The open scrimmage wrapped up today with an estimated 7,200 fans coming out to see what the new Utah Jazz team was going to look like. Before I get into my thoughts on the players, I have to mention one thing that really had me impressed.
The new video screens that are up in the center of the arena are very, very cool. I have to applaud Jazz management here, for digging into the pocket books, and putting up something like that. These new screens will enhance the overall fan experience tremendously. Everyone who was at the scrimmage could see how big a difference it was. If you didn’t get a chance to go, make sure you try and make it to at a game this season. You won’t be disappointed.
Aside from the screen, the Jazz did play a quick scrimmage game. My first thoughts are focused on Trey Burke, because that is the main guy we want to know a lot about. Trey didn’t play terrible, but he was not spectacular. He hit a couple nice open jumpers, but on shots behind the arc, he came up short every time. He is having to learn to move back from the college 3, which will take some getting used to, but with 2-a-days all week, he could’ve had very tired legs and couldn’t get enough on his shot. He also struggled finishing at the rim. He made it look easy finding his way to the rim, but once he found his way inside, the result was either a forced shot or a turnover. No need to fret Jazz fans. Trey is not the biggest or most athletic guard, but he is very smart and learns from his mistakes. He will correct these issues and will be fine.
Alec Burks played a decent game. The first half, Alec wasn’t seen much, other than a few turnovers. The second half was much better for Alec, as he started being a little more aggressive trying to get to the rim. He was able to finish a couple nice takes to the basket and drew contact on a couple plays also and got to the free throw line. The Alec Burks that played in the second half is the Alec Burks that I hope we see more of. He really helps this team when he is aggressive and when he is not, we get the result like we got in the first half.
The talk of Gordon Hayward going into the scrimmage, was how aggressive he has been playing. Coach Corbin has said that they will play through him more this season. Today, we didn’t really see much of that. Mostly because he didn’t play a huge chunk of minutes. Gordon picked up a couple quick fouls at the beginning and never really got much of a rhythm. If that happens during the regular season, it could really hurt this team. Gordon needs to be on the floor as much as possible.
Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter should be beasts this season! Kanter, to me, was easily the best player on the court today. Favors was not far behind. Both players were able to get to the rim and finish. Also, both players were sent to the foul line frequently because they were basically unstoppable. I expect big things out of both of these young guys this season. You should too!
Out of all the rest, Richard Jefferson was very impressive. Very active on defense and, offensively, played very well. Richard hit elbow jumpshots, made his way into the lane and dished the ball down low to open guys for easy buckets, and spot up in the corner and hit a contested 3 point jumpshot. Another thing that I liked, was the fact that he also was able to bring the ball up the court and help play as a point guard. If Richard is in the game with Trey, it will help Trey tremendously to have him there to help with bringing the ball up.
The “big guys” trying to make the roster didn’t overly impress me. Brian Cook hit a couple nice shots, but none of the guys played well enough to prove they needed to be on this team.
Scott Machado and Justin Holliday both looked like they could make a run at making the roster. The Jazz typically carry 3 point guards, and Machado played really well today. When the “white” squad was down, by what seemed like 20, Machado was on the floor and orchestrated the comeback. Holliday has a very nice outside jump shot. Defenders drifted away from him and when he got an open shot, he took it, and he didn’t miss very often. It’ll be hard for both these guys to make the team, but I think they have a good shot at that.
Overall, the scrimmage was very good to watch. It got me and all Jazz fans excited to see what the future holds. Like Randy Rigby said at the beginning of the scrimmage, let’s really get behind these guys and give them our full support. Jazz fans should know, we have something really special being built here, and I for one, am extremely excited.