Okay, the Utah Jazz played in both the Salt Lake City and Las Vegas Summer Leagues this summer, like they had for the last few off-seasons. This year they went 0-3 in Utah, and 3-3 in Nevada. The team made the tournament (all teams do by default), won their first game and advanced (a new high!), but still didn't get much farther ahead. So after nine games what did we learn? Well, if this is the abstract then let me state that we learned that: Trey Lyles dominated when in the game as a second year lottery pick should; we learned that Olivier Hanlan worked hard and improved, but is now a member of the San Antonio Spurs; and that, well, Tibor Pleiss can make shots when open but not much else. There were 18 players who suited up for the Jazz this July, including three second rounders from the 2016 NBA Draft: Joel Bolomboy (#52), Marcus Paige (#55), and Tyrone Wallace (#60). So how did everyone do? Let's break it all down.
One thing we included here was how much they actually played this summer for the Jazz. That's really a good way to figure out what the coaches felt (which guys needed longer looks, which guys were just better than others). Also, one thing that this doesn't show is which players were on the court at the same time.
- We saw quite a bit of Aaron Craft and Spencer Butterfield, and that was an interesting combo of two guys who went undrafted in 2014 and played in Europe. They were used, in my mind, as a comparison to what the team had with rookies Marcus Paige and Tyrone Wallace, who at times played at the same time as well. Paige and Wallace are clearly much greener, they are younger and have never played professionally. Seeing Craft actually make good moves, or Butterfield take smarter gambles -- these are things the 2016 rookie guards just didn't have.
- We didn't see much of Trey Lyles on the court with Joel Bolomboy, which I felt like would have been useful to see. But we saw Tibor Pleiss with both of them. (Scientifically if Tibor is the control, these two variables should be that much easier to see differences is.)
- J.J. O'Brien played for the NBA D-League affiliate, the Idaho Stampede, last season and the Jazz brass saw a lot of him. The Jazz coaches did too as he made the team late in the season on a 10-Day contract. He only played in one of the two summer leagues, and had he played better in the first one I would have been more upset with him not playing in the second. He didn't seem to have any of the hustle, motor, or defensive attention that he first showed a year ago. As a "3 and D" candidate he really didn't hit shots either. It wasn't a great showing.
- Olivier Hanlan looks like a good prospect. He busted his butt off with Zalgiris last season and really showed improvement. Of course, in a "win now" mode there's no point in having him around anymore, especially not when you can get Boris Diaw instead. He played well in the one game he was in, and I wish him the best going forward.
- Treveon Graham is another guy who played for the Idaho Stampede last season, and I don't know how much more there is to figure out about him. I was surprised he only played in one game, but his performance in that game may be indicative of a good enough reason to only play him in one of the nine games he was in uniform for. I expected to see more of him, but instead the Jazz looked harder at Dionte Christmas, undrafted rookie Quincy Ford, and Shaquille McKissic.
Anyway, onto the stats . . .
Two words: Maple Mamba. Really, Trey Lyles was pushed by head coach Quin Snyder to be that "it's on me" Tracy McGrady style forward who shoots and shoots and shoots and creates. We haven't seen Trey like this, and the Jazz don't have any data on him in this role, he didn't do this even in high school. In the NCAAs he was playing out of position. In the NBA he was the 3rd string PF. So this was an attempt to see what Trey can do on offense as a first option. To be honest? I have to say he earned mixed reviews. He didn't shoot well overall, a product of having to take a lot of those "Trey Burke shots" where no one else wants to shoot. Also, he didn't really create much for his teammates. But he did did score in a variety of ways and was deadly from deep. He shot 45.45% (15/33), and averaged 3.00 threes made a game. That's great. He got them off the bounce, off dribble hand-offs, and when spotting up. For a 6'10 guy to be this comfortable from outside this early (Lyles was the youngest player on the entire team, for the second summer in a row) is amazing. Lyles also did great from the line, making 88.37% (38/43), getting there 8.60 trips a game.
