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LAS VEGAS — Three thoughts on the Utah Jazz's 97-76 summer league win over the Milwaukee Bucks from KSL.com's Utah Jazz beat writer, Andy Larsen.
1. Tony Bradley's best game
Tony Bradley has his best summer league game of the eight he's played, scoring 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting.
Again, the bedrock of Bradley's performance was the offensive rebounds and putbacks afterward. Bradley had five offensive rebounds and, again, just did the right things to get them: putting his body in likely weakside positions, keeping his hands high and finishing simply.
But Bradley had the jumper going efficiently for the first time in summer league. He quickly and easily took the flashing mid-range jumpers in the first half. The most impressive one was on a play where he caught the ball early in the shot clock and just launched from 21 feet.
Tony's going to work. He's got 19 points.#VegasJazzpic.twitter.com/JATLvFmrpa — Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) July 14, 2017
In the regular season, you probably want to push for a better look there, but that he took it and made it is promising for where Bradley's jump shot stands.
He also had two blocks, just through solid defending and staying in front of guys who tried ill-advised shots around the rim.
Jazz summer league head coach Zach Guthrie has commented over and over again about how Bradley has improved every day since the Jazz got their hands on him, and that his last game was his best showed that Guthrie was lying. Let's be honest: it also helped that the Bucks' summer league big men are awful.
2. Role players contribute
The Jazz's shooting percentages have been horrendous during the Jazz's time in Las Vegas. Or at least, that was the case until Friday, when they started getting and making more outside looks.
That started with Spencer Butterfield and James Southerland, who both found themselves in the starting lineup as the Jazz changed things up again. They both went 3-6 from beyond the 3-point line.
Butterfield, especially, is a nice player. He's too small and not quick enough to compete in the NBA, but he's a good shooter and smart enough defensively that he does well unless the athletes are too far above his physical grade. He's a great contributor in Europe.
Eric Griffin and Mitch Creek also played well, scoring 11 and 10 points respectively on 13 combined shots. We've noted Griffin's good play before, but this was Creek's best game by far. He, too, dominated Milwaukee's bigs by getting four offensive rebounds of his own in 16 minutes on the court.
Again, that had a lot to do with the terrible Bucks defense, who weren't that good anyway and essentially had turned off in the consolation bracket competition. Like, look at this play: weak screen trap, then a very late gamble for a steal, then a 3-on-2 where both defenders leave their men to stop the ballhandler. It was just too easy.
James Southerland again with the throwdown just before half #VegasJazzpic.twitter.com/JP3uePKlPb — Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) July 14, 2017
3\. Jalen Moore's contributions ==============================
Jalen Moore signed a two-way contract with the Milwaukee Bucks after a four-year career at Utah State. Moore got nearly no buzz on draft night, but since he was willing to sign a two-way deal, he has a straightforward path towards an NBA roster spot: impress Bucks executives so that they want to call him up to the NBA roster for more than 45 days.
Moore has potential as a 3-and-D small forward, and understandably so: his shooting is legitimately good. He shot 42 percent from downtown during his senior year with the Aggies and went 3-4 in Friday's action against the Jazz. That being said, he shoots it very infrequently: he's only using 9 percent of Milwaukee's possessions in summer league so far.
The defense is okay if he's going to transition to the NBA: he's been good, I suppose, against summer league competition, but never seems to really lock down his opponent. He's solid, but not spectacular, and you'd like to see him impact the play more against worse competition.
The other thing I'd like to see is any sort of secondary skills. Moore played 84 minutes in summer league and picked up 10 rebounds and only three assists. Given his height and the number of rebounds available in summer league play, you'd like to see him contribute more there, but Moore wasn't really an impact rebounder in Logan, either.
So that's the thing: Moore could be a good shooter and a decent enough defender at the NBA level. But because he does float around without making a huge impact, there's not really a great comp for small forwards that stick with that statistical profile. Moore will have to figure out how to assert himself more frequently if he wants to make it to the NBA.