Keyonte George has a lot of potential but a lot of issues as well

Keyonte George had a great offensive game but his defense was as bad as his offense was good
Golden State Warriors v Utah Jazz
Golden State Warriors v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages

It's bad enough when Klay Thompson comes off the bench and cooks you from three points like he was on The Iron Chef. It's even worse when he cooks you, and it's because your defense doesn't even try. More so, when guys like Keyonte George don't try. George is currently being celebrated for a great offensive game, which he did have. He had an amazing offensive game and a bad defensive one. Despite what the current NBA would tell you, defense matters when it comes to winning games.

Just because the NBA has neutered defenses over the last 20 years with various rule changes, doesn't mean that it isn't still important, so while we should all tip our cap to the shooting night George had, we cannot forget that the Jazz lost due to his, and some of his teammates play, on defense. You may think this is unfair, but how many times did George give space to shooters on the perimeter and never close out?

One of the worst examples of this came in the first quarter with about three minutes left to go, Gary Payton set a pick on Kris Dunn and allowed Thompson to get open. George, who was on Payton, dropped back a step and allowed Dunn and Payton to tangle up. This left Thompson wide open, George backed off, let Thompson get open, and hit an uncontested three. Where's the help defense? Nowhere to be seen.

Now it wasn't all on George, for some reason the Jazz had Dunn on a non-shooter like Draymond Green at times, and really still think guys like John Collins (who guarded Thompson far too often) and Jordan Clarkson are going to provide any defensive help whatsoever. Let's not even talk about Taylor Hendricks' defense right now, because it may be the worst on the team.

Even Walker Kessler was left on an island with Thompson for a time or two. How do you even allow that to happen as a coach?

But George is the one with the most pressure to perform and rightfully so. He's in the starting lineup, he knows the team just lost three of their five best defenders, and he needs to help fortify that effort. He's replacing the best defender on the team in Dunn in the lineup, he needs to be better on defense. You don't win by scoring points only. If they're hitting open shots, and playing solid defense on you, how are you ever going to keep up with their output?

That's what happened last night. The Jazz looked great on offense, even with Lauri Markkanen having a bad night shooting. Yet, the Warriors offense was left unchecked too often, which isn't all on George. George, however, is just the rookie that many people seem to think will turn into a star. If he doesn't start playing defense better than Clarkson, we're not sure that's going to happen.

George as a defender isn't it, at least not yet. Then again, it's not like it matters too much, the Jazz are no longer trying to win, not as an organization and certainly not on the court. While George's defense needs to improve individually, who did play well on defense on Thursday? Dunn was at least trying, sure, but the energy on the team felt off.

They had the lead for a good while in the game, and then it looked like they just stopped trying.

That said, we do want to praise George a bit, as his three-point shooting has improved a lot since the start of the season. He was barely above 30% for a good bit of the season, shooting just 30% in January from three. In February, he's shooting 45%, and his season average has risen nearly to 35% from three. A lot better number than he'd been hitting at.

Offensively he's improving. Though he's far from finished on that end either. We'd like to see him focus more on passing too, as his assists trailed off over the last couple of months, before rebounding in February.

George has all the potential in the world it looks like, and we're just hoping he fulfills it.

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