He didn't get blocked THAT much (6.82% of all his FGA), which is amazing when you look at how much he did shoot the ball, 17.60 times a game. He did go "full Kobe Bryant system" though, shooting the ball once every 1.81 minutes (MPS or minutes per shot) on the floor. That's once every 108.6 seconds. That eclipses the old record by a sophomore Kosta Koufos who was jacking it every 2.20 minutes. I guess part of this summer was just to see Trey in this role and mindset. If he's being groomed to be a bench scorer this is what he needs to do, have this aggressive mindset. His touch at the line and damage from distance really paved the way for the rest of his game, which included drives, jump hooks, pull-ups, and more. He finished with a PPS (Points per shot) value of 1.35, which is very rewarding to see. League average is 1.21, and Karl Malone had a career of 1.41 or something like that. Keep getting to the line, keep making your freebies. It's the easiest shot in the game.
Overall, Trey Lyles really set him apart from the rest of the team, I think leading Las Vegas in PPG, and proving that he didn't need to play in any more games in July. (Unless, you know, it's for Team Canada. Ahem.) (Sorrey.)
Hanlan was actually 2nd on the Jazz in PPG this summer, with 11.00. He only played in one game, made shots, hit a three, and didn't take a lot of shots along his way. He shot the ball once every 4.06 minutes, but his efficiency of 1.83 PPS really helped him make his mark after taking aim. Eleven points off of six shots is precisely the type of thing you'd expect from a Spurs player. So, this is really about all I need to say about him. Oh, also he was one of the few guys who didn't get blocked.
Christmas is going to be 30 soon. He has the most experience out of all of the guys on the team, having played for the most NBA teams, and played the most games and minutes professionally. Period. But as a soon to be 30 year old shooting guard you expect a level of polish to his game. There's a reason why he keeps popping up in the Jazz roster all these years. The question is how much game is there to actually polish, though.
As a veteran shooting guard we have to laud him for having over 50% of all of his FGA be 3PTA (50.85%), which was highest on the team. He also took the third most shots per game on the team, at 7.38 FGA. What he didn't do was get blocked much, only 1.69% of his attempted shots were sent back -- second least on the entire squad. (Hanlan, Graham, Fofana, and Miller were tied for first with 0.00%) All that said, he did only average 9.38 ppg. That is third best on the team. But it really wasn't jaw dropping.
As a shooting guard we got him shooting frequently enough, but just not at the percentages you'd aspire for: .4237 / .3333 / .7778. Today you want a guard hitting around 40% from outside, and the old ideal would be at least 80% from the line. Christmas fails here on both counts. He was effective enough because he got to the line. As a result his PPS value of 1.27 was still above league average. Offensive he was one of the better options on the team, but still didn't give you everything you'd want.
I guess next on the docket has to be Tibor Pleiss. He's the only other NBA player on this roster, and he played for the Utah Jazz last season in spurts, but was a mainstay of the Idaho Stampede. Pleiss is getting close to being a finished product as he has been playing professionally for almost a decade now, and will be 27 during the 2016-2017 NBA season. I don't expect his body to change much now, nor will he discover some grant new ability that he did not previously had. He can only improve on some of his weaknesses, and become smarter with his decisions. After all, he's closer to 30 than 20. (That's the opposite for Trey Lyles.)
But I can't disregard what Pleiss does well. On offense he's another big guy, massive really at 7'3, and he has a very soft touch. It's so soft I just expect all of his tip-ins to result in two points. He averaged 9.00 PPG off of 6.44 FGA. He didn't jack up shots, he played within the system (what little there was with the revolving door at point guard), and found his spots. Those two spots were most usually the three point line (over 40% of all of his FGA were from distance), or in a tangle of arms and torsos under the basket. His percentages were very nice, .4828 / .3750 / .8000; that's nearly 50 / 40 / 80. And that's great for a center. I don't think we have a lot of problems with his face up shooting with space. When things are contested things are much more iffy, but that's the case with every single Jazzman not named Jeff Hornacek or John Stockton.
