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Utah Jazz Player Profile: Kenneth Lofton Jr. Outlook in SLC

Utah Jazz forward Kenneth Lofton Jr. will attempt to crack the 2024-25 rotation.
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Early Monday morning, the Utah Jazz made a series of moves to bolster their depth in the short and potentially long term. The Jazz handed out three-year non-guaranteed contracts to Darius Bazley & Kenneth Lofton Jr. To make room for these additions, the Jazz waived Otto Porter Jr. and, presumably, Taevion Kinsey- neither player appeared in a game for the Jazz.

The first move that the team announced was the signing of Kenneth Lofton Jr. The Jazz will be the 21-year-old’s third team this year- after starting the season with the Memphis Grizzlies, Lofton appeared in 17 combined games for the Grizzlies and the Philadelphia 76ers. In those matchups, he registered averages of two points, one rebound, and one assist in extremely limited action.

The Louisiana Tech alumni won the G-League Rookie of the Year Award last year for his play with the Memphis Hustle. This season, he has gaudy averages of 26 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists per game in the G-League. He’s an efficient offensive player who does much of his damage in the paint- nearly 53% of his buckets are in the paint. On top of that, Lofton creates a lot of his offense on his own- 43% of his made baskets are unassisted, which is very impressive.

Lofton possesses a unique combination of skill and strength that he uses to get to the basket at will. Once there, he has a great touch that helps him convert at a high level. Aside from scoring, he is also a good rebounder and passer, which he’s been able to showcase in his extended minutes.

While Lofton has been a very productive G-League player, his fit with the Jazz is a little iffy. At 6’6, he’s undersized as a big and doesn’t possess much versatility on the defensive end. I would've expected someone who fits that profile a little more for a Jazz team that ranks near the bottom of the league in defense. Given where the Jazz are in their rebuild and the point of the season, it’s hard to find an issue with the Jazz taking a look at a player as productive as Lofton.

With just 18 games left, it’s unclear what role Lofton will have with the Jazz this season. If he can get on the floor, he will bring an element of passing that most of the current roster struggles with at times. Because his contract is non-guaranteed, we’ll see what his future with the team looks like going forward. The Jazz’s upcoming offseason looms large and could bring forth some big changes. Signing Lofton is a low-risk move that allows them to get their eyes on a young player who’s been extremely productive in the G-League.