The Utah Jazz announced yesterday evening that former UMBC star Jairus Lyles signed with the team. Lyles is most well known for playing a pivotal role in UMBC becoming the first 16-seed in the NCAA Tournament to defeat a one seed by beating Virginia 74-54.
The 6-foot-2 guard has been playing with the Utah’s Summer League team, averaging 7.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 15.5 minutes per game.
As of right now, the terms of the deal haven’t been released, even still, this signing comes as a bit of surprise as the Jazz have three point guards that should be on the roster come October: Ricky Rubio, Dante Exum and Raul Neto. Plus, whatever point duties not taken up by those three could easily be made up by Donovan Mitchell and, based on his recent play, Grayson Allen.
Snatching up Lyles is likely nothing more than an extreme insurance policy, as it would take quite a bit for the him to see the floor during a meaningful game. Maybe in the future, he can find a role as a scoring guard, perhaps in the Isaiah Thomas role. After all, the 23-year-old averaged 20.4 points in three seasons with the Retrievers.
One of the topics repeatedly discussed among Jazz media and fans is the camaraderie between all of the players on the roster. Jae Crowder, who has experienced a terrible locker-room environment before (Cleveland), was quoted in a Deseret News article regarding his presence with six other members of the team as they watched the Las Vegas Summer League.
This is about as far from breaking news as you can get. Yet it’s still amazing how often we get reminded of how close these guys are. And that will matter when it comes to battling for a high seed in the playoffs and then advancing through said playoffs. The Jazz have elite levels of chemistry, suitable experience, and a pair of stars. This team won’t be ignored in 2018-19.
I’ve already brought up the Summer League twice, but there’s still more news out of it. That news is mostly that it’s winding down. Utah has shut down Grayson Allen and Tony Bradley (the latter has reportedly already gone home to Salt Lake).
It’s the downside of Summer League that when players perform well, they play less. We saw that last year with Donovan Mitchell and Dante Exum. No need to put guys out there that don’t need to be there.
Despite not having the two best players from the summer roster, the Jazz managed to grind out a victory against the Orlando Magic (it should be noted that Mo Bamba and Jonathan Isaac also didn’t play). Diamond Stone and Georges Niang both notched double-doubles in the 75-70 win.
In not-specifically-Jazz-but-still-related-news, KSL sports writer and SLC Dunk alum Andy Larsen is moving from KSL to the Salt Lake Tribune to cover the Jazz.
Hey all, I have some exciting news to announce!— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) July 12, 2018
I'm moving to the Salt Lake Tribune to be a Jazz beat writer there, starting July 25! I'm incredibly honored to be joining that team.
That move was preceded by the departure of Kyle Goon, the now-former Tribune sports writer who is moving to California to cover the Lakers.
At the end of the month, I will begin a new adventure out west: Next season, I will be covering the Los Angeles Lakers for the Southern California News Group, including the Orange County Register and LA Daily News, taking over for my friend @billoram.— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) July 12, 2018
The Jazz have been blessed with several great writers to cover the team. I didn’t read a ton of Goon’s work, but he seemed to be a solid writer with plenty of good stories and should have plenty of work with LeBron’s move to LA. And, of course, I’m happy for Andy, who’s been great for the Jazz community.
On Wednesday, the Ogden Pioneer Rodeo had a ribbon-cutting after some changes to its north-side bleachers. The seating was upgraded from old, wooden bleachers to stadium seat — specifically, seats that used to be occupied by the posteriors of Utah Jazz fans.
The Standard-Examiner, which has been reporting on the story, said 7,500 stadium seats were donated by the Jazz after they were removed during the renovations in Vivint Smart Home Arena. It’s a neat story and also a great way to remember the past.