If you look at the games and not just the stats you can see some interesting things. Mehmet Okur also was a Jazz center who took and made lots of threes and shot well. But his distribution of shot attempts was much different. For one, he could post up, face-up, cut, or spot up. I don't think Pleiss has all of that in his toolbox right now. The other thing is that we saw Memo drill lots of threes on the run, either in transition, or off the bounce. Pleiss is really a guy who have to work to set-up. A ball handler has to really draw the defense to him and Tibor really has to be set up. He's a trebuchet. He takes some time to be ready, and he can't be disturbed at all during that period. Yes, he rains down hellfire from very deep -- but he's what we would call immobile artillery at this point.
He did pull off a nice Dirk Nowitzki turn-around from about 14 feet, but I don't think anyone noticed besides me. For me I don't know how to judge him because I watched Stampede games all season long -- so the year to year improvement is occluded from what I saw him getting more comfortable doing game to game. I like Tibor. I really do. And his actual skills are pro-level skills. But I don't know how much he's going to get better going forward. He's a legit back-up in Europe. He's still not diverse enough offensively to be a rotation player one a team that doesn't also feature two All-Stars who will ensure defense pressure is on him, and a defensive vacuum around Tibor. He makes a lot more theoretical sense on an Oklahoma City Thunder team with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Spencer has a year in the pros under his belt and is only 23 years old. That's something that surprised me because I felt like he played like a 25 year old, or older, at times on the court. So on first blush I misjudged his potential upside. He played in 8 of 9 games with the Jazz, and started one of them. He seemed to have good on-court chemistry with Craft, and I think it showed at times. As a short shooting guard, or point guard without the handles, it's going to be hard for him to find a spot in Quin Snyder's potential rotation unless he really brought something NBA level to the table. It could be that Butterfield does have an NBA level skill, and that skill is shooting.
Butterfield averaged 8.75 PPG, and did so on the strength of hitting 48.00 FG% (6.25 FGA/G), and 50.00 3PT% (3.00 3PTA/G). Additionally, 48% of all of his shots were from downtown. As a result, not a lot of his shots were blocked either (only 2%, right behind Christmas). While Christmas was able to get things going from inside the arc, Butterfield showed his range early and often. He hit 2 or more threes in five of his eight games with the Jazz. Not bad for someone coming off the bench. Of course, if you are coming off the bench in Summer League you really may have some serious question marks to your game.
And that's where we are with Butterfield. I think he does have an NBA level skill. He was efficient and hit threes (which helped him get to a 1.40 PPS value on mostly jumpers, which is very hard to do), and didn't hesitate to shoot (2.72 MPS, 5th most frequent shooter on the team). It's possible that there are legit reasons why he's not in the NBA though. But scoring isn't among them.
Joel seems to be the best chance for the Jazz to actually have a player on their hands in the draft. Many of us are very openly rooting for him and his success. He was 6th in scoring on the team with 7.56 ppg. He was 7th in shot attempts per game, with 6.22 FGA. He didn't really hit from distance (1 for 5, 20.00 3PT%), nor did he get to the line a lot (2.33 FTA/G, and he only shot 61.90 FT%), so he got his points mostly by himself without any bonuses. (A very average 1.21 PPS) What really surprised me was his comfort level with setting up his own shot from range. I knew he could hit spot up jumpers from 18 to 20 feet. But his isolation game was a pleasant surprise. He could drive and occasionally get a lay-up or get to the line. He could post-up and use his athletic ability to get what he wanted. But the fact that he could face up and work his man into giving him the shot from outside, and make it, was new. Or at least new to me. (Forgive me for not watching a lot of Weber St. over the last four years.)
