After being chosen by the Jazz with the 16th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft last month, Keyonte George is out to prove himself this Summer League. The thing is, in only two games, he’s already captured the eyesight of many fans and basketball experts.
The 19-year-old wants to learn as much as he can about the NBA during this summer competition, as he intends to show everyone around he is capable of leading his team from the point-guard role.
When asked about his idols, George has mentioned Nuggets star Jamal Murray and Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, but has a special place in his heart for Russell Westbrook. The 2017’s Most Valuable Player in the NBA was a force to be reckoned with, recording triple-doubles as he went up and down the floor with an incessant motor in his lungs.
This past week, he’s been giving small glimpses of his potential, dropping an average of 16 points in the first two clashes of the Summer League.
Keyonte George through 2 games of Summer League
How have you felt about Keyonte so far? pic.twitter.com/r2R1xAnzHQ
— Jazz Lead (@JazzLead) July 6, 2023
The teenager admits that now he’s dedicating his time to view players closer to his age that he feels he can imitate on court, as he mentioned he’s been keeping an eye close on the current championship-winning point guard in Denver.
“This year I watched a lot of Jamal Murray,” he confessed. “A point guard that can get downhill, get to his spots. I’m just trying to take little things from his game, taking notes on the different shots that he was getting in the playoffs.”
During his predraft workouts, George took advice seriously from scouts and trainers in the NBA as he was already expected to land in Utah. Once he did, the athlete reveals he’s been using all the feedback as fuel to become the next big point guard in the NBA, not just a shooter.
“Everything that people have said, I’ve already heard…I’ve seen all the media talking about this and that, the assist-to-turnover ratio,” the rising star claimed. “So that’s something I wanted to improve on and show people that I can be a point guard, I can take care of the ball.”
The 19-year-old has impressed fans and experts after his two first Summer League games with the Jazz
After completing an impressive first-year in college for Baylor, Utah selected George as the 16th overall pick trusting that he has what it takes to be one of the main playmakers for the Jazz this season, just as he believes it so.
In his first match wearing his new jersey on Monday, he dropped a team-high 18 points and added 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals with just one turnover.
Utah’s Summer League head coach Evan Bradds delivered praise in his direction after the rookie’s debut.
“Very impressed from the get-go,” he revealed. “One thing, just seeing him out there talking and pointing, kind of helping direct guys into the right spots, I was very impressed with just his overall awareness…He got switched onto some bigger guys early on and even late and I thought his fight was great, and that’s exactly what I was hoping to see.”
George, on the other hand, knows that he’s only going to get better. “Shots are gonna fall at the end of the day,” the player said. “So it’s just about showing that I can take care of the ball, make the right reads and things of that nature.”