Wow. So much news to report! The Utah Jazz lost their first game in the Las Vegas Summer league to the Philadelphia 76ers. Not only that, but it was Philly's awful roster after sitting out their talented players. It was a 4 pt game (recaps here, here, and here), but an entirely winnable game. For example, Rudy Gobert and Malcolm Thomas went a combined 6 for 16 from the free throw line. If they split the difference, and make 5 more free throws, it's a one point Jazz win. Little things like that will make you go crazy though.
They are 0-1 so far in the prelim stage.
There are six teams that are 2-0 (Bulls, Knicks, Wizards, Pelicans, Cavaliers, and Warriors). Two teams that are 1-0 (Heat, 76ers). And eight teams that are 1-1 (Trail Blazers, Kings, Suns, NBA D-League Select, Raptors, Spurs, Nuggets, and Mavericks). The good news is that the Jazz are ahead of six teams, by the virtue of them being 0-2 right now (Timberwolves, Bucks, Hawks, Hornets, Rockets, and Lakers).
And the Jazz are currently tied with the Clippers are 0-1.
Utah plays two more games in this stage: the first against the 0-2 Bucks, and the second against the 1-1 Nuggets. For both teams it will be their last game of the prelim stage. Milwaukee will be desperate for a win after losing 70-68 against the Cavs, and then 93-82 to the Suns. They have been led by Giannis Antetokounmpo (16.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.0 apg), Nate Wolters (11.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.5 apg), and Jabari Parker (14.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 1.5 apg) -- and I think they really go hard against Utah. As for the Nuggets, well, it's all or nothing for them. They beat the Raps 110-82, then lost to the Bulls 103-76. Rookie guard Gary Harris is leading the charge (21.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.5 apg), and getting some help along the way from Quincy Miller (24.5 pgg, 6.0 rpg, 3.0 apg) and Erick Green (16.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.5 apg).
I had hoped that the Jazz would go 2-1 in the prelims, but it may be difficult after laying the egg they did on Saturday in front of a home crowd. Anyway, tonight's game is available on the radio (1320), TV (KJZZ), and online (NBA Summer League Broadband -- no blackouts, only $4.99).
If you want more breakdowns of the summer league, like what the other teams/players are doing, ask for it. I will provide the content you desire.
Late last night a sharp shooter rode into town, looking for a saloon, a girl, and some trouble. Okay, maybe none of those things happened. But non-cowboy Steve Novak landed in Salt Lake City (source: reported by the player).
...I have touched down in beautiful SLC! pic.twitter.com/LjAvWDv3MB— STEVE NOVAK (@stevenovak16) July 14, 2014
It's going to be interesting to see just when Quin Snyder tells him he's only playing 12 mpg here.
Speaking of hotel vistas, Dante Exum had this to share with the class:
Celebrating my birthday in Vegas with the family and friends. Amazing View from the High Roller Ferris… http://t.co/FjjnV86w0P— Danté Exum (@daanteee) July 14, 2014
STAY AWAY FROM THAT WINDOW! YOU COULD FALL,
DEAR SWEET SUMMER CHILD!
(Also, N.B. The Red Bull can in his hand!)
Dante has been blowing up, though. National writers are drooling about his one performance so far. Analysts are feverishly revising their lists. And draft experts are just slowly, and methodically hitting their heads against their keyboard, almost in some meditative zen ritual.
We like him too.
It's okay to be happy with his performance, and the potential is all there. But let's not expect greatness, let's temper that a bit and let him grow into greatness. He's going to have some bad nights during the season, even into his second season. But he could be that star we're looking for.
If you punch in his one game numbers for the summer league (10 pts, 3 reb, 3 ast, 1 made three) into Basketball-Reference, there are only 17 players in their database who have ever averaged at least something like that for their rookie season. Allen Iverson, Damon Stoudamire, Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Steve Francis, O.J. Mayo, Jerry Stackhouse, Kerry Kittles, Jamal Mashburn, Jason Williams, Kirk Hinrich, Brandon Jennings, Brandon Knight, Raymond Felton, Kemba Walker, and Walt Williams are those players. Some were point guards, some shooting guards, two were small forwards, and effectively, all of them played hybrid games.
One thing many of them had in common beyond their on court production what they they had a little something special to their games. It's hard to quantify, but you know it when you see it.
And a player who has that is something this team has been missing for quite a few seasons now.
If you missed it, Marvin Williams and Richard Jefferson, two of the three small forwards who started for us last year, have moved onto other teams. The other small forward who started for us last year, Gordon Hayward , is going to be staying. So the team is going to need at least two new starters. The team also needs at least three more players on the team too.
See the cheat sheet here:
And vote below on how the Jazz are going to fill out their roster!