Yes, he shot under .500 for the summer, but 48.21 FG% isn't the end or the world, especially when you factor in that he was taking isolation jumpers and three pointers all July. It's not like all he did was shoot at the rim. I felt like the refs did job him a bit at times, not respecting him with fouls on both ends of the court. I believe that some of the time he was blocked it actually was a foul, but not called. He did finish the summer getting 7.14% of his shots blocked. It's more shots blocked against him than Lyles, but less than Tobey. Those are the guys who are directly ahead and behind him on that list. All three are between 6.8 to 7.4%, and all three are bigmen. So with this frame of reference it doesn't look out of place.
I didn't get to see his athleticism at it's best, very few transition opportunities this summer and a slowed down pace hurt that. But he did shot that he really could be the most athletic "garbage man" / "utility player" out there. In Jazz terms he could be a mix of Paul Millsap and Jeremy Evans. I'm of course expecting nothing short of Shawn Kemp lite. I'm also a Jazz homer for life, so whatever. I hope he makes the team.
Paige was traded for on draft night, and came into the NBA with a very long resume of making jumpers. He has the UNC three point record, and his pick and roll game was both effective and creative. In a way, he reminded me of a Jamal Murray with less upside. So what did he do in a Jazz uniform? He averaged 7.00 PPG off of 7.22 FGA/G. On first blush that isn't great. But let's not forget that he was played at both PG and SG and often he was forced into taking all of those Trey Burke shots (shots with the defense set and clock running down and no one wanting to be the hero). As a consequence, his numbers don't make you jump for joy: .3538 / .3793 / .6667. He didn't jack up shots and he did play without the flow of the offense as much as there was one. He just had to take tough shots.
What he was consistent with was being a three point threat. Yes, he didn't shoot 44% or whatever from downtown. But he made a three in every game, all nine of them, all summer long. He was the only guy to do that on the team. (Lyles hit threes in all five games he played in. That should be noted) That consistency is important, because -- as a direct comparison -- Butterfield had hot games and cool games, he'd drill 3 of 5 one night, and go 0 of 3 the next. Paige was much more steady. And let's not forget that 44.62% of his shots were from downtown. It's not like Paige was steady because he was selective. He knew his role out there and played it.
Also, have you seen this kid shoot? He actually knows you're supposed to square up and have a solid base before releasing. Lots of pros don't even show that discipline. I think that Paige has the capability of being an NBA player one day. I don't think that day is today, but I think his head for the game will set him apart. And his nascent three point ability will blow people away. He needs a year or two playing pro ball elsewhere before going to the NBA. I'd love to see him with the Salt Lake City Stars, but there's more money to be made in Europe right now. He could have a Hanlan like transformation if he works hard. I think he is up to it.
Craft was someone we scouted way back in 2014 and he's been on the Jazz radar for a minute. The 25 year old has some experience under his belt playing in Europe and after Hanlan was traded he graduated to 1st string point guard. He was smart and steady, not spectacular. He did his thing on defense and offense, and led this team in some of their wins. I was impressed by this, and is ability to turn his game up when the pressure was on, or for him to 'get up' for specific match-ups against higher regarded guards. He wasn't John Stockton out there, but he did well enough.
He shot 50.00 FG%, 40.00 3PT%, and somehow only 54.55 FT%.
Not quite Stockton.
Only 10% of his shots were from deep, but most of his makes were off the pick and roll, including a few nice drives. He averaged 6.44 PPG while taking 5.56 shots a game. His talents were more in setting the table and playing defense than scoring. But I think he showed that he COULD score, 11 points in the tournament win against Portland being a nice feather in his cap. He just wasn't Hanlan-ing it out there. But I don't think that sample size was sustainable.
People who averaged fewer than 6.00 PPG:
Tyrone Wallace (5.43 ppg) should have a chip on his shoulder, going last in the NBA Draft. I also expect him to have one after shooting way under expectation in Summer league, only .2679 / .2143 / .5556. He's not a shooter, but only occasionally did we see his driving floater fall (what seems to be his pet move from his days at Cal). He had his shot blocked 21.43% of the time, second worst on the team. And that's way too high for an athletic 6'6 player who slashes. Of course, going to the rim where the bigs are doesn't always go your way. He played both PG and SG for the Jazz, but I think he isn't going to be called to training camp. He has all the motivation in the world to get better. He also has the talent to be better as well. A year playing overseas may be in his future, but again, I'd rather he was with the SLC Stars.
