After three days that were jam-packed with six games of basketball, Salt Lake Summer League has come to an end.
The Utah Jazz played three games against opposing rosters that included a few legitimate NBA talents and more players who will probably not see their NBA careers extended beyond next week’s Summer League play in Las Vegas. So, it’s not the best sample size for making huge sweeping predictions.
But what is summer basketball for if not speculating wildly about the future of these young NBA hopefuls?
Before we get some of the news and observations from what transpired on the court, it’s worth noting what went on off the court.
Will Taylor or Brice play in Las Vegas?
Jazz fans have been able to get a good dose of the 16th overall pick — Keyonte George, who played in all three of the Jazz’s games in Salt Lake City. But the No. 9 pick, Taylor Hendricks, and No. 28 pick, Brice Sensabaugh have yet to play.
Hendricks pulled a hamstring late during the pre-draft process and has been working toward getting back to the court. Sensabaugh is rehabbing from knee surgery in March. Both have been doing individual court work along with strength and conditioning but have not yet practiced with the Jazz.
The Jazz have not ruled out either player from participating in games in Las Vegas, instead saying that they are both considered to be day-to-day with their rehab. The team is open to either one being able to get into a game, but since neither has practiced it’s going to be difficult for them to ramp up to playing with limited practice time and games played every other day.
Team sources have said that both players are dying to get on the court and are itching to play. The team isn’t trying to bubblewrap them, but they don’t want to risk aggravating any injury before training camp opens.
The plan is for both players to be 100% ready for play when open gym workouts and training camp begins in September. That doesn’t mean they absolutely won’t get into a late Summer League game in Las Vegas, but it does feel unlikely at this point.
John Collins at the Delta Center
Though the trade that will make John Collins a part of the Utah Jazz has not been made official, (it’s only a formality at this point) Collins was in Utah this week, sitting courtside at the Jazz’s games on Wednesday and Thursday.
Flanked by Jazz CEO Danny Ainge, general manager Justin Zanik, head coach Will Hardy and assistant coach Chad Forcier, Collins wasn’t just at the Delta Center quietly watching the games. He was on the court during warmups, high fiving and encouraging his new teammates.
According to Jazz two-way player Johnny Juzang, Collins was also at Zions Bank Basketball Campus on Thursday before the summer league action at the arena, spending time with the coaching staff and players, getting acquainted with his new home.
Four takeaways from the Jazz games
I’m starting to believe in Keyonte George as a point guard. I, like many, had my doubts at first, but even in only three games he’s shown me enough to think that he could really develop into a great pass-first, perimeter threat who is able to run an offense.
He talks a lot about being able to pass with both hands and being able to take care of the ball and he backed up everything he’s said.
Ochai Agbaji has put himself into some situations during these games that have made him uncomfortable and I appreciate and applaud his efforts. He’s had some slip ups here and there but the fact that he’s trying to expand his game and see what works and what doesn’t is a great sign of maturity and growth as he heads into just his second NBA season.
I think there is a clear case to be made that you can’t expect Agbaji to take on as much of a load during the regular season as he has had in these summer games. When he was doing a little too much it showed in the number of fouls he committed and the lack of burst he had as the game wore on. But that’s good intel! And, there’s no way that Agbaji will be asked to do as much with the normal Jazz team anyway.
It’s good to understand the limitations of a player as much as anything else.
Luka Samanic is quietly having a great summer league run. He had a knee-to-knee injury in the Jazz’s game on Thursday, so we’ll see what that means for his availability in Las Vegas. But if Samanic is able to play, he could be on his way to being the Jazz’s most impressive summer player. Stay tuned for more on him in the coming days.
I would like to see more out of Micah Potter in Vegas. A two-way player, who is 25, should be able to impose his will a little more than he has. Potter had a really nice night on Thursday with 10 points, six rebounds, three assists a block and a steal on a good shooting night. But I’d like to see him be more aggressive and show that he has size and experience on most of the guys he’s going against.