Utah Jazz’s summer league season ends, as team sits best players

By the time the week was over, it was clear: Jazz management largely had gotten what it wanted to out of summer league.

Most of the players who the franchise were really interested in had largely shown off their skills. And most importantly: Everyone was pretty tired of hanging out in the Las Vegas heat.

So despite a 4-0 record in the NBA’s Summer League in Vegas, one that qualified them for the league’s semifinals, the Jazz decided Sunday morning to sit their best players in lieu of really trying for the title. Rookie Keyonte George, of course, was actually injured. He visibly and harshly sprained his ankle earlier in the week. But Luka Samanic and Ochai Agbaji were sat with “upper back tightness” and “low back tightness,” respectively. Two-way player Johnny Juzang had a new left quad contusion.

So on Sunday afternoon, the short-handed Jazz fell 115-101 to the Houston Rockets, ending their summer league campaign.

It was a largely successful one. George had been perhaps the best player in all of summer league before his ankle sprain, scoring 18.7 points per game in 26 minutes. He impressed with his ability to score from all three levels, including shooting 38.6% from deep. Samanic, a player who the Jazz took a flyer on at the end of last season, made his case to stay on the team, putting up 15 points and adding seven rebounds per game in the contests he played in.

Juzang also impressed, showing the same scoring skill he had at UCLA in his second summer league performance. While he struggled in the Jazz’s first game, he bounced back with a much better Vegas performance, including 18 points per game of his own. He’s technically a free agent at the moment, but it’s expected the Jazz bring him back on another two-way contract next season.

On Sunday, Micah Potter was the only player who played for the Jazz last season on the court; he scored 20 points on 8-22 shooting while adding 12 rebounds. Jazz summer league tryout players Colbey Ross and Keshawn Justice also had 20 points in the mostly wire-to-wire Rockets victory. Meanwhile, Rockets draft pick Cam Whitmore, who fell in June’s NBA draft’s first round, scored 25 points on the Jazz.

In the end, the Jazz put together a 1-2 record in Salt Lake City, and a 4-1 record in Las Vegas. Now, the team will begin offseason rest and workouts, before training camp begins in October.