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Utah Jazz Question-marks Heading into Vegas!

Trey Lyles SL

So the Utah Jazz just wrapped up Summer League, in Salt Lake City, and shift their focus on the Summer League in Las Vegas. Jazz fans should be encouraged, not necessarily by the 3-0 record so far in Summer League, but the talent pool the Jazz showcased before 32,000 fans, over the 3 day span of the exhibition, who obviously showed they were basketball starved and intrigued with what the new talent had to offer. Despite seeing Dante Exum for only one game, you could at least notice this: 20 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds wasn’t a fluke. Exum showed he was elite on the court, before suffering a sprained ankle with under two minutes to go in a blowout victory over the Celtics. Exum is expected to play in Vegas, along with Rodney Hood, who sat out game three.

Hood is also is showing that he belongs on a regular season roster, rather than a Summer League roster, but as the coaches have been saying and specifically Alex Jensen, it’s about putting a player in different and elevated situations. Hood scored 41 points in the two games he played, shooting 55% in the process. He and Exum showed pretty good chemistry when they played together in game 1 of the Summer League, so it’ll be interesting to see if Vegas is more of the same and why wouldn’t it be. It’ll also be interesting to see how Trey Lyles mixes in.

Trey Lyles made his debut on Thursday night with 10 points on 3 of 9 shooting, but showed flashes in the third quarter of what he can bring to the table, offensively. Aggressive as well. Got to the line 6 times, making 4, so 67% need to be improved there, but a very small scale on that, obviously.

How about guys trying to make the squad?!

Bryce Cotton is fighting for that 3rd PG spot, but with the signing of Raul Neto, drafting Olivier Hanlan in the 2nd round, which doesn’t mean he’ll make the roster, but makes things dicey for Cotton! Now if Neto can contend for the second PG spot and win that over, now you’re talking about Cotton having a chance, because I don’t think there would be a way that Trey Burke agrees to playing behind two PG’s and then becomes a trade option, as if he wasn’t before though.

How about this hypothetical though? What if a guy like Deron Williams came back to the Jazz? Is that something Jazz fans would want if that was indeed the case? According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Deron Williams is rumored to be working out a deal, where he would be released by the Nets and then possibly sign with the Mavericks. It’s also been rumored, and Stein even points this out in his article, that Williams could make a return to the Jazz as well. http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/13231321/deron-williams-brooklyn-nets-talks-secure-williams-release

Now signs point to Williams going to the Mavs, but say Williams did join the Jazz, then you’re talking Cotton and Hanlan, but I really think Cotton absorbing the blow of having the spots definitely being taking up at number one and two on the point guard depth chart. Again, Cotton seems to be the logical third point guard option, with Burke probably not wanting to take a downgrade to third. Sorry to derail on the hypothetical, but it’s something to chew on and think about and makes for fun discussion.

Cotton getting 20 points in game 3 of the Summer League at least made the decision harder for the Jazz. Cotton also for a small guy can rebound the ball with 5 rebounds, while adding 5 assists and 2 steals to the mix.

And let’s not forget about Jack Cooley! Mr. Rebound Machine! 29 rebounds in the 3 games, while adding double digit scoring in two of the three games. He’s all hustle, grit, determination. Whatever cliché, clever word you try to use to describe Cooley, it’s probably been used before. Brings some enforcement, but with an already crowded big man rotation, that could maybe even include German Center Tibor Pleiss, does Cooley fit into the final fifteen.

Still a lot of time to decide the final fifteen though. Also, still another Summer League to play in, as the Jazz lace it up in Vegas. Saturday is the Jazz’ first game vs. Miami at 8:30pm MST.


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