So Summer league is over for the Utah Jazz for another season. And the doldrums are approaching as we have few roster spots to fill yet (point guard? point guard? anyone? anyone? point guard?) . . . but we're not quite there yet. In the Orlando Summer Pro League the Jazz qualified for the bronze medal game (the 3 vs 4 match) as the #3 seed, and faced off against the team that we had just lost to, the Indiana Pacers. Then we lost to that team again, so essentially, we dropped off the medal ceremony podium with our play. And really, I don't think our team cares as Evans, Burks, Christmas and others all sat out that game. I'll go over each game later . . . but let's look at the player stats.
We did a poll on who passed the eyeball test a while back. Now let's dig into the stats . . . in the simplest way possible.
We've lost Earl Watson and traded away Randy Foye. Mo Williams, who knows what's up with that guy? And well, our current hope I guess is Obi Wan. Jamaal Tinsley. Why do I say that? I say that because our PG play is going to be inconsistent this year. It was last year too -- but from what we saw in Orlando, the guys who are on the floor to lead our offense did not do great. Yes, Neto passed the eye-ball test, but not the numerical one. Burke shot really poorly for him, and that's his strength as a player. McNeal defended well, but he's not going to be a legit NBA backup ever. I think he's a 3rd stringer or worse. Michael Stockton is the one who really was a surprise for me here. Why? Because he played so much better LAST Orlando summer league when he averaged: 12.8 mpg, 3.6 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 2.0 apg (2.0 a:to ratio), and 0.6 spg.
Neto, to his credit, was neat-o with the ball in his hands and was a good decision maker (better than some guards in this years draft like Shane Larkin, etc), but he also failed to connect from distance. We love him though. We also love Trey Burke -- but I think we expected more from him than 9 points, 4 assists, and 3.5 rebounds. (Maan, Shabazz Muhammad better not be good)
For all of his confidence, control, and added composure -- I think you could argue that Alec played better, or at least, performed better last Orlando Summer league as well. He played more back then, and was more aggressive -- but this time around he was much better from distance. So that's shows growth and an improved game. Tyrone Corbin did not need to play him a lot, and held him out of two games.
Beyond Burks, four guys played the lion's share of the wing minutes: Roberts, Brooks, Christmas, and Gaffney. Out of these guys I think Roberts played the best. He led this class group in minutes per game, points per game, fg%, and tied for first in steals per game. He has legit NBA three point range, and demonstrated an ability to play within a system / cut well off the ball, and so on. Jeff Brooks did not shoot so well, but played a lot of minutes (maybe this is a product of Burks sitting out of two games?). However, the guy everyone was talking about was Dionte Christmas -- but that's mostly because of his name. Christmas can fill up a stat sheet, but really did not demonstrate a shooting ability that gives me any confidence. Both he and Roberts are 25 and older, so at this stage, this is a good thing for our really young team.
Gaffney looked really good against Brooklyn, and I think that one good game bumped up his averages for the 5 game tournament. He scored 13 points in that game off of 80 fg%. He went 2/8 in the rest of the week. Yikes.
Yeah. All hail the eventual logjam at the NBA level! Jeremy Evans looks like a player this year, and Rudy Gobert was much better than he showed at the NBA Draft Combine. Those two guys have length for days, get a lot of deflections, change shots, block shots, and finish well around the rim. Together they averaged 15 ppg, 13 rpg, 3 apg, 4 bpg, and 1.5 spg. For a team the Jazz averaged 76 ppg, 37 rpg, 15 apg, 7 bpg, and 8 spg. So that's not a small portion of the production pie. They were best in class as well, with Evans showing off an improved midrange jumper, and Gobert being a willing and smart passer (5 assists, 1 turnover) who hit clutch free throws for a novice basketball player. Also of note is that Rudy played 6.9 mins in one of his 5 games, which lowered his actual per game values. His per 36 were off the charts (9.2 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 1.7 apg, 4.1 bpg).
Mays and Mahalbasic were also good. While they were not hype efficient scorers who throw down dunks all day, they played a more measured game and were effective on the floor. Mays blocked 1.8 shots a game, and Rasid did a little of everything. The guy who we all expected to do more, Amath M'Baye, failed to live up to expectations. He even started the first game of the summer league (when we started and played our best players). He shot only 14.3 fg%. Ouch.
William Buford, Rodney Green, Drew Gordon, Rick Jackson, and the missing-in-action Delroy James -- you guys did not get a chance to show off your game against your peers in front of scouts. That sucks for you guys on the professional level, and I hope that you guys continue to play the game you love on some level.
For the guys on the team (Burke, McNeal, Burks, Evans, and Gobert) -- I think they all did okay. Evans looked great, but he should, he's going into his fourth year. Burks dominated, but he should, he was a lotto pick going into his third year. Burke did not do so hot, but how much stock do we put into 4 games in Orlando vs 76 games for Michigan?
Out of the guys currently NOT on the team, I like Neto the best of the bunch. Chris Roberts also looked good. I'd keep along Rashid and ask him to come to training camp -- if at least just to have a chance to write "Sheeeeeed" in gamethreads.