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The Triple Team: 3 thoughts on Jazz vs. Clippers

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LAS VEGAS — Three thoughts on the Jazz's 86-67 summer league loss to the Los Angeles Clippers from's Utah Jazz beat writer Andy Larsen.

1. Jazz guards struggle in new roles

Donovan Mitchell sat out Sunday, just to rest. In particular, it wasn't anything to do with his elbow (which is fine). Instead, just a reflection of Mitchell's dominance and the fact that he'd played four games in six days at high usage. Dante Exum also is sitting out the Las Vegas summer league.

That meant starting roles for Tyrone Wallace and Devondrick Walker. Both started the game well, but as the Clippers defense adjusted to give them more space on the perimeter, the Jazz couldn't really take advantage. Wallace finished with three points, shooting just 1-7 from the field, and added two turnovers next to his two assists.

I worry that Wallace isn't really a point guard at the NBA level, due to his questionable feel. It was interesting watching Mitchell yell words of encouragement and advice to Wallace from his seat on the bench, telling him things like to start the pick and rolls closer to the middle and how to attack the defense. It's sometimes easier to see those things from the sideline, but Wallace also needs the encouragement at times, or else the offense stalls.

The problem is that Wallace has also yet to show that he's able to hit an outside shot consistently, so you can't really play him at the shooting guard either. He's struggled with the step up from the D-League to summer league, just like Joel Bolomboy.

Nigel Williams-Goss also hasn't impressed at this level. His lack of speed is really on display here, as he can't get any separation from anyone. He went 0-3 from the field, though he did score four points from the free-throw line. I will compliment his setup ability: he was the best Jazz point guard by far today in terms of finding his teammates.

One thing you hear frequently around summer league is that "summer league is a guard's game." Without their best guards, the Jazz naturally struggled.

I suppose there is a positive way to spin this, though. it's a good sign for Exum and Mitchell that when they were playing in the first three games, they made the summer Jazz a good product.

2. Tony Bradley's good game

The Jazz lost big, but I don't think Tony Bradley was responsible. He finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, and the Jazz were only outscored by six points in the 21 minutes he was on the court.

"He's got tremendous length. He's just a lump of raw clay. He's such a young kid, so eager, and he's just going to grow every single day," Jazz summer league head coach Zach Guthrie said. "His defense was a notch better today than it was yesterday."

His offense was too. After three straight games of eight points each in the Jazz's summer league, Bradley picked up 10 Saturday and 16 Sunday. Pessimists might point out that his success also shares a relationship with the number of missed shots the Jazz have, with Bradley being primarily an offensive rebounding threat.

I'll be curious to see what a summer of offseason work does for Bradley. He isn't a very good vertical threat right now, and that really limits him with catching lob passes, being a rim protector and even some rebounding situations. He's so young, born in 1998, that there's a real chance to make an impact on Bradley's athleticism at P3.

3. Las Vegas summer league fun

I wrote about the atmosphere at the Utah Jazz Summer League, one that's primarily driven by the fans. It's great!

The Las Vegas summer league is on a different level. It's like the NBA's annual convention, where everyone in the entire league from players, executives, owners, scouts, agents and staff comes down all at once to UNLV and the Thomas and Mack Center. But they sell tickets too. On Saturday, the league sold out for the first time, selling 17,500 tickets to fans. That's also an attendance record for summer league.

That results in some cool things, like these fans who got their jerseys signed by a sunglasses-wearing Rudy Gobert after he walked in the game.

> For the fans... [\#ThisIsWhyWePlay]( > > 😎 [@rudygobert27]( []( > > — NBA (@NBA) [July 10, 2017](

For media, it can be revealing as well. I was just walking from my summer league seat when my path crossed James Harden and Chris Paul, hanging out together after Paul's trade to Houston. Their friendship isn't just for show. I also had the opportunity to sit next to Larry Brown and Memphis head coach David Fizdale for a game, and listening to their analysis of how both teams were playing was legitimately insightful.

Anyway, summer league is a great time for basketball nerds. Check it out, if you ever get the chance.

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