2009 NBA Summer League round-up: Utah Jazz
July 25th, 2009
All right! Only three weeks late!
– James Augustine: Augustine was covered in the Bulls round-up from bloody ages ago. He played well for both teams and definitely re-established himself. But neither team has room for him next year.
– Jimmy Baron: Jay Bilas lookalike Baron just played four years at Rhode Island, where his coach was his dad. I’ve always wondered why players think this is a good thing, but anyhoo. Baron set the school record for made three-pointers in a season in his sophomore season, then broke it in his junior season, then broke it again in his senior season. He made 118 of those bad boys last year in only 34 games. So you get the idea of how he plays. 6’3 shooting specialists have to have something extra to make the NBA, and Baron doesn’t, but no matter; he has already signed for Mersin in Turkey next season, presumably as Chris Lofton’s replacement.
– Cedric Bozeman: I’m a big fan of Cedric Bozeman and I don’t know why. As such, it buoyed me to see him play well last year, to the tune of 19.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. Even the jump shot is getting there, shooting 35% from three-point range last season. This encourages me. Here’s hoping he’s doing enough for one more go-around.
– Derrick Brown: Brown is a second-round draft pick of the Bobcats who has signed with the team for two years, who played on the Jazz summer league team because his own team was too cheap to run one. Typically, he led the team in scoring, which probably makes the Jazz feel a little weird about their hospitality. Especially since their own second-round draft pick this year, Goran Suton, played pretty badly.
– Josh Duncan: Duncan barely played last year, going to France briefly to play for the struggling Pau Orthez but suffering an injury and playing in only 18 games. He had a pretty crazy summer league for the Jazz, shooting 72% from the field, 78% from three-point range and 73% from the foul line, but grabbing only 2.2 rebounds per game and fouling 20 times in 83 minutes. Either way, it’s irrelevant, as he has already signed with Belgacom Liege for next year. You can guess which country they play in.
– Andre Ingram: Ingram is perhaps not good enough to be here. He had three decent but not great seasons at American University – not a big program – and one poor season. Since then, he’s spent two years in the D-League, averaging 6.1 points per game in his first season, and 10.0 points/3.3 rebounds in his second year. He can shoot, but the real reason he’s here is because the D-League team that he was with was the Utah Flash.
– Kosta Koufos: It may have been a good idea for Koufos to leave Ohio State after one year, or it may not. But considering that he was a first-round pick, and ended up being a useful contributor on a playoff calibre team at the tender age of 19, he can’t feel too bad about it.
– Kevin Kruger: Kruger started last year with Lukoil Akademik in Bulgaria, a team sponsored by a trainee petrol pump attendant’s night school. He averaged 12.0 points and 7.5 assists in two games, before being released when the team was knocked out of the EuroCup and waived all its American players. Kruger then returned to America, and joined the D-League with the Utah Flash (NOW it makes sense). He averaged 13.0 points, 2.7 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game, and led the D-League with a 51% three-point shooting percentage. But, as is the case with all 26 year olds in summer league, I am obliged to tell you that he is 26 years old. It counts for something, whether we want it to or not.
– Kevin Lyde: This is the third straight season that Kevin Lyde has appeared on the Jazz summer league roster. I am not sure what they see in him. Last year, he even got a training camp roster and the opportunity to play in some preseason games. At least they’ve finally started getting his measurements vaguely closer to the truth, changing his originally listed 6’10 260lbs to a more apt 6’9 294lbs. Dude’s got some podge, you may have noticed.
– Wesley Matthews: See this.
– Eric Maynor: I’m not sure how, but a VCU game just came on my telly. And I’m all love for Eric Maynor. I love me some floaters, despite the statistically-proven inefficiency of the shot. I’m also REALLY all over Larry Sanders, who has it all. The athleticism, the length, the name, everything.
– Goran Suton: If I was court ordered to give a comparison for Goran Suton, I’d probably choose Paul Davis. Such a court order would be frivolous and wasteful, but if it happened, that’s where I’d take it. And yes, the facts that they’re both white and from Michigan State factor in heavily.
– Dar Tucker: Tucker’s first name is short for Darquavis, and not Darth as you may have hoped. He just left DePaul early, a decision which might not have been a great idea. DePaul struggled last year pretty damn badly, but so did Tucker. He took 6.4 three-point shots per game, and shot only 28% from out there. He scored big (18.5 points per game), but they came on a poor true shooting percentage of 49%. And since he’s a one-dimensional scorer, you can see the problems with this. Stay in school and wait for backup, or transfer to somewhere that might help you more, but don’t declare after a bad year like that.
– The People’s Champion Larry Turner: Turner is a 26-year-old big man who played little at Oklahoma, transferred to Tennessee State, and did not do much there either. Nevertheless, he’s an athletic big, and thus he got a summer league spot in 2007 with the Lakers, which even more amazingly led to a training camp spot. But the normality kicked in and he was waived. Since then, he’s played 47 games in the D-League, played in some NBA minicamps, and also played in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Korea and the PBL. I only have numbers for the D-League stint in 2007-8 = 7.8 ppg, 6. 5rpg, 1.1 bpg, 49.2% FG 54.8% FT. His summer league numbers were less efficient – 27% shooting, 18 fouls and 10 turnovers in 63 minutes.
– Gary Wilkinson: Wilkinson’s story is unconventional. Last year, he took Utah State to the NCAA tournament, averaging 17.1 points and 6.8 rebounds, on the efficient numbers of 58%/31%/83%. Not bad at all from a 6’10 big man. However, he’s also 26. And the reason he was 26 years old and in college was because he spent a lot of time not doing much. Wilkinson didn’t play high school basketball because he fell out with the coach, who kicked him off the team for his bad attitude. Wilkinson then left high school before graduating, and spent time by his own admission kicking about aimless, drinking, partying, and doing drugs. Then he found Jesus, straightened himself out, and went on a two-year mission to Canada. He came back, put in two years at Salt Lake Community College, and then went to Utah State for two years, where the story culminated with the NCAA Tournament birth and now Wilkinson’s spot on the Jazz summer league team. It’s a lovely story. But he’s not Josh Hamilton.
I am continuously intrigued by the esoterica and minutiae of all the aspects of building a basketball team. I want to understand how to build the best basketball teams possible. No, I don’t know why, either.
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