The Triple Team: Three Thoughts on the Jazz’s Open Summer League Practice
EnergySolutions Arena during tonight’s open summer league practice. Fans filled the lower bowl; the Jazz were forced to open the upper bowl to make room for the fans. (Photo courtesy @utahjazz)
1. Wow, Jazz fans are incredible.
Hours before the event began, people began lining up outside the doors of EnergySolutions Arena en masse for the Jazz’s open summer league practice. As the doors opened at 6 PM, 1 hour before the scrimmage, the line lasted around the block 1 to see the new Jazz’s summer league roster.
The beginning of the line, stretching around the block more than an hour before the Jazz’s open summer league practice.
Quin Snyder got a loud ovation as he entered the court for the first time, but nothing exceeded the reaction to Dante Exum’s first appearance, a standing ovation that warmly welcomed the new draftee onto the team.
By the time the scrimmage actually began, fans were beginning to head to the upper bowl, with the lower bowl essentially full. All in all, approximately 10,000 fans attended the scrimmage, and absolutely insane turnout for what is, again, just a practice for a summer league roster. People are excited about the new era.
2. Quin Snyder loves to talk Xs and Os.
One of the highlights of the event was Quin Snyder essentially narrating the practice. Before the scrimmage, he explained what was to follow in specialist’s terms, after somewhat deriding emcee Craig Bolerjack’s request to appeal to the common denominator. At each new practice drill, he explained to the audience what they were seeing and what to look for, whether it be a 5-0 offensive set run-through, or a “game day” shooting drill. Then, after each quarter, he explained what he had seen thus far, his highlights and lowlights explained in terms of his overall goals.
Afterwards, he expounded on his narration, saying “It’s interesting to me what a knowledgeable fanbase we have. People here, they know basketball.” The Jazz’s previous coaches never felt comfortable discussing Xs and Os with the media or fans. Specific questions about the team’s system were either derided 2 or bypassed.
Quin, on the other hand, seems to love talking about Xs and Os. He explains them to a crowd of nearly 10,000 without being asked to. He gives expansive answers while talking to the media. He’s written incredibly detailed manifestos on the pick and roll. It’s a welcome change and, honestly, should improve the level of insight we’re able to share with you at Salt City Hoops.
3. The actual scrimmage revealed a few things as well.
The scrimmage itself, consisting of three 8-minute quarters(?) with a running clock, was informative too. Here are a few first impressions:
- Pace was clearly an emphasis: after every miss, both teams sought to push the tempo and get in advantageous situations in the open court. Usually, this consisted of the ballhandler getting a screen at the top of the arc, then attacking with 3 shooters behind the arc providing spacing and being ready to take the three point jump shot. Playing in flow (i.e., without a set play) after missed shots was clearly a change from last season. Trey Burke agreed, saying that the biggest change in Snyder’s system was “freedom”.
- Dante Exum looked somewhat nervous and eager to impress. “I was expecting everyone to kind of look at me, not clap for me… It took me a little bit to settle down and start playing my game.” He made the biggest impression on the defensive end, playing solid on-the-ball perimeter defense and using his length to great effect. While he occasionally got lost in help defense, and looked out-of-sorts offensively, Snyder congratulated his performance. He’s still just 18 years old, and looked like it at times during this showing.
- Rodney Hood looked like the best player on the floor, hitting shots from outside and showing a impressive driving game. He led a White team comeback to give his side the lead after 2 quarters.
- Snyder chose to put all of the players with an NBA contract for next season on the White team (which won the scrimmage 37-33), with the exception of Ian Clark. Clark played most of his minutes at the point guard position, so had a lot of the ball. He didn’t look out of place, but probably tried to show a little bit too much on the ball.
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