Miye Oni making waves in the bubble as Jazz prepare for playoffs

Miye Oni is making the most of the bubble.

The former Yale standout has made an impact that’s been impossible to ignore for the Utah Jazz in the NBA’s Orlando bubble. Oni seized the day in his first NBA start Friday, notching 14 points and seven rebounds in 30 minutes of play in a 119-111 Jazz loss to the San Antonio Spurs before logging another 10 minutes in a 134-132 overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets Saturday, a game in which Oni contributed three points and two rebounds, and more impressively, the Jazz were +15 with him on the floor.

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Oni’s performance Friday earned rave reviews from Tony Jones of The Athletic:

Jazz coach Quin Snyder sat four starters against the Spurs, but Oni’s continued impact even after Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley and Royce O’Neale returned against Denver. Utah is still trying to figure out how to move on after losing its second-leading scorer, Bojan Bogdanovic, for the season due to wrist surgery, and despite having had just three career NBA points before Friday, Oni has presented himself as a viable bench option for Snyder to turn to as the Jazz look ahead to the playoffs.

“I thought Miye (Oni) at the beginning of the game, his defensive effort, his presence, and Jarrell (Brantley) as well, those two guys on the defensive end really set a tone,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said, according to the New Haven Register. “We weren’t defending real well early but I thought once we dug in on that a little bit we were much better and those two guys had a lot to do with it. To come into the game and to have the willingness to get out and compete on defense and let the game come to you, that’s a formula for opportunity and those two guys got it and they made the most of it.”

“Though it’s still unlikely, with shortened playoff rotations, that Oni or (fellow rookie Jarrell) Brantley will play a large role in the postseason, giving them chances to play now can only help,” Sarah Todd of the Deseret News wrote. “But if situations arise in which foul trouble or injury forces the Jazz to extend their rotation even more than they have since the loss of Bogdanovic, Snyder will have a clearer picture of what the young players can offer.”

 

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Oni also got extensive playing time during the Jazz’s 122-114 loss to the Dallas Mavericks as all starters besides Donovan Mitchell (who didn’t play at all) sat after halftime in what appeared to be a blatant tank job with playoff seeding implications after the Jazz had built a 22-point lead in the third quarter. Utah is now 43-28, currently holds the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference and has one game left – a season finale against the Spurs Thursday.

But Oni has already proven that he can contribute at the NBA level.

“(Oni) showed he may well have a viable future as a 3-and-D wing in the league,” Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune wrote last week.

 

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