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SALT LAKE CITY — Mike Conley is starting to feel it.
This was the player that was supposed to help put the Jazz among the elite teams of the league, he was supposed to take the pressure off of Donovan Mitchell, he was supposed to be the answer to the Jazz’s nearly decadelong consistency issue at point guard.
Two games in, he’s been none of those things.
Conley is now 4 of 27 in his first two contests with the Jazz. And to make things worse, he had four turnovers to just three assists in Utah’s 95-86 road loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.
The caveat, though: It has been only two games.
Conley has a decade-plus worth of proof that this isn’t him. It’s been a bad start and not how he envisioned his Jazz tenure beginning. But in the end, that’s likely all it will be — a bad start.
Conley, one of the more respected point guards in the league, didn’t suddenly get bad at basketball over the summer. But he admitted that he was pressing slightly on Friday.
“Sometimes it's like being in quicksand — you try harder and harder and it seems that you just keep digging yourself into that hole,” Conley said following Friday’s game.
Conley has yet to hit a shot in the opening half of a Jazz game and on Friday, he struggled with some reads and forced passes that weren’t there.
“We seemed to play a little bit indecisive, hesitant,” Conley said. “We're all trying to make the right plays and the right reads and tonight we're just a little bit out of sync in that aspect of the game.”
Conley, though, thinks everything will click once he starts simply hitting shots. He’s getting the looks he likes — short midrange floaters, open 3-pointers — they just haven’t been falling.
“I like to get guys open but they're giving me shots and I'm getting opportunities,” Conley said. “The reads are there. It's just a matter of just continuing to do it, continue to learn and can't be too worried about it.”
And that’s why he’ll keep shooting until they start going in again. Conley is a 44% career shooter and is 37% in his career from the 3-point line. The last two games have been an anomaly. An anomaly he hopes will end soon.
“I can't shy away from good looks,” Conley said. “I'm getting a lot of good opportunities and just not making them and it is really frustrating for me. But you know, I'm not worried about it. It's just a frustrating part of the year right now, the first two games. So I'm looking forward to tomorrow (Saturday).”