Keyonte George has an unforgettable night in Las Vegas

In addition to electrifying the summer league crowd with 33 points and 10 assists, the Utah Jazz’s rookie guard gets an introduction to three NBA personalities, and impresses with a personal revelation.

(Eric Walden | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz rookie guard Keyonte George addresses the media after racking up 33 points and 10 assists vs. the Clippers at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas • There were a handful of “Welcome to the NBA” moments that happened to Utah Jazz rookie Keyonte George on Saturday night during summer league play at the Thomas & Mack Center:

• Rookie of the Year finalist and Team USA member Walker Kessler introduced himself mid-game.

“Yeah, that was … I told him I know who he is!” George said, laughing. “I mean, he’s my teammate.”

• After aggressively guarding a Clippers player attempting to inbound the ball, and forcing a five-second violation, the guard exulted, only to have NBA logo Jerry West — who was sitting front row right in front of him at that moment — playfully tease: “You’re a serious NBA player — stop smiling!”

“I ain’t gonna lie, I was kinda like ‘Whoa!’ for a second,” George said, recalling the moment. “… A legend like that, having that small interaction — not a lot of people can have that kind of interaction with a guy like that. Yeah, that was cool.”

• During his postgame news conference, he got interrupted by Nuggets point guard and now NBA champion Reggie Jackson, who stopped to yell at him, “That boy is nice! He’s nice! Stay confident, my brother.”

“I used to watch him, too,” George said, his eyes wide, and a grin creeping across his face. “Man …”

• And, oh yeah, he racked up 33 points and 10 assists in a 105-99 victory over the Clippers and had those still in attendance at the T&M for the final game of the evening on the edge of their seats with every heat-check shot he fired up in the waning minutes.

George did a bit of everything over the course of the evening.

He electrified the crowd in the third quarter by racing in from the left angle, soaring through the air to catch a perfectly-placed lob from Colbey Ross, and violently throwing it down. After shooting just 2 of 8 overall and 1 of 5 from deep in the first half, he corrected a slight mechanical flaw that was causing those shots to be released in a too-flat arc and thus consistently come up short, and went 10 of 16 overall (and 5 of 8 from deep) after the break. He found an effective balance between generating open looks for himself and for his teammates. And he amassed a 10-to-2 assist-to-turnover ratio for the game.

Then, when asked if he felt like he was proving his detractors wrong, he pulled out his cellphone and showed reporters his lockscreen wallpaper — a screenshot of a draft assessment that listed his weaknesses as athleticism, 3-point consistency, shot selection, and assist-to-turnover ratio.

“That’s been my screensaver throughout this whole entire process. I don’t take it as a negative thing. … Everything y’all saying, I’ve already heard it,” George said. “I wake up every morning and see that on my phone. Every time I’m going into a game or I’m going to work out, that’s my main focus.”

His teammates are loving the progress resulting from his pettiness.

“For him to come in with the confidence he has is the biggest thing. … Keyonte’s confidence is through the roof,” said Micah Potter, who racked up 18 points (many of them coming off assists from George) and nine rebounds. “And then, just the way that he picks up on things very quickly is really cool to see [from] a young guy.”

Through the Jazz’s trio of Salt Lake City Summer League games at the Delta Center, George flashed moments of advanced playmaking — something of a surprise (general manager Justin Zanik’s draft night admonition notwithstanding) given his reputation as a gunner at Baylor.

He may yet turn out to be the Jordan Clarkson facsimile many assumed (including whoever designed that aforementioned draft assessment graphic) given his collegiate shot profile and the by-now-infamous negative assist-to-turnover ratio. But for now, at least, the No. 16 overall pick appears to have some serious court vision.

After never having more than seven assists in any of his games with the Bears, he had that many in the first half alone vs. the Clippers, as he tried to counterbalance his shooting woes by leaning heavily upon his nascent point guard skills.

At halftime, however, Potter — a veritable veteran at 25 years old and in his third summer league — warned him that L.A. would be overplaying his passing coming out of the break, and encouraged him to get aggressive shooting the ball again.

“It’s more and more evident that he’s gonna be a good playmaker for us in the future,” Potter said.

George was practically beaming when his teammate’s praise was relayed to him.

“For him to say that, that just shows how much trust he has in me even as a 19-year-old,” he said. “He told me, ‘It’s time to be aggressive.’”

Even though that 19-year-old became an absolutely incendiary scorer as the game went on, the Jazz’s summer league coach, Evan Bradds, was most impressed by the progress shown in the burgeoning KG-as-PG experiment.

“Every quarter, he gets a little bit better,” Bradds said postgame. “[He’s making the] simple plays — it just seems like he sees it and makes the right play. I don’t think he’s tying to thread the needle, make the Instagram highlight pass or anything like that. He lets the game come to him, and whatever pass he needs to make, he makes it.”

Lest this all sound a bit hyperbolic, George is hardly above reproach.

Bradds said the next evolution he’d like to see from the 6-foot-4 guard is to take the physicality and motion he exhibits on defense and to translate those skills into becoming a better rebounder. George had just two boards, while the Clippers grabbed 15 offensive rebounds.

Maybe it’s time for a new lockscreen graphic?

“Everything that’s my weakness, I’m trying to get better at,” George said. “… I’ve made it to my goal, but this is only the beginning. So if I’m gonna continue to take those steps, those are the things I gotta sharpen up, and you’re gonna see me locking in.”