It may not have been the official unveiling of the newlook Utah Jazz fans were hoping for, but it was a good preview of things to come. The Utah Jazz defeated the Adelaide 36ers 133-81.
Adelaide challenged Utah early as Utah’s defense with Ed Davis anchoring the paint was struggling to get stops. On the other end Utah’s offense was getting the looks they wanted, but either not knocking down shots or just turning the ball over. Utah was definitely missing the presence of their two top ball handlers Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell. Jeff Green was a big story in the 1st quarter with 5 points. But the Jazz didn’t kick the game wide open until Royce O’Neale checked in.
Royce O’Neale was the big story of this game. His development this season is going to create cautious optimism for Jazz fans. Royce O’Neale was already in double figures in the first half. Royce would end up finishing the game with 12 points and 6 assists. Interestingly enough, O’Neale only had 1 rebound in the entire game.
While you never want to see the Jazz lose to an NBL team, the biggest thing Jazz fans should take away from this game is the schemes Utah was running. It is jarring to see the Utah Jazz get the type of space they got on the court tonight. Unless their name was Ed Davis, Jazz players had the green light to grab and go after the rebound. No looking for the designated ball-handler. From Jeff Green to Nigel Williams-Goss, every Jazz player took their turn tonight bringing the ball up and initiating the offense.
With the Jazz’s focus on bringing in players who could rebound and shoot the three at the four spot, the Jazz are sure to see great spacing. Even with makeshift pieces like Jeff Green, Miye Oni, and Nigel Williams-Goss, the Jazz got amazing spacing. It is hard not to get excited when thinking about the spacing Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell, and Rudy Gobert will get this season. With the paint that clear, teams have to choose to collapse or leave good shooters wide open. Just with one preseason game, I think I underestimated how many assists Gobert could have this season if he can consistently kick the ball out to the open man.
One person who has been receiving a lot of praise in training camp who looks like he deserves every bit of it is Miye Oni. Dennis Lindsey appears to have found another defensive wing who has the potential to shut down the opposing team’s best player. While his shot wasn’t falling as much as Oni probably would have liked tonight, it’s easy to see why he was Utah’s choice for the main roster out of the three second rounders selected this past June in the NBA Draft. He finished with 9 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 block in 18 minutes of action.
In the second half the Utah Jazz would really run away with this game. They trotted out the same starting lineup of Nigel Williams-Goss, Joe Ingles, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jeff Green, and Ed Davis and went to work.
Bogdanovic definitely looks like he’s adjusting to the system. Frankly, all of the new players are and that’s to be expected. On most plays it’s easy to see Jazz player’s wheels turning in their heads rather than instinctively reacting. That will come with time. Bogdanovic shot a Jae Crowder like 33% from three and finished 4 of 9 from the field with 10 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
The Aussie man of the hour Joe Ingles looked like he was having fun out there tonight. He hit one of his patented in your face step back threes while going 4 of 9 from the field with 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 6 assists. Joe Ingles was Utah’s primary ballhandler for most of the game.
The Utah Jazz will now travel to Milwaukee—weird how that’s a preseason game—to take on the Bucks on Wednesday, October 8th at 6:00PM MT.
Remember Tony Bradley? Yes, that Tony Bradley drafted in the same class as Donovan Mitchell. Well ... he had 18 points and 10 rebounds. He went 7 of 9 from the field and 4 of 5 from the charity stripe. He just was big. The difference now is it appears he knows how to use his size to get rebounds and score around the basket on smaller defenders. He’s looking like an NBA big.
Georges Niang had a rough night shooting. He went 3 of 14 from the field and 1 of 9 from three. It was very apparent he was frustrated that his shot wasn’t falling. However, he did bring down 4 rebounds and dish out 3 assists.
In Nigel Williams-Goss’ first game with the Jazz, he looked very much every bit of his scouting report. He can score pretty well as evidenced by his quick scoring outburst to start the 2nd half, but he struggled as a playmaker tonight with 4 turnovers (25% of all the Jazz’s turnovers). The other knock on him was he struggled to stay in front of quicker players, and that proved to be true tonight. NWG was brought in to be depth insurance in case any point guard injuries occur, and if he is going to want have the opportunity to be called the next man up if—god forbid—something happens, he’s got to work on being craftier on the defensive side of the ball. He could learn a lot from Joe Ingles who is smarter about the angles he takes when defending the ball.
It’s really weird seeing Jeff Green bringing the ball down the court as point guard on some possessions. That’s just jarring.