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Clones in the Pros: Some is Good, Morris Better

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In a shocking development, Monte Morris is dishing out assists and not turning the ball over.

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

NBA

Georges Niang (Utah Jazz)

Three appearances from Georges this week as the Jazz went 3-0 with all three wins by at least 9 points. The Jazz are 4-2 to start the year and coach Quin Snyder hasn’t hesitated to use his bench, allowing Georges to already eclipse total minutes played from 2017. He topped double figures for the first time in his career against the Mavericks on Sunday, scoring 13 points on a blistering 4-5 from the field and 2-3 from 3 point range.

Sure it’s early and an extremely small sample, but take a look at Georges’ efficiency this year. He’s currently shooting 59% from the field and an absurd 54% from 3. He’s also made all 5 of his free throws. His Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is 22.4. See if you’ve heard of these guys currently below that mark: Chris Paul, Victor Oladipo, Devin Booker, LaMarcus Aldridge. I’m not here to tell you he’s better than all of them. I’m just reporting the facts.

Monte Morris (Denver Nuggets)

Monte had his coming out party last week against the Lakers. He was 6-9 (nice) from the field for a career-high 20 points with 3 rebounds and 7 assists with 0 turnovers. He’s now committed just 2 turnovers this season and has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 11.0, and has done it while handling the ball quite a bit. Monte is now making 39% of his field goals and 50% of his 3s. His season averages are 9.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game. He’s probably taken too many mid-range jump shots to this point and has occasionally struggled around the rim. Hopefully this improves as he becomes more comfortable playing the NBA.

Nuggets players and coaches are starting to be more vocal in their praise. Team beat writer Christopher Dempsey had a great column detailing his quick development.

From head coach Mike Malone:

“I didn’t envision him five games into his NBA career (this year) getting 20 and seven in L.A. on national TV,” Malone said. “I can’t imagine anybody aside from Monte and his mom and his brother envisioning that. Really. But that fact that he’s out there doing it; every time we’ve thrown something at him, given him a challenge…now he’s our backup playing 20-plus minutes a night and doing a heck of a job. I think he’s probably a little ahead of schedule in my opinion, but that’s great to see.”

Deonte Burton (Oklahoma City Thunder)

Burton played about 5 minutes in the Thunder’s first win of the season against the Suns last week. He was 0-2 shooting and did not record any other stats. He is officially listed as a 2-way player for the Oklahoma City Blue. Expect him to get extended playing time with them in the coming weeks.

Naz Mitrou-Long (Utah Jazz)

No NBA game time for Naz to this point. He’s officially on the Salt Lake City Stars roster as a 2-way player and will play in Des Moines against the Iowa Wolves on Friday. But more importantly, Naz is playing the role of HYPE MAN.

And TRUTH TELLER.

Abdel Nader (Oklahoma City Thunder)

Nader finally made his team debut, and pulled off an incredible stat line. 2 minutes played, no points, rebounds, assists, field goal attempts, blocks, or turnovers, but 1 personal foul. He’s on an NBA contract for the next 3 years, and it doesn’t appear he’ll be in the G League at all this year.

G League

Along with Nader and Burton, Jameel McKay will start the season with the Windy City Bulls. The minor league Bulls start the season on Friday against the Lakeland Magic.

Coaching

Fred Hoiberg (Chicago Bulls)

The Bulls are just 2-5 to start the year with the 24th ranked defense and 20th ranked offense in the league. While expectations for the season were low, it still must be disappointing that they’ve been blown out 4 times already.