The Utah Jazz will have their last scrimmage before the NBA officially restarts the season on Thursday. Today the Utah Jazz play whoever is left playing for the Brooklyn Nets. That is not a joke. Here are just some of the players you probably haven’t heard of before: Chris Chiozza, Jeremiah Martin, Lance Thomas, Donta Hall. They also signed Jamal Crawford. Guys like Tmothe Luwau-Cabarrot and Tyler Johnson are getting major minutes. This team is a patchwork roster put together so the Brooklyn Nets can confidently say, “We’re just here so we don’t get fined.”
The Utah Jazz are coming off a scrimmage win against the Miami Heat in which Rudy Gobert had a monster game. He had 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks in only 23 minutes. That does come with a big asterisk, Bam Adebayo was not playing. The fellow first time All-Star was sitting along with Jimmy Butler. While their absence most certainly allowed Utah to find their groove a bit, it really didn’t give Jazz fans an apples to apples comparison for how well this team will perform against tougher competition. It does give some hope which is the best you can ask for right now.
When: Monday, July 27, 2020 • 3:30 PM MT
Where: The NBA Bubble, Disney World
TV: AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain, NBA League Pass
Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone
What to watch for
You really need an excuse to space out on a Monday
So baseball fans, is this what you do when your team is playing at work? Are you guys dipping out for a couple hours while your team is playing or working earlier so you can leave earlier? Trying to get used to this matinee game is a new thing for basketball fans. It’s not going to be great basketball as Utah will be making sure to give their players just enough run so they are ready for Thursday but not too much where an injury may occur.
Let’s see if Mike Conley can put together another good game
Mike Conley looked out of sorts to start the game against Miami. He went 1-6 before the second quarter where he just came alive. Floater after floater went in. He plinko’d his way to a three pointer. His chemistry with his teammates on the court was at an eleven. He and Donovan Mitchell looked like the promised backcourt tandem they were hyped to be when the season began. When Miami started focusing on Donovan which was partly what contributed to his 3 of 11 shooting, Conley went ham. He would finish 7 of 15 from the field with 6 rebounds.
One of the hard things to evaluate with Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley is they may not both have these big games at the same time. Each one is supposed to serve as the release valve for the other. The problem during most of the regular season is when Donovan Mitchell didn’t have the juice or was being smothered on defense, Conley wasn’t able to take advantage. But against Miami, we have a promising glimpse of things to come ... hopefully.
The Spida-Gobzilla connection
One may look at Donovan Mitchell’s line of 8 points, 2 rebounds, and 4 assists from the Miami game and incorrectly assume that he was terrible. It’d be easy to see the stat sheet and point to Gobert’s line and assume he had to step up in his absence. Neither would be true. Gobert’s fantastic game was the result of Mitchell slashing into the paint and looking for the big fella. Two of Don’s turnovers were just trying to lob it up to the big fella. One of those lobs probably was misguided as Gobert had just jammed one of his fingers the play before so probably wasn’t anticipating the lob (nor wanting to push past the pain in a meaningless scrimmage). Those are promising signs.
The hard thing about today’s game against is we don’t know how hard Utah has been told to go in it. Utah could look out of sorts again against a depleted Nets team. We could see a lot of Salt Lake City Stars guys get a ton of run. It would be very comforting to see the Utah Jazz come out in the first quarter and boat race these New Jersey Swamp Dragons, but best to withhold judgement (even that’s incredibly hard) with this last scrimmage.