This is it, the last day of the Utah Summer League 2015. I can't wait for next season, which apparently won't be at the Energy Solutions Arena if you read the Downbeat. There have been some nice performances in the limited games. The Philadelphia 76ers came to play with Jahlil Okafor, Furkan Aldemir, and Jerami Grant -- and for the most part these three guys have been pretty okay. Aldemir looks like a pro, and Okafor looks like he could develop into a beast. The Boston Celtics were armed by Marcus Smart, and a lot of youth. Smart looks like he's going to continue being a menace at the NBA level, in a good and bad way. Sadly, R.J. Hunter hasn't looked like the Dell Curry clone he appeared to be pre-draft. The San Antonio Spurs continue to be excellent with their legion of smart, team-first foreign players. They are almost plug and play, and could have easily been 2-0 going into the last day, their late game play has that Spurs DNA in it. And these are guys who for the most part have never played with one another before. Of course, I am obligated to say that Kyle Naderson sucks. He's a good player, but he looks like the kind of guy who will somehow hit a game winner against our squad at some point. And this brings me to the hosts, the Utah Jazz. I think the number one group of people who have benefited from this Summer League are the Jazz.
More exposure. More chance to use their facilities that are all already paid for. More chance to work out these prospects. And overall, more experience for their very youngest players. Sure, Dante Exum got hurt in game one, and had to miss game two. And Grant Jerrett did the exact same thing too. So that's a loss. But you take that chance every time you step out on the court.
There's unfinished business between the non-guranteed players (Bryce Cotton, Chris Johnson, and Jack Cooley), and a number of true rookies (guys who went drafted and undrafted like Trey Lyles, Olivier Hanlan, J.J. O'Brien, Nick Wiggins, and so forth) are still looking to get their shot. There's internal competition and external competition here. And game three is going to show the coaches and front office guys who wants it the most.
And there's been the Rodney Hood apotheosis. Recency bias has a lot of people assuming he's going to displace Alec Burks as the starter next season. I don't think that's going to happen. But at the same time, you cannot deny the confidence he is playing with, nor can you argue against his on court results. He needs to sleepwalk his way to 15 points and he'll win the USL 2015 MVP award.
Friday, July 9th:
- 5:00 PM MT: Boston Celtics vs. San Antonio Spurs
- 7:00 PM MT: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Utah Jazz
Anyway, two games tonight. The biggest test for the Jazz, going up against a team with an actual bigman. Jack Cooley has looked dominant, but he's gotten away with playing undersized guys. On the flip side, I don't think Philly has had to deal with a guy like Rodney yet. And he could eat them up.