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Jazz hold off Nuggets late surge after losing Keyonte George to injury

It’s clear the impact that Keyonte George has just from him not even playing

2023 NBA Las Vegas Summer League - Denver Nuggets v Utah Jazz Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images

The Utah Jazz were able to hold off the Denver Nuggets and go 3-0 in Las Vegas Summer League, but it was a tale of two parts. The first part was with Keyonte George, who was fantastic again.

In 10 minutes, George had 6 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal. He went 2/5 from the floor and 12 from three. He was a team-leading +19 in this one, leading the Jazz to a 26-point lead at one point.

And then he turned his ankle badly, and the game changed.

George was helped off the floor, and the team was different from that point on. The offense stalled many times, and players weren’t getting the same types of looks. Do you think those things were correlated? You’d be right.

George has been phenomenal this summer league to the point that he makes everything look easy. It’s only when you see the team without him you realize just how difficult this is. In some ways, his not being on the floor shows just how valuable he is. The most surprising of all has been his unselfish play and passing. George has had so many passes where he waits for the perfect moment and makes a precise pass to a cutter. Other times his scoring prowess allows him to pull defenders away and make a nice entry pass. These are all little things that go away when he’s not on the floor.

There were others that played well, also that deserve some credit for still getting the win. Ochai Agbaji has given the Jazz a very good idea of what he is and how he’ll contribute next season. Agbaji has been pushing his limits and shows some interesting ability here and there, but it’s clear that he’s a high-level 3 and D player. His ability to defend, rebound, make athletic plays, and shoot the ball, make him the perfect player to play off of guys like Keyonte George and Lauri Markkanen. This season, if he can continue his high level shooting and become a deadeye from three, he becomes a valuable part of a consistent winning team. Agbaji has proven what he can do and is probably showing a little of what he cant and that’s exactly what you want from summer league. Now the Jazz can go into the season ready to use him in the best possible way.

We should also give a shoutout to Luka Samanic who’s also had a great summer league. Tonight Samanic had 14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. He was a solid 50% from three and 33.3% from three. Samanic may not get a ton of minutes during the season, but he’s proving that he’s absolutely a player worth keeping on your roster that could provide spot minutes during the season and provide size, shooting, and defense. He’s not really elite at any particular thing, but he's good at a lot of things, and that type of skillset can be great coming off the bench when he’s needed.

It was a solid performance from the Jazz, but they’ll be a different team now that Keyonte George is out. We’ll see if Taylor Hendricks comes out, but it might not be enough to make up for missing their high-level guard play that’s now gone.