The Utah Jazz announced their NBA Summer League roster (their tweet can be found here) - at least for the first games in Utah. As we all know a) players who are on the roster for one summer league may not be on it for the next one (Orlando to Las Vegas, Salt Lake to Las Vegas, etc); b) new players can join; c) players who weren’t playing may eventually get clearance (as we saw in Orlando with Raul Neto years ago and Trey Lyles in in Salt Lake yeras ago); and d) players not even listed can sometimes hop on and get some minutes (Jeremy Evans way out of nowhere in Orlando a few years ago).
The players you care about most are Dante Exum, Donovan Mitchell, Tyrone Wallace, Joel Bolomboy, Tony Bradley, and Nigel Williams-Goss. There are a lot of point guards on the roster so it’s in everyone’s best interest if Exum dominates in his first half of a game so he’s shut down, and everyone else has a chance to play. The Jazz PR listed players in three position groups, but I think it’s pretty clear that former lotto pick Julian Wright isn’t a center in the NBA. Maybe he played as a stretch big in Turkey. Perhaps that’s what we are looking at from him here. But he’s 6’8 and 225. I don’t care that he used to be a Rob Pelinka guy, like our guy X.
Moreover, there’s a few guys being represented by Priority Sports, the same agency that is handling the current Free Agent priority for Utah: Gordon Hayward. There are a few guys with Australian connections as well, but we will wait and see if either Mithcell Creek or Nathan Sobey can become the next Brock Motum.
Honestly? I don’t know how many of these guys are point guards or shooting guards or whatever. It’s a crapshoot really as it’s not even Quin Snyder coaching this group. And this group is mostly undrafted players and second rounders with zero NBA experience.
I’m not hating on them. I know from first hand experience that all of them are legit ballers to even be playing this late in the summer for NBA scouts and general managers. From watching all the other summer leagues I could have I know that we’re going to see some turn overs, and we’re going to see some point guards cheated out of assists because the players they will be passing to in this league are other guys trying to make it - not actual legit finishers.
Except for guys like Bolomboy, I don’t expect to be wowed by anyone. I do hope Spider does good stuff. But I’m trying to temper my expectations. Exum needs to wow. He needs to play so well the team shuts him down, kind of like what they did to Deron Williams in his second summer league, and, well, Dante Exum the summer before he injured himself for Australia.
One guy not on this list was Jazz 2nd rounder Marcus Paige. Maybe there’s a good reason for this - he could maybe no longer be part of the Jazz program. He could be in astronaut training with NASA. I don’t know. I didn’t look it up.
So what to look forwards to? Find guys who can defend, people who may be three and D guys, and players who are fighting hard for a training camp spot. This is, after all, what happened with J.J. O’Brien back in the day.