clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

What we learned from the Utah Jazz in first preseason win against Australia’s Perth Wildcats

SALT LAKE CITY — Preseason games are tough to analyze.

On one hand, players are back on the court after a lengthy offseason against professional competition, but then again it’s just the preseason.

In the case of the Utah Jazz, Saturday marked the preseason opener against the Perth Wildcats of Australia.

Jazz sharpshooter Joe Ingles (lower leg soreness), backup guard Raul Neto (right hamstring) and rookie guard Trey Lewis (left ankle) were all sidelined in Utah’s lopsided 130-72 win at Vivint Arena.

But the Wildcats were also missing Damian Martin (calf strain), their team captain who was named NBL Best Defensive Player for a record six times. The Utah game marked Perth’s first contest against an NBA team since 1995.

That said, these are a few takeaways from the Jazz’s preseason opening victory:

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS: The Jazz didn’t waste any time to gain a big lead on the Wildcats. Utah jumped to a 15-0 edge with reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert ruling the paint with six points and six boards in the first four minutes. Gobert was active around the rim, but in all fairness was being guarded by much smaller players on the Australian roster. By halftime, the game was well out of reach as Utah went up 75-34. Gobert would end with 14 points, nine rebounds and three fouls in 15 minutes. Donovan Mitchell would suit up for 21 minutes, logging nine points with four assists and four rebounds.

Utah Jazz guard Grayson Allen (24) puts ups a three point shot as the Utah Jazz and the Perth Wildcats play in an exhibition basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. Jazz won 130-72.
Utah Jazz guard Grayson Allen (24) puts ups a three-point shot as the Utah Jazz and the Perth Wildcats play in an exhibition basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. Jazz won 130-72.
Scott G Winterton

NEW KID ON THE BLOCK: In his first half of NBA basketball, Jazz rookie Grayson Allen didn’t miss a shot. The former Duke star went 5-for-5, with four triples, to open the game. From early evaluation, his jumper definitely needed work as he shot just 21 percent during the Utah Jazz Summer League then 38 percent in the Las Vegas Summer League, but that wasn’t the case in his first taste of preseason action where he ended with a game-high 19 points. Mitchell raved about Allen’s progress during OTAs and training camp, and so far he’s right.

“He has that poise. I was really, really impressed just by watching,” Mitchell said during Media Day. “He just has that way where he’s not fazed by a lot, and I think that’s going to pay dividends down the line when we get to the playoffs. When you draft somebody, you want someone who when the lights come on, they’re ready for it, and I think he’s probably one of the best prepared college basketball players for that and you can see that for sure.”

Utah Jazz guard Alec Burks (10) drives to the basket with Perth Wildcats guards Terrico White (23) and Bryce Cotton (11) hounding him as the Utah Jazz and the Perth Wildcats play in an exhibition basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake Cit
Utah Jazz guard Alec Burks (10) drives to the basket with Perth Wildcats guards Terrico White (23) and Bryce Cotton (11) hounding him as the Utah Jazz and the Perth Wildcats play in an exhibition basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

BENCH MOB: Utah’s bench posted 41 of the 75 first-half points and would ultimately outscore Perth, 91-29. Alec Burks led the charge by going off in the first quarter with 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting in seven minutes. Burks played aggressively in his 22 minutes, posting 18 points, five rebounds and four assists in the contest as he faces a contract year.

“I don’t believe in pressure,” Burks said.

Perth Wildcats Eric Stuteville and Terrico White (23) squeeze out Utah Jazz guard Grayson Allen (24) as the Utah Jazz and the Perth Wildcats play in an exhibition basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. Ja
Perth Wildcats Eric Stuteville and Terrico White (23) squeeze out Utah Jazz guard Grayson Allen (24) as the Utah Jazz and the Perth Wildcats play in an exhibition basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. Jazz won 130-72.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

FAMILIAR FACE: Former Jazz guard Bryce Cotton may be the reigning MVP of the National Basketball League, but that same success didn’t translate against NBA competition. Cotton ended with 14 points and five rebounds with three turnovers on 4-for-16 shooting. He played 15 games for the Jazz during Coach Quin Snyder’s first season in 2014-15. Former Detroit Pistons draftee Terrico White also suited up for the Wildcats, posting eight points on 3-for-16 shooting but the Wildcats were clearly outmatched from a talent standpoint despite reaching the NBL playoffs for 32 consecutive seasons.