Utah Jazz: Malik Fitts has a shot to become an ideal fit

Utah Jazz newcomer Malik Fitts (Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz newcomer Malik Fitts (Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports) /

Utah Jazz newcomer Malik Fitts potentially has the weapons to fit the mold.

The Utah Jazz filled out their preseason roster this week with two young prospects via Exhibit 10 deals. Now alongside their teammates at the franchise’s ongoing training camp in Las Vegas, the newbies are former Duke basketball center Marques Bolden and former Saint Mary’s star Malik Fitts.

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Last season, Fitts made three brief mop-up appearances for the Los Angeles Clippers. But the 6-foot-8, 230-pound chiseled forward, who went undrafted in 2020 after four years in college, spent most of his time in the G League with the Agua Caliente Clippers. The Clippers ultimately waived him in April.

A battle for the final Utah Jazz roster spot

Malik Fitts hasn’t yet proven his worth in the NBA. Still, his smooth stroke from downtown and aggressive defense at St. Mary’s suggest that he could be a valuable contributor for the Utah Jazz someday. As a Gaels senior on a squad that reached No. 18 in the AP Top 25, the lengthy athlete averaged 16.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.4 steals while shooting 40.8 percent from three.

To have any shot at landing a permanent spot on the roster via a guaranteed contract, though, the 24-year-old Fitts must first prove more valuable than the other three guys currently vying for a place with the 2021-22 Jazz bunch. They are Marques Bolden, Derrick Alston Jr., and MaCio Teague.

After all, Utah appears to have only one opening available at the moment for the opening day roster.

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The Jazz season officially tips off on Oct. 20 with a home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Preseason action gets underway on Monday with a 6:30 p.m. MT road contest against the San Antonio Spurs.