SALT LAKE CITY — Sherry and William Allen stood next to their son Grayson Allen as he signed his rookie contract with the Utah Jazz early Monday.
Later that evening, the former Duke star made his debut in the Utah Jazz Summer League at Vivint Arena with a near triple-double performance.
Allen logged 11 points, eight boards and seven assists in his first game to help the Jazz beat the San Antonio Spurs 92-76.
“It was definitely an exciting day. It’s official now, it feels very real,” Allen described. “Signing a contract is huge. It was an awesome moment just sitting there.
“I’ve like seen pictures of guys signing their contracts, like, my whole life and now it’s, like, 'Dang, it’s me sitting here.' So it’s cool. Then getting out there it felt really good,” he continued. “I’m not going to worry that much about missing so many shots but it felt good to get my first game out there and it feels good to be playing in a Jazz uniform for sure.”
The terms of Allen’s contract were not released, per team policy.
Although the Jazz did end with a victory, he still wasn’t pleased with parts of his performance, particularly his shooting. Allen connected on just 4 of 16 shots and picked up four personal fouls.
Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell also offered tidbits and insight on the bench after timeouts and plays during the game.
Even after four years at Duke, Allen is still adjusting to the NBA speed defensively, especially on ball screens while trying to figure out better footwork to get through them. He personally graded his overall performance as below average.
“What grade? Man…uh… it’s not a good one,” Allen said, smiling. “I don’t know if I passed.
“I’ll look at film and probably see some of the things that I actually did good but in my mind right now, going through footwork on defense, I could’ve made some shots, I was short on a lot of stuff, different reads on the ball. I mean I missed a layup right at the rim — that one stood in my mind — so there’s a lot of stuff so I’m not giving myself a passing grade right now but when I watch film, I’ll see good and bad.”
Jazz two-way player Georges Niang ended with a team-high 17 points. Center Tony Bradley also added 11 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks while former Butler star Kelan Martin put up 13 points and eight rebounds.
Derrick White led the Spurs with 22 points as the Jazz built a 17-point halftime edge and never looked back. Vivint Arena’s first-day attendance was a total 11,758 fans, which marked the second-highest turnout since 2015 when the Utah Jazz Summer League first returned.
Jaren Jackson Jr. (the No. 4 overall pick in this year's draft) helped the Memphis Grizzlies top the Atlanta Hawks and No. 5 pick Trae Young in the first game, 103-88. Jackson, a Michigan State product, went off for 29 points on eight treys in his Summer League debut.
“I like shooting threes,” Jackson said. “When you’re open, you got to take it. There’s 24 seconds on the clock, you may not get a better shot sometimes. Coach told me, ‘If I get a good look, just shoot it.’"
Young, an Oklahoma product, ended with 16 points, three assists and four boards but went 1-for-11 from beyond the arc and 4-for-20 from the field. He looked way more comfortable in the second half, though, as he calmed down.
“Overall, this is a process,” Young said. “This is just the first one in summer league.”
Utah will take on Jackson and the Grizzlies at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 3.7 comments on this story
Jazz summer league coach Mike Wells admired Allen’s aggressiveness in his first game as a Jazzman, especially after just three days of practice after being selected 21st overall in the NBA Draft on June 21. There will be a film session before he hits the floor again, but nothing too major as they expect him to adapt to the system seamlessly with more experience. You can never underestimate the Utah altitude, either.
“I think it’s just conditioning,” Wells said. “Getting his legs under him. Even though he played at Duke, it’s still a little bit faster, there’s a little bit different athletes out there. San Antonio was long and active around the rim and they blocked a lot of shots down there.”