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Utah Jazz rookie Keyonte George named to one of the NBA’s All-Rookie teams

George was one of the bright spots in an otherwise disappointing season for the Jazz.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz guard Keyonte George (3) signals to his team as the Utah Jazz host the Cleveland Cavaliers in NBA action at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, April 2, 2024.

Before the season started, Utah Jazz rookie Keyonte George gave himself a lofty goal.

“I want to be Rookie of the Year,” he said in October.

While that accolade went to Victor Wembanyama of the San Antonio Spurs, George was still recognized for his performance in his first NBA season.

George was named to the All-Rookie Second Team, the league announced Monday. He averaged 13 points, 4.4 assists, and 2.8 rebounds in 27 minutes per game. He played 75 games and started 44.

“I like the baseline that I have for myself,” George said during his exit interview. “I like the way I competed day in and day out.”

Wembanyama, Chet Holmgren (Oklahoma City), Brandon Miller, (Charlotte), Jaime Jaquez Jr. (Miami) and Brandin Podziemski (Golden State) made the All-Rookie first team.

The others on the All-Rookie second team are GG Jackson II (Memphis), Dereck Lively II (Dallas), Amen Thompson (Houston) and Cason Wallace (Oklahoma City).

George is the fourth Jazz player to be named to the All-Rookie second team. The other three were Derrick Favors, Paul Millsap and Blue Edwards.

Now George is setting his sights on his offseason. He said he wants to get in better shape and become stronger. He mentioned wanting to develop “an elite-level handle,” being consistent throughout the season, and trying to “be that guy to where you leave me open, you know it’s good.”

George added that he wants to get to the point defensively where he is one of the players relied upon to guard some of the league’s best guards, including Devin Booker and Steph Curry.

“When it comes to that, I just want to be versatile,” George said.

George shot 39.1% from the field and 33.4% from the 3-point line. His best game from beyond the arc was on Feb. 15 against the Golden State Warriors, when he made nine 3s, tying an NBA record for rookies.

The Jazz didn’t make the playoffs in 2023-24 and finished with a record of 31-51. As the season wound down, George became the team’s No. 1 option with plenty of success.

It’s unclear what kind of team the Jazz will have next season. There’s talent with the likes of George, Lauri Markkanen, Walker Kessler and Jordan Clarkson. Plus, the team has the No. 10 pick in the upcoming draft, which it could keep or trade.

George will be a key piece of whatever the Jazz do moving forward. And aside from getting in the lab and acquiring some new skills, he wants to become a better player mentally as well.

“The word for me next year is going to be ‘emotional intelligence’ for sure,” George said.