So I am sort of surprised that no one has written a review of the Jazz scrimmage that was held at the ESA on saturday night. I attended and had a great time, so I figure I could post my thoughts about the entire event.
First off, I think it's important to note that Jazz fans are awesome. The entire lower bowl was filled and the upper had quite a few people as well. What an awesome turnout for a scrimmage! For all of our new guys, I hope this the first of many experiences they will have that shows them how how great it can be to play in Utah. I wont comment too much on the player interviews or any of the other festivities, but I will touch on the dance off. Kanter was terrible, unless you consider shrugging your shoulders dancing. Burkes was okay, Paul Carter was even better, but Scottie Reynolds was clearly the best with his quasi-robot like dancing.
Now to the basketball. Milsap, Jefferson and Howard did not play, so I will not be discussing anything about them.
So, im sure eveyone wants to hear about the rookies first, so here ya go.
Enes Kanter did not play well. Starting from the dance-off and all through the game, he just looked confused and lost. While some may think that these are bad signs from a #3 pick, i'm really not too worried about it. He showed some solid post moves and looked like he felt comfortable with the ball for the most part. He had a few traveling penalties called on him, and had a few turnovers as well. I don't have anyone's final numbers, but I think Enes ended with 5 or 6 points and a couple of rebounds. Interesting to note that he actually started at the 4 with Memo starting as the 5 on the white team. This meant the he was matched up against Favors for most of the game. I think most people overlook how good of a job he did guarding Favors. He was great at keeping him out of the paint, and denying the pass to Favors. He also shot a couple free throws that looked silky smooth. Overall I am still excited for this guy and cant wait for him to get some experience in this league.I think a couple weeks of the D league would be a good idea for this guy.
Alec Burkes played okay. He had a few flashes of quickness, and showed that he has strong basketball instincts, but he didn't exactly blow me away. His first possession of the game he drained a 3, so that was very promising. The rest of the game he did miss a couple of open shots though. I was very eager to watch him shoot, so I had my eyes on him throughout most of the warm up drills. I still have a little concern about his shooting motion. His overall form looks great, but the execution needs a lot of work. He gets up high when he shoots which is a bonus, but he has a very noticeable pause before he starts moving the ball forward. To me his shot almost reminds me of a catapult, the ball gets loaded and just sort of gets hurled at the rim. There have been many guys in the league with unconventional shots that make it work, so I think as long as he keeps working with Horny he should be fine. One thing I will note is that Raja guarded him most the game and did an excellent job if it.
Gordon Hayward played excellent. He definitely added a few pounds to his frame during the lockout. Overall he played very aggressively, shot the ball well, and got to the rim a lot. He also played some very solid defense. He was noticeably more confident in all aspects of the game. Not much else to say here, Gordo did not disappoint. I have VERY high hopes for him this year.
Derrick Favors did not impress me as much as I had hoped. Like Gordo, he also put on a few pounds this off season which was clearly noticeable. As I mentioned above, Kanter guarded him most the game and did a very good job. The one thing I noticed about Favors that I had not seen before was his ball handling. We got to see him with the ball in the open court a little and he looked very skilled and comfortable. Almost reminded me of a Lamar Odom (yeah, I just said that). While Favors didn't do a whole lot offensively, he was excellent defensively. He was all over Kanter for most of the night which was fun to watch. He also played excellent help defense around the rim which caused a lot of problems for the opposing team. Overall I wish we would have seen more out of him offensively, but I am still encouraged by his play.
Jeremy Evans played well, and of course had a few monster dunks. He must have spent a lot of time with Gordo in the gym, because he also put on some weight. Overall I don't have much to say here, you know exactly what you are going to get with Evans.
And now for some of the older guys.
CJ Miles played like he had a lot to prove. He was aggressive, shot the ball well, and drove to the rim a lot. I have been down on CJ for a long time now, but I was very encouraged by his play. Competition for the wing spots must really be heating up with Gordon playing well, and Howard coming to town. Overall CJ was excellent and showed that we still have reason keep him around.
Raja also played very well. As mentioned above, he gave Burkes a headache for most of the night. Aside from his solid D, he was also shooting the ball very well. I know he made a couple 3s and a few jump shots as well, so he appears to have a little left in the tank. I was not happy with his play last season, but if he can hit a few shots, and help mentor Burkes, I will be glad to keep Raja around.
Devin Harris played well. He did not do a lot offensively, but he had a few nice passes and 6 assists. Considering he is one of our vets, he actually played a lot. Not much else to say here, he played like I expected him to play.
Memo got the best applause from the crowd when he was introduced on Saturday. He was clearly a corwd favorite. I have to say that physically he looked excellent. He looked trim and moved very well. He didn't do much in the game, missing all the shots that he took, but seeing him standing out on the 3 stretching the defense was an encouraging sign. I don't think he played a lot of minutes, so that may have contributed to his lack of points.
Earl also played well, but didn't do a whole lot. I was glad to see him back on the team, so I really didn't care about his play. Great solid backup PG.
That sums up my thoughts on the guys who are actually on our team. As for the guys who are competing for a roster spot I noticed a few things. Tinsley and Mcleod looked about the same to me. Tinsley seemed like the better passer, but Mcleod seemed like the better defender. Reynolds is clearly a high energy type of guy, but he really just looked like a less explosive version of Ronnie Price. If I had to keep one of these guys, I would take Mcleod and his defense. Honestly, I didn't notice anything from Paul Carter or Trey Gilder. Since we signed Howard, I figured we will never see either of these guys on the court.
The overall experience was great. The event was fun, the team looks pretty good, and I cant wait for the season to start. The new defensive scheme we are working on still needs to be perfected, but I would not be surprised to see this team battle for a playoff spot. If anyone has anything else to add, or think my evaluation was poor, feel free to comment.
As for Paul Carter and Trey Gilder, I didn’t see anything from these guys to form much of an opinion. I suspect both would make a suitable 14th man on the team if we really needed them.
Overall the event was very fun, and I have high hopes for our team. I think we have enough young guys that our team will be pretty exciting to watch, even if we don't win a lot of games.