Shaquille McKissic (5.17 ppg) was forgettable. Which should never happen with a name like that. He had good showings against Washington (Game 4), and Denver (Game 8), both losses. That's not on him, but he seems way better at finishing plays than making them for himself. He was dangerous when spotting up and made some tough shots. But overall he was forgettable. I hope the Jazz keep him in the pipeline though. He's better than what he showed over two weeks in July.
Quincy Ford (5.13 ppg) was someone the Jazz worked out, liked, and brought him in after he went undrafted. They could have drafted him, but went with Wallace instead. Ford started 5 of 8 games for the team, and brought his Joey Graham like game to the table. I felt like Ford got after it on the court, but his making ability isn't quite at the NBA level right now. He wasn't shy, and could become a "Three and D" player one day. His 27.78 3PT% over 8 games doesn't speak for his potential (23 years old).
Mike Tobey (5.00 ppg) scored in traditional 7'0er ways, which was a familiar sight after Tibor's overly face-up game. Tobey had a great sequence against Denver where he finished off a dump-off with a dunk, and followed that up with two solid post scores. He would then tank his great game by trying David Benoit style open jumpers and missed three times in a row. I think it was important for him to show that he could stretch out a little bit. That's the evolving NBA right now, so I get it. But his strengths were inside, as they should be. He shot 51.85 FG%. He missed all his threes and didn't get to the line much, but was 50.00 FT% from there too. He's a throwback. Or worse, possibly a dinosaur. I liked him. But I'm also a dinosaur. So maybe I'm not the best judge of talent for today's evolving NBA.
Shonn Miller (2.80 ppg) if Shaq was forgettable, Shonn was invisible.
J.J. O'Brien (1.50 ppg) was a huge disappointment. He did everything right last summer league, and ended up being a full-season starter for the Idaho Stampede playing a point-forward role. He even made the Jazz as a potential "3 and D" guy. And then he comes out and shoots 11.11 FG% and isn't able to knock down that three that's going to be so crucial to who he ends up developing into for his career.
Treveon Graham (1.00 ppg) was also a disappointment, all he did scoring-wise this summer was hit one of his two free throws. He missed everything else.
Bangaly Fofana, Terry Allen, and Kenny Kadji all should have saved their per diems.
Everything that isn't Scoring:
Lyles led the team in rebounds with 9.0 RPG. Only 15.56% of them were on the offensive end, but I suspect it's hard to get a lot of offensive boards when you're the guy shooting the ball almost every time down the floor. So I understand that low percentage was part of the Xs and Os. He put in work on the glass, and had he steal rebounds away from his teammates could have averaged at least 20 and 10 this summer. As a point forward I think he's not quite there yet. He averaged only 1.40 APG despite having the ball in his hands so much. Worse, he averaged 3.40 turn overs per game, which was the highest on the team. His assist to turn over ratio was very poor as a result. I was also surprised that he didn't even average one combined steal and block per game (0.40 and 0.20 respectively). Defensively he was average, and mostly untaxed. He led the team in stats across the board (34.80 PRASB per game, that's PPG+RPG+APG+SPG+BPG) but 68% of what he did do came from points alone. So in a way, if he wasn't scoring he wasn't doing much else. (Though those rebounds were legit, if you ask me). His -42 in +/- doesn't look good over just five games. But it's Summer League.
He had three rebounds, three assists, and a 3:1 assist to turn over ratio in his one game with the team. That combined with his great shooting led him to being the 2nd best player in Jazz summer league, and dude got traded. That's just how far ahead of the pack these two cats were.
