Prospect Watch: Bolomboy Dominates in Stars’ Blowout Win

December 17th, 2016 | by Spencer Wixom

The SLC Stars are the D-League affiliate of the Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz’s Joel Bolomboy once again finds himself on a developmental stint with the SLC Stars, hoping to establish some confidence and assert his NBA talent. On Saturday night, he did that in a big way.”

After logging 90 seconds with the parent club on Wednesday night, Bolomboy powered the Stars to their third win of the season, a 103-95 blowout of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Bolomboy headlines tonight’s prospect watch after the Stars split their back-to-back with the Vipers.

While this game did not feature any prospects in the NBA D-League Prospect Watch: Top 25 Rankings, Bolomboy was one of several players with NBA talent that set foot on the court.

Joel Bolomboy, F, SLCS

28 Points, 19 Rebound, 2 Assists,  2 Steals, 6 Blocks, 10-15 FG, 1-1 3p, 3 +/-

Tonight was exactly what the Jazz needed to see out of Bolomboy, as he was the best player on the court.  The Jazz know Bolomboy is athletic, and on Saturday night he wasn’t solely relying on that to succeed. He began to show an improved knowledge of the defensive system, showed an increased shooting range, and a decisiveness with the ball in his hands.  When you add those elements to his already high motor and athleticism, this kid looks really good.

Coach Dean Cooper said that Bolomboy’s defense and energy were difference makers tonight.  “Right there when we were getting to the point where we could put the game away he made a big offensive rebound [and] putback.  Defensively around the rim, he and DeShonte [Riley, Stars center], the two of them are a handful to try and score on.”

Tyrone Wallace, G, SLCS

4 Points, 4 Rebound, 4 Assists,  1 Steals, 1 Blocks, 2-8 FG, 0-3 3p, -2 +/-

This was my first time seeing Wallace live due to his injuries and while this was his worst game as a Star so far, there were still moments where you could see NBA potential.  Wallace has a huge 6’6″ frame for a point guard and is speedy quick.  His handles are beautiful as he is almost ambidextrous with the ball.

Shooting from the three point line has always been an issue for Wallace, and likely always will be.  With his speed, handle, and athleticism I don’t think he needs to be a lights out shooter to make it in the NBA.  However, he does need to improve his decision making if he wants to take that step.  He turned the ball over six times last game and made some questionable plays in this game.

Coach Cooper thinks that this will come with time, as he is still learning the offense.  “Ty does some good things, but he just has to get comfortable in the pick-and-roll and recognize the coverages… It’s just going to take some time.”


Marcus Paige, G, SLCS

12 Points, 3 Rebound, 0 Assists,  0 Steals, 0 Blocks, 5-14 FG, 2-8 3p, -2 +/-

Paige is the prospect that Jazz fans ask about most other than Bolomboy, but I’m beginning to think Wallace has a better chance to make it to the NBA.  Paige plays off the ball as a shooting guard the majority of the time, something he also did in college.  The reasoning behind this is that Paige is a decent spot up shooter and can be turnover prone when defenders get into him.

My concern with this is that if Paige is going to make it in the NBA at 6’0″ 164 lbs., it has to be as a point guard, not a shooting guard.  Paige is arguably the smartest player on the team though so he knows what he needs to work on.  I think he will make a lot of money in the NBA, but it will be on a coaching or scouting staff.

Gary Payton II, G, RGVV

17 Points, 9 Rebound, 0 Assists,  3 Steals, 2 Blocks, 6-12 FG, 2-7 3p, 0 +/-

Payton is one of the best defenders at the point guard position in the D-League.  He is incredibly active, which is shown by his 6.9 rebounds per game, a high number for a 6’3″ guard.  Payton does just about everything well, except distributing the ball.  He ended up with no assists and actually played off the ball a decent amount.  Payton has a role in the NBA but it has to be with a team that has a distributor at another position.  I think he could thrive in the Patrick Beverly role in Houston if anything were to happen to Beverly this season.

