So, overall, I think the whole Utah Jazz at the Las Vegas Summer League thing went pretty well. Some of our guys showed they belonged in a league, being paid to play 'the basketball', and yet others showed that they belong in the NBA. While the sample size, 5 games, was a bit small for my liking -- it's not like the Jazz would have appreciably discovered more about their players if they had played in one more round and then got bounced. This tournament respects good play, and at times our team did not meet that criteria.
It would appear at though the majority of our fans are still high on this young group, and can't wait to add Trey Burke, Dante Exum, Rodney Hood, and Rudy Gobert back to the real team. Many of us, myself included, would also like to see Ian Clark and Malcolm Thomas return to the Utah Jazz as well. Because I'm a crazy person, I would also like to invite Brock Motum and Erik Murphy to training camp too. Heck, I'd hire Brock right now just to be in the system, be close to Dante, and for him to pal-around with in Idaho or whatever it is we would plan to do with Brock.
My feelings on this are based upon watching the games, and watching the box scores. Together they tell a more compelling and complete story for each of these players. I am assuming you watched the games. If not, then you need to at least read these first hand accounts (here, here, and here), and the quick recaps for each game (here, here, here, here, and here).
Anyway, onwards to the stats!
Utah Jazz Statistics:
For the five games the Jazz averaged 79.2 ppg, and gave up 74.6 ppg. That's a margin of only +4.6 points. That is kinda odd when you factor in that the Jazz had two huge blowouts (+16 over the Bucks; +18 over the Nuggets), and lost only two games. Normally the Jazz should have defeated the 76ers, they lost that game by 4 points, and the Jazz went 3/30 from outside, and Gobert and Thomas missed 10 FTs. Only the Spurs game was a well earned loss. The last game, against the Trail Blazers, was a 2 point victory -- and a much closer game at the end than it should have been. The Jazz were jobbed out of 2 points in the fourth quarter because a ref called offensive basket interference on a Gobert tip in (it wasn't). And while the Jazz were down for most of the first half, they had overt control of it -- Portland just made a bunch of threes at the end to make it close.
Utah, like most teams, didn't shoot that well. They averaged 43 fg% and 66.7 ft%, but caught fire in their last game to bring their over-all average up to 30.1 3pt%. Poor shooting and turn overs plagued the team -- 16.8 turn overs a game, in a 40 minute game is way too many. About a third of them were just nonsense turn overs. Not those caused by the defense, but things like a moving screen or just throwing the ball to your teammate who doesn't know the ball is coming, and it sails out of bounds.
But, what else do you expect when these guys had like 4 days of practice before the games started?
This is the fun part.
So our best players were, surprise, our best players.
Trey Burke and Dante Exum are both going to be fine pros. With the right improvements to their games, and in the right system, both can be stars. Can they both be stars together? I don't know. I do know that both are, without a doubt, point guards. Trey had more on-court production, Dante helped the flow on the court. They both led the team in turn overs per game, so there's that. And they both need to shoot better if they are going to reach stardom. Nick Covington likes the shoot. But thankfully, he made his threes.
Ian Clark is the same guy he was last year. Is that bad? If he's going to be the 4th string point guard and 3rd string shooting guard, then not at all. If he aspires to be more -- and I think we all want him to be more -- then we need to see more of him, and more improvement. He did shoot well enough, which is usually the first requirement to be a shooting guard. He also facilitated for other guys a bit too, being 5th in APG for the club. Chris Roberts didn't get to play much, and hit the boards more than hit his team mates for good scores, or hit the net on shot makes. Dante played a lot of minutes at shooting guard too, and while he has the body and athleticism, he misses that with which primarily defines the position.
Rodney Hood is good. He's not just the Prince of Threes, he's a guy who can help out on the glass, help beat pressure, and be able to drive into the lane and create his own shot. Oh, and he passes too. How did this guy fall to #23? Niels Giffey just looks like he can shoot. That's not me being racist, I mean, if you watch his shot mechanics they are solid, he went for 100% from the free throw line for a reason, it wasn't a fluke. He just didn't make enough of his threes to clearly demonstrate that he is a shooter. He did display some nice finishes at the basket, and when we ran an offense, was good at moving without the ball, and catching and shooting off of screens. I did not see much from him on defense though. And that is a problem most all young players have to face.
Malcolm Thomas put in work on offense and defense, on the inside and outside. He blocked shots and got steals, and he made threes and dunked the ball home. He was a pleasure to watch. He is the most experienced guy on the roster, and played like it. He made all the other power forwards somewhat redundant. Brock Motum did a little of everything too, but he's a less refined player (for instance, he doesn't have a hesitation move from the face up like Thomas has). But no one works harder than this guy, he leaves it all out on the floor. He's Mr. Floor burn. He's Mr. Garbage Man. He never stops going to where the ball is going, he has a real nose for it. Through his efforts I became a fan. Offensive rebounds. Second chance points. Three pointers. This guy would have started for Jerry Sloan, and dominated. Think Adam Keefe with a three pointer. Even though Thomas made everyone else redundant, this guy is someone I want on the team.
Rudy Gobert is ready for the next level. Really, that's it. Erik Murphy had his ups and downs, but is clearly inferior to both Thomas and Gobert. And Motum made more of an impact as well. He seems to be the odd man out, even if I have a soft spot for him for some reason that is beyond logic. I guess I just don't want to hate on him. Greg Somogyi is big, and tall, and a good measuring stick to use to build a frame of reference for Gobert. Somogyi is big and tall and that's it. Gobert is big and tall, and an actual athlete, who is going to be a solid NBA basketball player. Jamal Washburn. Wait, what? His name is Jason Washburn? When did this happen? He's always been Jason Washburn? Who is Jamal then? Damn. Okay, Jason Washburn didn't play a lot. In the table above he is called Jamal. I don't know how this happened. "Jason", if that is your real name, didn't do much and after his first experiences with the coaches they rushed to bring back Somogyi who they had previous just cut a day or two ago. That's all you need to know.
This was a fun team to watch at times, and the LVSL is a fun tournament. I will say that Dante exceeded my expectations for him on the defensive end, and pretty much matched my expectations for him on offense. Hood exceeded my expectations on both ends. Rudy met my expectations (I felt like he would be this good). Trey and Clark did not. And Thomas really, really is a no-brainer for the Jazz to bring back, even if they have a billion bigmen already.