This is where the rubber hits the road. Tibor is a great scorer when put in situations where he can thrive. He just can't defend. Guys are too strong for him in the paint and he spends a lot of time on the floor like discarded laundry -- and you can't play defense when you're on your hands and knees. And he is abused so sufficiently on the perimeter by even slow summer league wings, it's no secret why he can't find playing time at the NBA level. He's just not a defensive presence at 7'3, and it's amazing. He lead the team in blocks with 0.56 BPG. But really? A guy who is 7'3 and playing over 20 MPG can't get ONE block a game in the Summer League? It's troubling.
He averaged 4.67 RPG, and a very nice 2.0 of them were on the offensive end. That's 42.86%. That's insanely high. And as pointed earlier, when he gets a chance to tip in the ball on offense I almost always expect for it to go on. The problem here is that he should have had more rebounds if a) he could hold his position with strength, and b) actually had hands. He has bad hands. He bobbled so many rebounds, and his overall goofiness hurt the team -- once a Jazz player botched a defensive rebound because Tibor hit the ball out of his hands with his head. The ball was scooped up by an opponent and he scored on the dazed German almost immediately. TIbor's body seems to be governed by the same uncaring and capricious Gods who designed the Grand Theft Auto physics rules.
I love his passing, but didn't get a chance to show much of it. His size and offensive awareness allowed him to see things on the court and he actually knows where the ball is supposed to go. He's going to be 27 and has been a professional for almost a decade now. He's played at the top levels before, and he's a smart guy. He sublimated his career taking "one for the team" in the ACB and played off the bench. So he deserves a chance. His skillset is so unique. There just aren't any 7'3 guys who can make threes. But his flaws are so damaging. He can't defend, at all; and is bigman fundamentals are behind the curve for someone who has so much experience.
Honestly, I could spend the rest of the summer writing about Tibor. I'm very conflicted about him. I like him. I want to love him. I see things that he does that no other bigman on the team can do. But, man . . . I have a hard time seeing Snyder give him minutes, and have an even harder time seeing him fix all of his problems in time. He's going to be 27 and he's on the last guaranteed year of his multi-year deal. The next two seasons are non-guaranteed. Pleiss himself said that he came to the NBA to play, and not in the Developmental league. But I don't see him playing much in this Jazz team as currently constructed.
Bolomboy did a little of everything. He didn't dominate with scoring (just about average), but he filled up the box score nonetheless. (Only 50% of his PRASB came from PPG) He was second on the Jazz in total rebounds, and third in RPG with 5.89. (Graham's six in one game gave him a higher average) Over 32% of Bolomboy's rebounds were on the offensive glass, giving the team more chances -- which is exactly what you want from an athletic rebounder on your team. He also averaged 1.00 APG and had a 1:1 assist to turn over ratio (which was superior to that of a number of "better" ball handlers like Paige, Christmas, Ford, Butterfield, Lyles, and Graham). Furthermore, he was active with steals and blocks, though I would have liked to have seen more blocks. But guys just weren't challenging him.
But it all comes back to that 50% mark. When he's out there he's active and attentive, and he doesn't need the ball to help his team. At 22 years old he can be expected to work on his flaws and has more room to grow than a 27 year old. If you have to pick one, I'd pick Joel over Tibor. And yes, I know it's hard to ever get a bigman who can reasonably expect to shoot 30% from deep and 80% from the line. But I'd give that up for the possibility of what Bolomboy could become.
Christmas was about average, which on this team made him good. He wasn't great though by any stretch of the imagination. He averaged fewer than 2.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, and 1.0 SPG while playing almost 20.0 MPG. Of course, 1.6 / 1.6 / 0.8 isn't bad. It's average. But for a 30 year old you kind of expect better than average at this stage. He had more turn overs than assists, and was second on the team in fouls against. Most of what he did (69%) came from scoring. Tops on the team. As a shooting guard I guess the bias is towards points over everything else, unless you are a defender primarily. So I'm not going to eat his lunch for that. And really, I don't know if we need to get worked up over stats in the Summer League. It's how you play that matters. And I think Christmas played well enough to earn a contract from some team out there that had scouts in Las Vegas. And that's really all that matters.
