Open scrimmage time, Jazz Fans! I took the opportunity to attend and thoroughly enjoyed it. Here are a few things that I noticed.
First, the new video screens are incredible! The size, clarity, and positioning of those boards are perfect. Not to mention the two large screens in the corners of the arena! The upper bowl season tickets just became totally worth the cost. Well done Miller Family! Second, the fans were great! The majority of the lower bowl was full. I have been to a couple of these before and I haven't seen so many people for a scrimmage. Also in the house was Jerry Sloan, Phil Johnson, and the "Mailman".
David Locke started off with a quick Q&A with each player. When David got to Kanter and Favors, he asked both of them how it was to work with Malone. Kanter looked up to where Karl was sitting and kind of laughed, then said that Karl needs to suit up. Derrick said it was an honor to work with Karl, then David asked if it was difficult, he answered, "not that bad." David started laughing very hard and looked at Malone then told Favors to sit down before he gets himself in any more trouble. Of course, Gobert, Burke, Kanter, Favors, Burks, and Hayward received the biggest response from the crowd. Gordon, Derrick and Alec all looked bigger. Jeremy Evans looked bigger as well, but that is not saying much. Rudy made the 7' Biedrins look small! He is a monster of a man! Trey Burke is small, but he does have length. That will help him some with his lack of height.
It was hard to take away too much from the play. They played two twenty-minute periods. The clock ran the entire time. The white team starters were Gordon, Alec, Trey, Jeremy and Andris. The blue team started Derrick, Enes, Richard Jefferson, John Lucas, and Justin Holiday. Jeremy matched up with Favs and did a pretty good job fighting him on the block. He is just so much smaller, and Derrick was able to get the shots he wanted. Jeremy did do a good job of contesting those shots. Kanter is a BEAST! He absolutely abused whoever went against him in the post. He is going to have a good year. I was impressed with Jeremy's confidence. He did a good job setting screens and working on the boards. He also contested shots well. The last play of the first half was amazing. Derrick caught the ball on the right baseline, took one dribble and powered up to throw it down with two hands. Problem was, Rudy was waiting! He came across and ended up fouling Favors. This was a great play from both players. Favors, for wanting to smash on anyone in his way, and Gobert for not being afraid of a vet and a guy that he is going to battle with all season in practice. There was a nice play in the second half where Scott Machado came off of a high pick to the left of the key, Jeremy came crashing in from the right wing, Machado threw a perfect alley-oop that Jeremy finished with a nice left hand dunk. It was hard for the guys to get in to a flow with the set up of the game. They did run a lot more pick and rolls, which is good news. They ran it high and they ran it from the wing quite a bit. There were a number of players involved in the pick and roll also. Gordon, Alec and Trey all ran it fairly well. The low post game consisted mostly of Kanter on the blocks. They did try to get Gordon in the post a few times but had a difficult time with the entry pass. Defensively, they were solid. No one got beat off the dribble terribly, the rotation was okay, but they did give up a couple of corner 3's.
The new guys-
Trey has learned already from his struggles during summer league. He played with pace and pushed the ball ahead. He made some plays to push it ahead to Alec and Gordon. He was a little tenative on his shot. I have noticed that his release point is alright, but the ball is coming out a little flat. He also made plays where he got to the basket, took the contact, and had a chance to finish. Trey is going to be just fine.
I was really surprise by Rudy Gobert. I have a feeling by the end of the year, he is going to be in the rotation. He is not intimidated by anyone on the court. He moves his feet really well, and contests everything. Ian Clark can handle the ball a lot better than I expected. He came off a few screens and had opportunities to create but seemed to pull back a bit. He will need to be a little more assertive if he wants to get minutes on the court. Richard Jefferson is a consummate pro. He is going to be valuable off the bench. He can spread the floor and hit the corner 3. Beidrins didn't get a lot of run. He was most effective on the boards. Brandon Rush did not play. I think it will be a while before we see him or Marvin on the court. That leads me to the most interesting part of the scrimmage, the guys that have a shot to make this team. I think there are three guys that have a legit shot. Dominic Mcquire, Scott Machado, and Justin Holiday. Mcquire reminds me of Demarre Carrol, but with a lot better handle. He has clearly been working on his jumper and knocked down a couple of 18 footers. He was defending the 2-3 and switched a couple of times to the 4. Machado's court vision is great. He sees plays develop and makes the correct pass. He did a pretty good job staying in front of his man as well. Justin Holiday is a player that has really been working on his game as well. He has incredible length. He was matched up against Gordon a few times. Gordon tried to take him to the post, but Holiday could play behind him with his length and contested every entry pass. He made it very hard for Gordon to get the ball where he wanted it. Holiday also has a couple of corner 3's. The Jazz have 13 players currently under contract so its likely that two of these guys will stick. With the likes of Marvin and Brandon being out for a while, the Jazz may take three of them.
It was a great opportunity to see a small piece of the future of the Utah Jazz and some of the things these kids have to offer. I feel like the organization is right where is needs to be and will continue to improve. As a Jazz fan I am stoked, and can't wait for Tuesday night vs. The Warriors. Go Jazz!