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After being thrown into NBA action last season, Trent Forrest makes it look easy in Summer League

Utah Jazz center Udoka Azubuike sets a pick so guard Trent Forrest can get past San Antonio Spurs guard Justin Turner during an NBA Summer League game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021.

Utah Jazz center Udoka Azubuike sets a pick so guard Trent Forrest can get past San Antonio Spurs guard Justin Turner during an NBA Summer League game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)



SALT LAKE CITY — A smile appeared on Trent Forrest's face as the question began.

"It seemed easy for you," a reporter said, before continuing.

Forrest didn't outright say the observation was correct, but he also doesn't have a very good poker face. And, well, anyone who paid even slight attention to Forrest's Summer League debut on Tuesday could see he was far and away the best player on the court.

He had 19 points and seven assists while shooting 8 of 11 from the field and 2 of 3 from behind the 3-point line to lead Utah's White team over a short-handed San Antonio team 87-58.

Forrest was in such control that if the second-year guard was a former lottery pick, it wouldn't really be a surprise to see the Jazz shut him down after a couple games. While everyone around him seemed to be sped up, Forrest was in cruise control, orchestrating pick-and-rolls to perfection and getting into the lane at will.

He navigated around defenders to slip into the paint in order to set up teammates and got open looks for himself near the rim. He found Udoka Azubuike for alley-oops and kicked it out to shooters for open 3s. He was one step ahead of everyone at all times.

After being thrown into the rotation late last season, Summer League was a breeze.

"I try to play with a certain pace to my game so it definitely felt a little slower than what I was used to," Forrest said. "I mean, when we play with the main team, the pace is a little faster, so it definitely felt like it kind of slowed down a little bit for me."

True NBA talent is supposed to dominate these summer showcases. It's supposed to be, for a lack of a better word, easy for them. So while it's only one performance, it could be a good indicator that Forrest might have what it takes to stick around in the league.

Late last season, Donovan Mitchell said the Jazz "had found something" when talking about Forrest. The young guard helped validate that remark Tuesday night.

"He kind of controlled the game," Jazz White Summer League coach Bryan Bailey said. "Anytime he was in a pick-and-roll, he wasn't sped up, real patient and know what he wanted to find. … He kind of just ran the show for us, and that's what we wanted."

He has a natural rhythm when he has the ball in his hands running a pick-and-roll. Now, he's trying to get something else to feel just as natural: his shot.

Forrest, while playing admirably in spot minutes last season, shot just 5 of 26 from deep as a rookie. In today's NBA, that's just not good enough to stay on the court. So after taking a couple weeks off after the season, he was back in the gym and working with coaches to solve those shooting woes.

"I feel like he's gotten a lot better from the season to now," Forrest said.

How has it gotten better?

"I'm just basically being ready before the catch has been a big thing for me," he said. "Just being in rhythm. Just like how to play with the rhythm in pick-and-roll, having a rhythm to your jump shot."

He doesn't think it was an accident that he was 2 of 3 from deep on Tuesday. And if it's not a blip, the Jazz may already have a solid backup point guard already on their roster.

Especially if the rest of Summer League is as easy for him.

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