Utah Jazz head coach Will Hardy had some great things to say about rookie Walker Kessler as a shot blocker after Wednesday’s 131-128 home win vs. the Toronto Raptors (7 blocks).
(via Jump View):
“He’s very quick off the floor late, if that makes sense. Like he doesn’t just give himself up early, he’s able to close a lot of space with his last step and his length. Having 5 blocks in the 1st quarter, his activity, it just sparks the whole team. And when you have a guy like that protecting the rim, the biggest thing it does for our perimeter defenders is it frees you up. You feel like you can play more aggressively on the ball because you do know if you do make a mistake, there’s somebody behind you who is cleaning up a lot of those messes. So he’s given our team a whole different level of confidence on that end, just with the way that he protects the basket over and over again.
“It’s not just the 7 blocks, we could probably find 10, 15 other shots that he alters or that guys don’t even take, like he’s starting now to get the reputation around the league where guys see him and they sort of veer off and go the other way. So he’s been huge for us. I think his growth, his confidence, has been something that we’re really proud of as a group. He definitely is kinda feeling like he belongs and he’s somebody that’s anchoring our defense right now. So he knows that every night is not gonna be 7 blocks, but his activity remains consistent every night.”