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What we didn’t learn from summer league

In the Jazz’s case, what we didn’t learn from the Las Vegas Summer League could end up being just as important

Utah Jazz White team forward Jarrell Brantley (5) dives for the ball in between Utah Jazz Blue guard Kyle Fogg (50) and Utah Jazz Blue team guard Isaiah Wright (46) at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021.
Utah Jazz White team forward Jarrell Brantley (5) dives for the ball as Utah Jazz Blue guard Kyle Fogg (50) and Utah Jazz Blue team guard Isaiah Wright (46) defend as the Utah Jazz Blue and White teams play in summer league action at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
This article was first published as the Jazz Insiders newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox each Thursday.

The obvious way to evaluate things once summer league has wrapped up is to ask, what has been learned from the developing players who could have roster spots in the upcoming season? But in the Utah Jazz’s case, what we didn’t learn could end up being just as important.

The Jazz’s 2021 draft pick, Baylor guard Jared Butler, did not take part in any summer action. That means that training camp and preseason are going to be even more important for the rookie and that all eyes will be zeroed in on him through the early part of the 2021-22 season.

While Butler was great at Baylor, winning an NCAA title with the Bears, whether his skills will translate quickly to the NBA is an unanswered question and it’s not the only one.

Will Butler be good enough out of the gate to earn regular minutes? Are there things in his game that will need significant improvement? Once he’s playing against NBA talent, what will his greatest strengths be?

Butler was with the Jazz in Las Vegas over the last week, cheering on his teammates, but we didn’t get to see him in action, so answering those questions will have to wait.

It’s hard to imagine Quin Snyder opening up the roster more than he has in any of his years as head coach of the Jazz, but if there are promising players who can step in when regular rotation players are injured or resting, it would be nice to know who those players are going to be.

It seems like there’s likely to be a little bit of competition between Miye Oni, Jared Butler and Elijah Hughes for some of those spot minutes when the opportunity presents itself, and what happens during training camp and the preseason might make all the difference.

Training camp begins Sept. 28 and the Jazz will play four preseason games beginning on Oct. 4. What we didn’t learn during summer league could be revealed through that stretch.

New with the Jazz

Stat of the week

Jarell Martin scored 23 points in the Jazz’s final summer league game, the highest point total for a Jazz player in Las Vegas this year. He added 12 rebounds, four assists and four steals in the 103-98 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

This week on ‘Unsalvageable’

Check out “Unsalvageable: A Utah Jazz Podcast,” hosted by Deseret News Utah Jazz beat reporter Sarah Todd and lifelong Jazz fan Greg Foster (no, not that Greg Foster). This week, they break down the Jazz’s draft pick (Jared Butler) and the moves made ahead of free agency.

New episodes come out every Wednesday. You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast and anywhere else you stream podcasts.

From the archives

This week in Jazz history

On Aug. 23, 2020, Donovan Mitchell scored 51 points in a Game 4 win over the Denver Nuggets in the NBA’s Orlando bubble. It was his second 50-plus scoring game during that first-round playoff series against the Nuggets.

Extra points

  • Five thoughts on the Utah Jazz after Summer League (The Athletic)
  • Eric Paschall excited to show Utah Jazz he can be a contributor (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • The Utah Jazz will play on Christmas Day (Deseret News)
  • Jazz banking on Trent Forrest’s continued growth (Deseret News)

Around the league

The Charlotte Hornets and Terry Rozier have agreed to a four-year $97 million extension.

Former NBA guard Jason Terry to become head coach of G League’s Grand Rapids Gold.

Dallas Mavericks hire WNBA’s Kristi Toliver as assistant coach.

Up next: NBA preseason

Oct. 4 | 6:30 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ San Antonio Spurs | TBD

Oct. 6 | 6 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ Dallas Mavericks | TBD

Oct. 11 | 7 p.m. | Utah Jazz vs. New Orleans Pelicans | TBD

Oct. 13 | 7 p.m. | Utah Jazz vs. Milwaukee Bucks | TBD

*Broadcast information for preseason games to be announced at a later date.