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Las Vegas Summer League Game Preview: Utah Jazz vs Portland Trailblazers

Can Donovan Mitchell fill the hole left by Dante Exum?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Michigan vs Louisville Thomas Joseph-USA TODAY Sports

Wait, don’t go over to the baseball blogs just yet! (Though baseball is pretty great.) We have basketball to watch. Today at 4:00PM MDT the Summer Utah Jazz are meeting the Summer Trail Blazers, and it should be a fun one.

When: 7/8/17, 4:00PM MDT


The Rosters

Utah Jazz:

Joel Bolomboy, F/C, 6-foot-9, 235 pounds, Last team: Utah Jazz

Tony Bradley, C, 6-10, 248, North Carolina

Spencer Butterfield, G, 6-3, 205, JSF Nanterre (France)

Mitch Creek, F, 6-4, 216, Adelaide 36ers (Australia)

[Travis Leslie, G, 6-4, 205, Fort Wayne Mad Ants (G League)]

Eric Griffin, C/F, 6-8, 205, Hapoel Galil Gilboa (Israel)

Jonathan Holmes, F, 6-9, 242, Canton Charge (G League)

Donovan Mitchell, G, 6-3, 215, Louisville

Nate Sobey, G, 6-3, 185, Adelaide 36ers (Australia)

James Southerland, F, 6-8, 221, Santa Cruz Warriors (G League)

Devondrick Walker, G, 6-5, 205, Delaware 76ers (G League)

J.P. Tokoto, F, 6-6, 200, Rio Grande Valley Vipers (G League)

Tyrone Wallace, G, 6-5, 200, Salt Lake City Stars (G League)

Nigel Williams-Goss, G, 6-3, 190, Gonzaga

Julian Wright, C, 6-8, 225, Trabzonspor (Turkey)

(info found here and here)

Portland Trail Blazers:

Jordan Adams G 6'5" 209 7/8/94 Memphis Grizzlies 1

Keith Benson C 6'11" 240 8/13/88 Sioux Falls (G-League) 1

Markel Brown G 6'3" 190 1/29/92 Khimki (Russia) 2

Antonius Cleveland G 6'6" 195 2/2/94 Southeast Missouri R

Zach Collins C 7' 230 11/19/97 Gonzaga R

Pat Connaughton G 6'5" 210 1/6/93 Trail Blazers 2

DeAndre Daniels F 6'9" 196 4/15/92 Dinamica Mantova (Italy) R

Jorge Gutierrez G 6'3" 195 12/27/88 Trabzonspor (Turkey) 4

R.J. Hunter G 6'5" 185 10/24/93 Long Island (G-League) 1

Nick Johnson G 6'3" 200 12/22/92 Bayern Munich (Germany 1

Jake Layman F 6'9" 210 3/7/94 Trail Blazers 1

Patrick Miller G 6'1" 200 5/22/93 Sioux Falls (G-League) R

Josh Scott F 6'10" 245 7/13/93 MZT Skopje (Macedonia) R

Caleb Swanigan F 6'9" 249 4/18/97 Purdue R

(Thanks, Oregon Live)

Who To Watch

Utah Jazz:

Almost without exception, most fans will continue to rant and rave about rookie guard Donovan Mitchell. He has been outstanding so far, showing grit, toughness, and basketball skills that should land him in Quin Snyder’s rotation in the regular season. As for the other Jazzmen, keep an eye on G League all-star Joel Bolomboy, who had relatively quiet stretch in Utah but is capable of dominating. Remember Travis Leslie? The Jazz signed him to a couple 10-day contracts once.

Then there’s Erik Griffin, who last played in Israel. He’s not DeMarre Carroll, but this dude is a junkyard dog. He fights for rebounds, scraps for loose balls, plays good defense, and performs like a man who is hungry for a contract. I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t get a training camp invitation.

Exum will not play, which I believe is a smart move. He got his reps, and any further playing time increases the chance of injury.

Portland Trail Blazers:

The Blazers drafted a guy with Utah connections in Caleb Swanigan, who just wrapped up his time at Purdue (or, as I refer to it with my Indiana friends, “Purdon’t”). He’s a bowling ball who uses his size to bully smaller defenders in the post. His story is pretty cool.

One of their other big men, Zach Collins of Gonzaga, could also prove difficult to handle in the post. I watched him play against Lauri Markkanen, the Knicks lotto pick, when the Zags were playing Arizona in Salt Lake City. He more than held his own, and he has a chance to be a solid bench player this season for Portland.

Combo guard Pat Connaughton is a fringe NBA player on his best days, but he always brings it in summer league play.

Miscellaneous Predictions

  • Donovan Mitchell steals the show again
  • Joel Bolomboy struggles to guard Caleb Swanigan
  • Pat Connaughton records at least 2 steals
  • Eric Griffin records at least 5 rebounds
  • Jazz win. Of course. (Though if they stay true to form they’ll lose, because they usually lay an egg at the Vegas summer league)