Butterfingers was not nearly as good with the ball as the 6'3 guard should be, especially not after playing professionally in Europe. He averaged 0.68 APG and 1.25 turn overs a game, for a ratio of 0.50 to 1.00. Or more simply, for every assist he makes he gives the ball to the other team twice. He even lost the ball once under no pressure in the middle of the court. About 68% of everything he did was related to putting points on the board, which is what you want from shooting guards. I am consistent enough to see that isn't just a problem for Christmas or Butters or whomever. But as a guard, a guard who played over 130 minutes at 17+ a game, being 13th on the entire roster in APG isn't that hot.
He was doing work on the glass, hauling down 3.0 RPG at the size of 6'3. He hustled out there. He wanted to pressure the defense and get out in transition. He reminded me a bit of Joe Ingles out there at times. He was sloppy, but could pick off a long pass, get a rebound, and going back to his actual strengths, hit threes (50 3PT%). I grew to accept his game, and he was very key in missing that one free throw on purpose that Lyles tipped in to send the game to OT. As hundreds of NBA players show every year, it's hard enough to make free throws. It's nearly impossible to purposefully miss in exactly the right way. And Butterfield did that.
I expected some of the other guards on the team to outplay him but I was wrong. I'm okay with admitting it. Turnovers aside, this guy showed us that there's a very real distinction between being a rookie (drafted in the 2nd round or undrafted) and being someone who has played professional before. Butterfield is a pro basketball player. There's just really not much space on the Jazz right now for someone at his position.
Craft is in the same boat as Christmas and Butterfield. He averaged 3.00 APG and had a 2 to 1 ratio with turn overs. That's good in my books, but not ideal (3:1 is) for a starting point guard. Craft also hit the glass for 2.22 RPG and 0.89 SPG. Only 51% of all of his PRASB were from points. So he had a very balanced, composed, all-around game.
But what stood out more than those numbers was his leadership and defense. He didn't want to get beat and was up for whatever challenges were ahead of him. I came away with a very high opinion of him, but I just don't see where he fits in the Jazz future right now. But scouts took notice. He'll get a contract somewhere for sure.
Ford didn't make threes, but was brave enough to take them. He also took the ball when he had a chance for it, averaging 5.25 RPG. He was hungry out there, and it's nice to see a wing player actually go for the ball instead of just look to score it. (43% of his PRASB were from points). He as active on defense as well, and wasn't a ball stopper on offense. The 23 year old potential rookie has some tools there, but they need to be refined. He's not going to make anyone forget about undrafted rookie Wesley Matthews. But he's not going to be forgotten by the Utah Jazz brass. They have their eye on this kid, and he's got a fire in him that's worth stoking.
The 6'6 combo guard had a bad shooting summer, but he didn't make it this far in his basketball career relying on just scoring. Wallace averaged 3.00 RPG (tied for 7th), 1.57 APG (4th), and 0.86 SPG (4th). Points were less than half of his total box score contributions (49%). And that's what I think we're going to see going forward from him -- a player who can still be worth playing even when his shot isn't falling. If anyone is going to make that Hanlan leap from year to year I think it's this guy. Hanlan was out played last year by Jared Cunningham. Olivier signed with a team in Europe and really focused on his game. He made it his profession, and as a result, earned the right to be a professional baller. I think Wallace could benefit from some of the same Rocky IV "nothing but training montages" tough love. Leaving Cal for some cold Siberian waste will be a shock, but as long as he can get out there and shoot 500 times a day he will be better for it.
He has the tools to be an NBA level defender, which makes him unique on this squad. And I think that's why he was drafted and not left to the masses. The Jazz own his rights, and I think that's going to be meaningful going forward. Paige is a much better shooter, but he can't grow longer. Wallace can get better as a shooter. And after his performance this summer, really, you can't get worse.
