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The Triple Team: Talented Suns squad dismantles shorthanded Jazz



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LAS VEGAS — Three thoughts on the Utah Jazz's 97-81 summer league loss to the Phoenix Suns from KSL.com's Jazz beat writer, Andy Larsen.

1. Jazz guards again not up to snuff

Donovan Mitchell sat out on the day after his 37-point, 8-steal performance Tuesday, once again putting the Jazz's backcourt in the hands of Nigel Williams-Goss and Tyrone Wallace.

And once again, both struggled. All game, the Phoenix Suns put ball pressure on Williams-Goss and Wallace, and the two struggled to get the ball up the floor and initiate the offense. It's not that they repeatedly turned the ball over, but both just didn't begin possessions by being able to create any sort of advantage for their teammates, which didn't lead to easy shots.

"It's a learning experience. As a point guard in this league, you have to be able to handle ball pressure. You have to break it by them, bounce it back, and initiate the offense," Jazz summer league head coach Zach Guthrie said. "That's job No. 1 for a point guard. You've just got to work at it. How many times has Nigel had someone hounding him for 40 minutes? They did that, and we weren't able to handle it."

It'd be more promising for both if their shots were working, but neither has been able to find success on the summer league court. On Wednesday, Williams-Goss finished 3-10 from the field and Wallace finished 1-7 from the field. Williams-Goss is now shooting 26 percent from the field during summer league overall, while Wallace is at 24 percent. Yikes.

Again, with the guards not doing enough, the Jazz are just going to struggle to win these games, and it's no coincidence that the Jazz have gone 0-4 in Las Vegas play.

2. Eric Griffin impresses in Jazz summer league

There's a good sign among the Jazz's 0-4 performance so far: that of Eric Griffin, who's continued to stand out through both the Jazz's summer leagues in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.

Wednesday, Griffin led the Jazz with 18 points and 10 rebounds and was the only consistent Jazz offensive threat all night.

He did it with impressive energy. It's actually a good example of how you can get on the stat sheet simply through making the right kind of cuts and hustling on the boards. Griffin has a very good cutting and moving game, and then attacks with ferocity any kind of loose ball. Add in some pretty good finishing ability at the rim and you have a quality player.

No Quit#VegasJazzpic.twitter.com/01oKFhmHaI — Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) July 13, 2017

And Griffin only ended up with one foul, a big improvement over the eight fouls he has picked up in two summer league games so far. I asked Griffin what he needs to do about that, and he put it very simply, "Stop with the cheap fouls. I get a lot of really cheap fouls."

Back in the 2014-15 season, he played for the Texas Legends in the D-League and shot 37 percent from three on over four attempts per game. But Griffin has been less willing to shoot it during summer league play this year, shooting only 10 in six games, making only two.

Finding his rhythm#VegasJazzpic.twitter.com/Nuk5GziSJR — Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) July 13, 2017

If Griffin can manage to bring his interior game and still hit the open shot when his point guards kick it to him in the pick and roll, I think he can be an NBA rotation player. Even without it, he's got a case to make it in the league.

3. Tony Bradley's offensive rebounding

Tony Bradley is quietly winning fans in the Jazz organization for his fundamental play during this summer league, which has improved daily according to his coaches.

"He's been great. Just to watch his progress day by day. He keeps getting better and keeps learning new things," Guthrie said. "And he's talking about different things and then doing them. He did a great job about getting out quick on his rolls, then he's sealing. He got a pass, and then he scored. That's great stuff."

The most obvious way Bradley is contributing on the scoresheet is through offensive rebounding, where he contributed five on Wednesday. He keeps his hands and arms high and pushes the man who is trying to box him out under the rim, leading to easy second chances.

Okay, sometimes they're not easy, like this one:

HUSTLE #VegasJazzpic.twitter.com/YjE4OCEc5h — Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) July 13, 2017

While I'm sure Jazz management would prefer he save the dangerous plays for after summer league, Bradley's effort here gets the Jazz a basket and wins the appreciation of his teammates. I'm curious to see how much he improves with two months of offseason work. ![](https://beacon.deseretconnect.com/beacon.gif?cid=528627&pid=4)

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