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Utah Jazz Summer League Recap: Day One

Matt John breaks down day one of Utah Jazz Summer League from Salt Lake City.

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Utah Jazz Summer League commenced at the Vivint Arena Monday night to a very packed crowd. Fans gathered to see what the NBA’s fresh meat had to offer for its hungry followers in the league’s very first taste of action since the finals ended weeks ago. After Day 1, did the NBA’s most recent pool of draftees who participated do well in their first outing in the summer league?

Honestly, it was a mixed bag.

Game 1: Atlanta Hawks vs. Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies took care of business against the Hawks, winning 103-88, with the Grizzlies’ most recent lottery pick, Jaren Jackson Jr., at the center of it all. The no. 4 pick in this year’s draft put on a show on Monday, as he scored 29 points on 9-for-15 shooting, including a mind-boggling eight from long-distance, highlighted by his buzzer beater from way beyond the arc to end the first half.

Jackson was all smiles following the team’s victory, as he believed his preparation before the game helped rid himself of the first game jitters.

“I meditated in my hotel room for a little bit to ease the tension,” Jackson said. “Once you get on the court, it feels a little easier. You just feel better. It’s just like riding a bike for the first time.”

Other contributors to the Grizz’ victory included Kobi Simmons, who scored 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting, and Ivan Rabb, who scored 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting. However, the team’s most impressive feat was limiting Trae Young in his Summer League debut, as he put up 16 points on 4-for-20 shooting, including 1-for-11 from three-point land, which impressed coach Adam Mazarei.

“It’s a testament to our team defense,” Mazarei said. “We’re big on team and having our big guys talk on screens, having our weakside pulled in so Javon (Carter) can trust the rest his teammates to do exactly what they’re doing… so as a team, we stopped Young. It was a really good team defensive effort by everybody.”

Game 2: San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz

The Jazz started off their summer league play with a bang, as they blew out the Spurs easily, 92-76. Much like the players that make up the team’s active roster, the Jazz sprung out of the gates from the start primarily because of a balanced attack. The scoring efforts of Grayson Allen, Tony Bradley, Georges Niang, Kelan Martin, and Stanton Kidd, who all scored over ten points, made it an easy victory for the Jazz.

With the Jazz summer league being hosted in Salt Lake, much of the spotlight was focused on Allen. Like Young, Allen did not have the best debut, as he shot only 4-for-16 including 2-for-6 from three. At the same time, Allen was all over the box score, as he scored 11 points, corralled eight rebounds, and racked up seven assists. What stood out to Allen is the sizable difference between NCAA basketball and summer league.

“The game is faster,” Allen said. “It’s a faster game because guys are better athletes. Everyone is a top athlete from who you played against in college so everyone is quick and a little faster. That’s an adjustment but you can’t just let that speed you up. You have switch into the court fast and then slow down when you get to your own stuff and play at your own pace.”

Coach Mike Wells praised other players such as Niang and Bradley for their efforts in the team’s victory.

“Georges really stabilized us out there,” Wells said, “We can move him around because he’s a really versatile guy and he can settle our offense down… Tony was just battling down there. I loved the way he just kept pushing through and pushing through and trying to get there and trying to have some positive things.”

Matt John is a staff writer for Basketball Insiders. He is currently a Utah resident, but a Massachusetts native.

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