Forgive me if I wasn’t able to get my Day 1 reactions posted last night. Spent a good amount of time on the road after watching the game live in Salt Lake City (Idaho Problems). Day 1 of Salt Lake City Summer League is in the books and instead of giving a recap to a night that is much like Whose Line Is It Anyway—the games are made up and the points don’t matter—I’m going to let you know what my impressions where from last night.
I’d be incredibly surprised if Jarrell Brantley isn’t on the Utah Jazz roster next season
Quin Snyder loves defense. He loves hustle. He loves heart. Brantley has that in spades. He was everywhere on the court. Flying for blocks, willing to dive for loose balls, and he has insane length. When you see him live, you’ll know what I’m talking about. He already has great instincts when using his verticality and length to challenge shots. He can guard any position on the court whether it’s the point guard to the center. He can also handle the ball—though that will need to be worked on before that’s ready for primetime in the NBA—and he’s got some good moves in the post.
Watching Brantley is like watching Draymond Green. I’m not exaggerating. Draymond was able to improve year over year to become what he is now, but Brantley has the same tool box: wide heavy frame, serviceable jumper, good handle, great length, and never looks slow on his feet. Brantley finished with 11 points, 2 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block (I could have sworn he had two), and—get ready for it—8 fouls.
Brantley fouled at a rookie Paul Millsapian rate. I would love to see Utah have Brantley initiate the offense more and bring the ball down the court more as Summer League progresses.
If you had questions about Tony Bradley before, you’ll still have questions about Tony Bradley
I’m not sure what to say about Tony Bradley. If this was 2001, Tony Bradley would be guaranteed to have a long 14 year career in the NBA as a second or third big off the bench just because of his size and the lack of spacing in the NBA. Now, it’s a completely other story. Tony Bradley at times just is slow. His athleticism feels as though it’s a special move that has to be conserved and saved for specific times. His ability to jump high for an alley-oop isn’t there.
To Bradley’s credit, he finds himself at the right spot in the pick and roll and guards it the way he’s supposed to. But he struggles to have the gear to get to the spot in time. He did finish with 14 points, 15 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 27 minutes of play. But it feels like he’s better than the G-Leaguers at Summer League, but still not far and away better to justify taking a roster spot on a possible championship contending team. Hopefully he shows more as the Summer League progresses, but his long-term future on the Jazz is definitely in doubt.
Meet Willie Reed, your soon-to-be third big off the Utah Jazz bench.
Had Willie Reed not injured his shoulder last season, I’m thoroughly convinced he would have been signed to the Utah Jazz roster for the rest of the season. The guy beasted with the Salt Lake City Stars last year and was the reason that team was a playoff team. He had 12 points, 2 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks in only 15 minutes of play. He can sky above the rim for alley oops, he doesn’t look like he’s running through wet cement defending pick and rolls, and he’s just massive.
I’d be surprised if he wasn’t on the Jazz roster next season.
Justin Wright-Foreman and Miye Oni looked like 2nd round picks which ... eh
That’s not a knock against either one of them, but while Jarrell Brantley had me questioning how in the world he fell into the 50s, Wright-Foreman and Oni—at least last night—showed me why they did. Wright-Foreman went 3 of 14 from the field. He was billed as a scorer in college and in a game where Utah was desperate for ANY perimeter scoring, Wright-Foreman struggled from the field, shooting 21% and not hitting one three. Miye Oni was conservative and only took 3 shots and not hitting one. His lone points came from the free throw line.
I will say I was incredibly impressed by their defense. Especially Oni. Oni is like Brantley where he is never out of a play because of his length. But if Oni struggles to score he’ll be a Ronnie Brewer-lite. Definitely need to see more out of those two.
The branding for Salt Lake City Summer League is amazing
I know this isn’t about the games per se, but the design of the Summer League is amazing. The colors feel fresh and retro at the same time. The designs feel summery. The city court goes great with look. Hats off to everyone who pulled this off. Great look. Great branding. I love it.
Dante Exum looks yoked
I’m not here to say Dante Exum is going to have a breakout season, I’m just here to say he’s been in the gym. When they showed Dante Exum on the jumbotron, he’s got some muscles now and doesn’t look like the baby giraffe that he once was. He could overpower people next season if he stays healthy. Plus he was sitting next to Donovan Mitchell the entire time. I don’t know what that means, but I know there’s people in the comment section here that will make season projections on that piece of information, so you’re welcome.
Cubby’s is really good food, y’all.
James Hansen convinced me to eat at Cubby’s. I had eaten like crap all trip down and got a lemon grilled jalapeno and lime chicken salad. It was delicious. Not as delicious as the sandwiches I saw coming out of that joint, but my gut health thanked me for the decision. The salad was surprisingly fresh for an arena dig. Great service and good food. Totally recommend.