Speaking of Paige, he was right behind Wallace here in PRASB, but 62% of it came from points. So he's like the inverse of Wallace in a number of ways. He hit the glass softly for 1.56 RPG, and had a similarly small impact on the boxscore with his 1.56 APG, but at least in that case it was 5th best on the team. He had more turn overs than assists, Wallace did not; but got both steals and blocks on defense -- which is commendable for a 6'2 guy. I like Paige, and I'm not trying to make this a zero-sum game with him against Wallace. They do different things. And while Wallace may have an NBA level skill on defense, Paige already has an NBA level skill on offense. Whatever the case may be, Paige led the entire team in +/- with +16 (tied with Tobey).
And speaking of Tobey, yeah, he was tied with Paige in +/- with +16. Of course, Tobey played in three fewer games, so his per Game +/- is higher. Tobey played a little over 15 MPG and held his own on the glass, 4.33 RPG. That would be 6th best on the team. He didn't do much else, but did at least have a 1:1 assist to turn over ratio. The 7' footer was tied for second best with 0.33 BPG, tied with fellow 7' footer Fofana and the surprisingly athletic Paige.
People who had less than 10.00 PRASB:
Shaquille McKissic was focused mostly on offense, but that just wasn't scoring, he passed will and with purpose and would have had more than just the 1.00 APG he averaged if guys could make shots. His 1.5 to 1.0 assist to turn over ratio was third best on the team (tied with Shonn). He also picked up a few steals, but otherwise didn't do much. I would have loved to have seen him on the glass more, but he was usually closing out on guys on defense . . . Treveon Graham played with heart and honor and grabbed 6 rebounds in the only game he played in . . . J.J. O'Brien made a huge impact last summer with his defense, particularly some on-ball steals and tough rebounds, but didn't show much of that in his two games with the Jazz. He did still average 1.00 SPG and had 1.50 APG (1:1 ratio). Good, but not the improvement we expected after the high levels of play he showed in 2015 . . . Shonn Miller wasn't limited to just scoring out there, he did a little of everything when he got on the floor, just didn't see enough of the floor to make a bigger impact . . . Bangaly Fofana is a serious basketball player and you are not going to disparage him by typing "banana bana fofana" here. CRAP! I'm so sorry . . . Terry Allen didn't score, but didn't do much else beyond grab three rebounds this summer, but his two assists to no turn overs was a surprise . . . Kenny Kadji didn't get a chance to show anything that he could do.
The whole picture:
Because I know you guys want it all in one image . . .
See you soon?
- Trey Lyles and Tibor Pleiss will be in training camp and have the inside track to make the team unless they are traded before the season starts
- Joel Bolomboy needs a look in training camp for sure, and a chance to earn an NBA roster spot with the Jazz
- Dionte Christmas isn't going to get an invite to training camp with the Jazz, but he may have done enough to get another look from one of the other 29 teams
- Aaron Craft and Spencer Butterfield know the grass is greener in Europe and may head back there
- Marcus Paige, Tyrone Wallace, Quincy Ford and Mike Tobey are all rookies, and I'd love to see all four of them with the SLC Stars this next year, but there's no rush -- the Jazz own two of the four player's rights regardless
- Shaquille McKissic will find work, and he has work to do still
- So long to Olivier Hanlan, you are in good hands with the Spurs franchise
- J.J. O'Brien and Treveon Graham may be done with the NBADL, but they're not ready for the NBA just yet. They both were under the Jazz microscope for a year with the Stampede. Will they want to do it all over again with the Stars? I don't know. But I know that they both didn't have the best summer they could have had. Craft and Butterfield both played well by direct comparison.
- Bye Felicia to Kenny Kadji, Terry Allen, Bangaly Fofana, and Shonn Miller
So Lyles looks really good, TIbor is a question mark, Bolomboy should get a chance to make the team . . . and everyone else isn't going to be getting their own season preview downbeat in the fall.