Walker Kesler made a record-setting NBA debut for the Jazz

Walker Kesler made a record-setting NBA debut for the Jazz

the previous Auburn Standout Walker Kessler Wednesday night time started his NBA profession by doing one thing no different Utah Jazz rookie has ever carried out.

In Utah’s 123-102 win over the Denver Nuggets, Kessler became the first first-year player to succeed in double figures in factors and rebounds within the Jazz’s season-opening recreation.

“It is fairly neat,” Kessler advised the Utah Jazz Radio Community from courtside after the sport. “Man, it was a blast. We had a whole lot of scorers. I do not know what number of we had in double figures — no less than six or seven.”

The middle made all 5 of his pictures from the ground and went 2-of-6 on the free-throw line for 12 factors and grabbed 10 rebounds in 23:40 court docket time in his NBA debut.

Kessler additionally had an help and a steal with a +/- of 12 towards the Nuggets, however he blocked a shot. Kessler led the nation with an Auburn-record 155 blocked pictures final season, when he gained the Nationwide Affiliation of Basketball Coaches Defensive Participant of the 12 months award.

The twenty second choice of the 2022 NBA Draft, Kessler made his NBA debut with 6:02 left within the first quarter.

With 4:07 left within the opening interval, Kesler boxed out two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic and missed a 3-pointer. Alabama Standout Colin Sexton and used the rim to guard his shot for a putback layup for his first NBA basket, giving Utah a 24-19 lead.

Associated: Watch Jabari Smith’s first NBA basket

“It is bizarre as a result of it is your competitors,” Kessler stated of squaring off towards Jokic, “however on the similar time it is a two-time MVP. It is nice to play towards the perfect gamers on the earth.”

The Jazz had seven double-figure scorers Wednesday night time, led by Sexton with 20 factors in 20:47 in his first recreation for Utah.

The closest a Utah rookie got here to a double-double within the Jazz’s season-opening recreation occurred many years in the past.

On October 10, 1980, Darrell “Dr. Dunkenstein” Griffith had 26 factors and eight rebounds in a 96–86 win over the Portland Path Blazers.

On October 23, 1975, Wealthy Kelly had eight factors and 13 rebounds within the New Orleans Jazz’s 109–91 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

As of Wednesday night time, Griffith and Kelly were the only rookies With no less than eight factors and eight rebounds in a season-opener for the Jazz.

Kessler stated his mom was in a position to make his NBA debut at Vivint Enviornment in Salt Lake Metropolis, however his father was present process surgical procedure and couldn’t be there.

Kessler averaged 11.4 factors, 8.1 rebounds, 1.1. steals and 4.6 blocked pictures per recreation for Auburn final season.

The Memphis Grizzlies drafted Kessler with the twenty second choose within the June 23 NBA draft, then traded him and the twenty ninth choose, Kentucky guard Tite Washington, to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the No. 19 choose Jake Laravia of Wake Forest and a second-round draft choose. selection

The Timberwolves included Kessler within the package deal despatched to the Jazz for heart Rudy Gobert.

Along with the rookie heart, the Jazz obtained Minnesota’s first-round choose within the 2023, 2025 and 2027 NBA drafts and a 2029 first-round choose, which will probably be top-five protected, in addition to gamers Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, three-time NBA Defensive Participant of the 12 months Leandro Ballmaro and Jared Vanderbilt.

Mark Inabinet is a sports activities reporter for Alabama Media Group. Observe him on Twitter @AmarkG1.

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