rayan Rupert, Matisse Thybulle, Shaedon Sharpe. Honestly, these are all incredible candidates.

Other favorites include the Clippers’ Bones Hyland (real name Nah’Shon), Miami’s Kevin Love and Tyler Herro, Charlotte’s Leaky Black (real name Rechon Malik) and Memphis’ Ja Morant.

What’s your favorite NBA name?

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Quote of the week

“Relief. I wish I could say that it was joyous, but you guys interact with me a lot, I don’t seem very joyous right now. I can feel that I’m definitely relieved and there was a lot of stress probably left out there on the court tonight.” — Jazz coach Will Hardy after the team beat the Rockets, ending a 13-game losing streak

From the archives

Keyonte George is watching more basketball than the average NBA player. Here’s why
How Utah Jazz assistant coach Scott Morrison is raising autism awareness

Extra points

  • Jazz rookie Taylor Hendricks is making strides and finding his voice (Deseret News)
  • In loss to Nuggets, a snapshot of what the Jazz are trying to fix (Deseret News)
  • Belated breakout of Rockets guard Jalen Green has Jazz preaching patience for own young players (

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  • April 14 | 1:30 p.m. MDT | Utah Jazz @ Golden State Warriors | KJZZ