The Utah Jazz Summer League opener featured two of the top three picks from this year’s NBA Draft. Ben Simmons and Jaylen Brown squared off on Independence Day in a matchup between two of America’s most historical cities, Philadelphia and Boston.
Boston Celtics 102 – Philadelphia 76ers 94
The 76ers look to be starting their climb out of the cellar they’ve inhabited for the better part of a decade. Ben Simmons, while he isn’t their first promising draft pick during their run of irrelevance, appears to have the skills, charisma and drive to help this franchise begin its turnaround.
Simmons had some impressive moments passing the ball in Monday’s game. His vision might have come as a little bit of a shock to some of his teammates, who aren’t used to playing with a guy who can distribute the ball like he can. As the game went on, the 76ers players appeared to acclimate to Simmons’ passing ability, cutting a little harder and keeping their heads up a little longer.
While Philadelphia didn’t win the opener, they looked excited to be playing team basketball.
When asked if he liked the idea of playing with the ball in his hands Simmons said, “I just like playing. Wherever they need me on the court I’m just ready to play. Whether it’s off the ball, on the ball, it doesn’t matter.”
Simmons cramped up late in the game, but insisted he was fine. Coach Lange said Simmons would not play on Tuesday, but that decision had been made prior to his leaving the game. Simmons had both his calves wrapped with ice after the game, but he was walking fine.
Jaylen Brown of the Celtics had some impressive moments as well. He came flying into the lane twice, almost completing some impressive dunks. On his second dunk attempt he got into it with a few of Philadelphia’s players.
Brown’s athleticism could be a big reason that Boston decided to pick him up with the third pick. He looked fearless in his first game in a Celtics uniform. His ability to elevate will help him stay in the league for years to come.
Boston already has a pretty good roster, and Jaylen Brown looks ready to contribute right away. This is a very fortunate pickup for Boston, who has already added the talented Al Horford this offseason.
76ers Summer League Coach Billy Lange:
76ers First Round Draft Pick Ben Simmons:
San Antonio Spurs 90 – Utah Jazz 69
The Jazz took on the Spurs in the second game of the Independence Day double header. For the first time in a while, the Jazz Summer League roster doesn’t feature a high number of guys who will be seeing significant minutes this season. That’s a good thing.
The additions that the Jazz have made so far this season put them in a position to win with some experienced players. Nevertheless, the Summer League roster has some intriguing guys on it.
For starters, Trey Lyles took complete control to start the game. He scored 11 of the first 13 Jazz points. It’s obvious that Lyles is on a different level than most of the players he’s facing this summer. However, Lyles missed his last 9 shots of the game. Fans shouldn’t worry; Lyles’ presence on the team can definitely help him develop some leadership ability. He played in 80 of 82 games last season, earning 33 starts. From a Summer League standpoint that experience will set him apart. His experience, combined with the opportunity to lead this Summer League team, should give him some added confidence heading into next season.
Tibor Pleiss is another guy that Jazz fans should keep an eye on this summer. He played very few minutes last season as a rookie for the Jazz. However, he appears to be developing some shooting range. Pleiss knocked down a three in Monday night’s game. He also appeared to have pretty good touch around the basket. His size can’t be ignored, either. Tibor is 7’3” and appears to have the ability to pull down offensive boards. Rebounding was an issue for the Jazz last season, and a little help in that area could go a long way.
Third year player Kyle Anderson was the standout for the Spurs in the opener vs. Utah. His experience put him a step ahead of the other guys. He and Lyles clearly had the edge in terms of game savvy. Anderson had a good performance scoring the ball. NCAA Championship Game hero Ryan Arcidiacono also suited up for the Spurs. He didn’t have a huge impact on the game, but it was fun to see him go up against Marcus Paige again. This game, however, lacked the dramatic flair of the NCAA Title Game.
Jazz Summer League Coach Johnnie Bryant:
Jazz Forward Joel Bolomboy:
Jazz Guard Marcus Paige:
Jazz Center Tibor Pleiss: