Hello, Jazzland. It’s still the most wonderful time of the year, which means we’re all being emotionally held hostage by a dude who doesn’t care about us and made more money this year than nearly all of us would make in a few lifetimes because he’s good at playing a game.
Even so, here I am writing an article on the 4th of July, and here you are reading it. Being a sports fan is weird.
We had actual basketball to talk about yesterday! The Summer Spurs visited the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City to take on the Summer Utah Jazz. Even though it wasn’t the “real” Spurs and Jazz, it definitely felt like a game they would play, what with the tough defense and low scoring. This is a great sign for both organizations, because it indicates the strength of their respective systems. The Summer Jazz, for their part, had slightly better defensive talent, with Dante Exum and Donovan Mitchell locking down backcourt. Joel Bolomboy and Tony Bradley put in solid minutes in the frontcourt.
Then there was the offense. Dante Exum was a man among boys out there, crossing guys over, slicing to the rim, and hitting outside shots. He finished with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. Donovan Mitchell had a game-high 23 points, along with 2 rebounds and 5 assists. Also, he did this:
Donovan Mitchell is already a crowd favorite. pic.twitter.com/rYECffuyNe— Aaron Falk (@aaronfalk) July 4, 2017
For their part, the Spurs laid an egg, which is fine in summer league. The guys I thought would shine didn’t produce: Dejounte Murray and Davis Bertans combined for 18 points on 6-17 shooting. The bright spots for them were Derrick White, rookie guard out of Colorado, who put up 13/3/2, and forward Livio Jean-Charles, who posted 10 points on 5-8 shooting, but did not produce any rebounds or assists.
The overarching story here is starters vs. bench. The Jazz starters obliterated the Spurs, as no Spurs player’s +/- was better than -11. No Jazz bench player posted a +/- better than +1.
Yeah, it’s only summer league, but watching Mitchell and Exum play in the backcourt was a lot of fun. The Jazz will play Markelle Fultz and the Philadelphia 76ers tomorrow at 7pm MT.