The Triple Team: Jared Butler has an awful shooting night — 3-22 from the floor — in summer league

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz guard Jared Butler (13).

Three thoughts on the Utah Jazz’s 83-82 summer league win over the Dallas Mavericks from Salt Lake Tribune Jazz beat writer Andy Larsen.

1. Jared Butler’s awful shooting night

After his awful shooting night, Jared Butler sat in a chair in the corner of the Cox Pavilion, stared at a box score, and muttered — half to himself and half to an assistant coach standing nearby.

3-22? 0-10 from three? Heck, even the 3-6 from the free-throw line must have been disappointing.

It doesn’t get much worse than 3-22 from the field. In fact, only one NBA player shot 20 or more shots and made three or fewer of them in last regular season: Aleksej Pokusevski, the uber-raw skinny wing for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The last time a player shot 3-22 exactly was Russell Westbrook in 2012. It’s been a decade of NBA games.

I don’t mind when a player shoots open shots and misses them. But Butler, unfortunately, was forcing his looks. He was taking bad stepbacks, bad standstill threes, bad floaters, bad shots in traffic, just praying that one would fall. Frankly, I think he also compounded his errors by forcing the issue after his rough 0-6 start.

How did his coaches respond?

“I would say to him, that it’s a great teaching game. Don’t get fixated on 3-22, but instead, kind of analyze that a little bit. Okay, you missed shots, but why did you miss shots? What were the situations in which you took a bad one or took a good one?,” Jazz summer league head coach Lamar Skeeter asked. “And then analyze the 10 assists in the same way. Was it pick and roll? He should look at this game and piecemeal it a little bit.”

Butler will do that, I have no doubt. He’s driven enough. But this has to be a wakeup call.

We should note the 10 assists: Butler has consistently shown an ability to read NBA summer league defenses and make accurate passes out of it. If anything, this summer league has indicated in which direction he needs to adapt his on-court choices: to be an ace playmaker rather than to be the scorer he was in Baylor.

Frankly, I wonder if he thought this summer league would be easy for him. He’s an NBA veteran, after all, and apparently impressed Jazz front office people significantly in Jazz practices. But he’s looked a little winded at times, getting his hands on his knees after some ups and downs on the court. He’s says he’s worked out with his staff in Houston, not the Jazz’s staff in Salt Lake City, so it’s hard to know what he’s focused on.

But if he doesn’t improve significantly, then he’s full-stop not ready to play in the NBA. Indeed, he’ll find himself out of the league. Tonight’s performance was definitely evocative of another highly regarded Jazz draftee who proved to not have what it took to make a significant difference — Trey Burke.

2. Tacko Fall, making an impact

Fall really struggled in the Salt Lake City Summer League, but made a huge impact on tonight’s game. He had 12 points (on 5-10 FG), 15 rebounds, and three blocks.

He also showed improved pick-and-roll chemistry with Butler. He stopped asking for the ball on post-ups, post-ups that the Jazz aren’t ever going to deliver. He definitely fought more on the glass, which resulted in the game-winning defensive rebound.

I thought his most impressive play was this one, when he showed off perfect timing to meet Mavs’ draftee Jaden Hardy at the rim for a block:

Does Fall have a legitimate route to be a rotational NBA player still? It’s worth noting that he’s 26 years old, so there’s probably not a whole lot of improvement left. His skills of rebounding and rim protection are, frankly, diminishing somewhat in the NBA. If his motor were consistently high, I think you could argue that he could be a bit piece, a disruptive presence that could change the vibe of games, but that’s not really ever been the player he is. He floats in and out of the contests he plays in.

So, I think the answer is, unfortunately, probably not. That’s kind of the deal with summer league: just most of the players are not going to play in the NBA consistently. But if he does find success, it’ll be because he plays like he did tonight more frequently.

3. Jazz teammates, executives in the front row

I think it was notable who was watching today’s summer league: Jazz minority owner Dwyane Wade, CEO Danny Ainge, GM Justin Zanik, head coach Will Hardy, 2020 draftee Udoka Azubuike, newly acquired Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and a further assortment of front office executives were all at the game on front row, watching the proceedings.

For these players, it’s a big deal to have the whole front office and their potential coaches and teammates watching. Maybe that adds pressure to the situation, but it’s not as if NBA regular season games are less pressure-packed, with five times as many fans and all of those same people watching.

In addition, it looks like the Jazz are making progress on their coaching staff. Alex Jensen, the Jazz’s lead assistant last year, was sitting on the front row — it seems like that would be a strange place for him to be if he were parting ways with the organization. I didn’t see Irv Roland on the front row, but he was at the game, and at the team’s shootaround this morning.

Finally, we’ve seen Evan Bradds around the team at the game and at shootaround. Bradds worked with Hardy in Boston as a player development coach.

It suspect the Jazz will wait to make a final announcement on their coaching staff until they fill it out completely, which makes some sense rather than announcing coaching decisions peacemeal.

Finally, there’s been many noting that Donovan Mitchell isn’t here. Truthfully, I think that’s probably more wise than not: there’s so much focus on him and the Jazz’s situation that it would be pretty uncomfortable if he were having to answer that question every hour in person in Vegas.

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