He’s in a situation where instead of being the fourth or fifth guy on the scouting report, he’s <i>the</i> guy on the scouting report, and he knows what that feels like and made adjustments accordingly, and that’s going to help him during the season. —Johnnie Bryant, the Jazz Summer League coach
SALT LAKE CITY — After three games of the Utah Jazz Summer League, perhaps the biggest thing we learned about this Jazz team is that not a lot of guys on the 15-man roster will be playing for the real Jazz this coming season.
In fact you might just see two players, Trey Lyles and Tibor Pleiss, who are both under contract and were the best players this week. With the recent addition of George Hill, Joe Johnson and Boris Diaw, the Jazz have 14 players under contract, as well as Jeff Withey and Chris Johnson, who were both on the roster last year.
After going 3-0 in last year’s revival of the summer league in Utah, the Jazz finished 0-3 after an 86-75 loss Thursday night to Philadelphia at the University of Utah’s Huntsman Center. Earlier, the Jazz lost by 21 to San Antonio and by seven to Boston.
Lyles showed some nifty moves around the basket and some outside shooting ability this week, but he was forced to be the go-to guy on a team with no other first-round draft choices, a role he hasn’t had the last couple of years playing for Kentucky and the Jazz.
“It’s a learning experience for him,” said Johnnie Bryant, the Jazz Summer League coach. “He’s in a situation where instead of being the fourth or fifth guy on the scouting report, he’s the guy on the scouting report, and he knows what that feels like and made adjustments accordingly, and that’s going to help him during the season.”
Lyles was the leading scorer again for the Jazz with 22 points, but was 4 of 17 from the field, leaving him just 16 of 52 (30.8 percent) for the three games. He was able to get to the free-throw line, where he shot 22 of 26.
“He did a great job of getting to the basket,” said Bryant. “He was pressing a little bit and I told him to try to get going by getting to the free line.”
One Jazzman who did impress with his outside shooting was the 7-foot-3 Pleiss, who knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter, from the right angle and straightaway, giving the Jazz fans something to cheer about.
He turned out to be Utah’s best 3-point shooter for the week, making 4 of 7 from long range after going 0 for 2 with the Jazz and 6 for 19 for Idaho in the D-League last year. Pleiss scored 14 points Thursday and shot 10 of 16 from the field for the week.
“He has a unique ability to shoot the basketball,” said Bryant. “That’s a weapon you don’t really see in the league from a five man. We got him some pick and pop situations and using him in a way different from traditional big men he was able to showcase that tonight. He’s always had the ability to shoot it, and now he’s more confident.”
Tyrone Wallace and Marcus Paige, two of Utah’s second-round draft picks last month, both got their first starts Thursday night against Philadelphia and showed glimpses of NBA ability, but both are likely to end up in the D-League.
Paige, who played for North Carolina, scored seven points for the third straight night, while Wallace, who played for Cal, managed two points, giving him only 12 points in three games.
The other second-round pick, former Weber State forward Joel Bolomboy, had a hard time getting the ball in the basket this week, but impressed with his hustle, getting some loose balls on the floor and competing on the boards.
“Obviously this was his first time in a professional situation, so he’s going to have to continue to get comfortable,” Bryant said of Bolomboy. “Its not about where he is now. It’s about gaining the confidence so when the season starts he’s ready to go.”
SUMMER NOTES: The Jazz will start play in the Las Vegas Summer League Saturday afternoon against Washington and are guaranteed at least five games. A crowd of 6,267 was on hand for Thursday’s Jazz-Sixers game, not only to watch the hometown Jazz, but to see No. 1 draft pick Ben Simmons. He didn’t impress much though, scoring just six points while handing out six assists. Former UNLV star Christian Wood led the Sixers with 17 points and had the play of the night with a posterizing dunk on Utah’s Bangaly Fofana. In the first game Thursday, Boston defeated San Antonio 87-86 to come away as the only undefeated team of the three-day, four-team tournament. Second-year guard Terry Rozier hit a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left. Rozier scored 23 points, including 13 in the final quarter. Kyle Anderson led the Spurs with 23 points, and first-round draft choice Dejounte Murray added 21 in his summer league debut after missing the first two games. The two games Thursday were played at the U. because of a convention downtown that moved the summer league out of the Vivint Center.