Chris Johnson, F, RGVV

10 Points, 5 Rebound, 3 Assists,  0 Steals, 0 Blocks, 3-7 FG, 0-2 3p, -12 +/-

Jazz fans are very familiar with Johnson, who played in 82 games with the Jazz over two seasons but was cut just before the 2016-17 season began.  While he didn’t have a great game, I think he will get a call-up this year.  He is a very good system player that you can ask to fit a role, which is what many teams want from a D-League call-up.  Johnson showed with the Jazz that he is a terrific defender with a high running motor.  He wont ever be a great shooter, but he could fill a deep bench role.


Spencer Wixom

Spencer Wixom

Spencer graduated from the University of Utah and works in commercial real estate. Since the first time he saw Stockton dish to Malone, Spencer has had a passion for the Utah Jazz and the NBA. When he isn’t writing about the Jazz, Spencer spends time with his wife and daughter and cheers for the Seattle Seahawks.
Spencer Wixom
Spencer Wixom


  1. Paul Johnson says:

    Who do you think has better potential in the NBA having watched them go up against each other in this game–Tyrone Wallace or Gary Payton II?

    I was surprised that no one selected Gary Payton II in the 2016 NBA draft–he seems to have a great motor and very good defensive potential, and does a lot of things to help a team win, but needs work on his offensive skills, much like Rondae Hollis-Jefferson of the Brooklyn Nets (only at the PG position, rather than at the SF position).

    I know the Jazz had way too many point guards on the roster this off-season, but I was rather disappointed that the Jazz selected two point guards in the second round of the 2016 draft, neither of which was Gary Payton II.

    Also, do you know if the Houston Rockets retained the rights to Gary Payton II after signing him to a training camp contract. I thought I saw that they actually cut him, and then assigned him to their D-League team, much like the Jazz did with Marcus Paige. That would mean that any NBA team could sign him.

    I was hoping the Jazz would draft Bolomboy in the second round of the 2016 draft, which they ultimately did. I was surprised he was still available at the #52 pick after the Jazz passed over him with their #42 pick. I was also hoping that the Jazz might be able to trade back into the late first round of the draft to pick up Skal Labissiere, but perhaps Bolomboy may turn out to be a better NBA player than Labissiere in the long run. It is looking more and more like the Jazz hit a home run with the Bolomboy pick.

    With provisions in the new CBA that allow teams to hang onto 2 players in the D-League (bringing the number of players allowed on a team to 17), I think second round picks are going to become a lot more valuable than they have been in the past. Too bad the Jazz just squandered 3-4 of all those second round picks they have had the past few years (rather than “pushing them forward” by trading them for future 2nd round picks).

    • Spencer Wixom says:

      Payton is a free agent as far as the NBA is concerned. I think I like Wallace more because of his upside. Payton is the better player right now, though. Yes, I agree 2nd’s will become more valuable because you can actually use them to develop players if you are a team like Cleveland.

      As far as Bolomboy goes, the Jazz really like him because he has all the traits of a NBA player, he just needs to work on his BBall IQ. He’s increasing his knowledge of the game, and if he continues to do that he has a role in the league.

  2. Paul Johnson says:

    The other thing I have noticed about Bolomboy when I have seen him play is that he looks like he could really run the floor–much like Karl Malone. Just the way he carries himself, he looks like a track star just waiting for the chance to break out into a sprint to the other end of the floor to outrun everyone.

    • Spencer Wixom says:

      I’m hesitant to compare anyone to Malone.. I’ve often compared him to Kenneth Faried though.

      • Paul Johnson says:

        I’m also hesitant to compare anyone to Karl Malone. I’m only saying that it appears Bolomboy may have the rare, raw athletic ability and speed to be able to run the floor similar to how Karl was able to run the floor–whether he will ever learn how to use that athletic ability to do so (acquire the basketball IQ necessary to do so) or whether he’ll have the will/determination to do so is another issue.

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