Jazz Summer League: Utah drops another game and Holmgren shines again for OKC
Brazilian Bruno Caboclo arrived in town Tuesday but suited up for Utah’s Summer League entrant Wednesday and had a strong game
A good crowd, by Salt Lake City Summer League standards, nearly filled the lower bowl at Vivint Arena Wednesday night, but they weren’t treated to a win by the Utah Jazz’s entrant.
And they didn’t get to see the two guys on the roster with the most playing time for the actual Jazz. Summer League coach Bryan Bailey held out Jared Butler and Xavier Sneed, saying he wanted to rest them after the Jazz had also played Tuesday night.
For the record, Utah fell 98-77 to Oklahoma City and No. 2 pick Chet Holmgren on Tuesday, then played better but still lost on Wednesday, dropping an 86-82 decision to Philadelphia.
Bailey seemed to indicate that Butler and Sneed will play Thursday night when the Jazz host the Memphis Grizzlies at 6 p.m. MT in the final game of the three-game set.
As for the young players from Minnesota who were part of the Rudy Gobert trade, Bailey said he doesn’t know yet whether they will join the team. He said they might play in Las Vegas when that Summer League begins Friday.
Former Detroit Piston Justin Robinson led the Jazz Wednesday with 17 points but missed a potential game-knotting 3-pointer in the final seconds.
“I felt like it was a perfect opportunity for me.” — Utah Jazz guard Justin Robinson.
“He played well for us tonight,” Bailey said of Robinson, who participated in a free agent mini-camp with the Jazz last week and said he chose to play for Utah because “I felt like it was a perfect opportunity for me.”
Seven-year NBA veteran Bruno Caboclo added 16 points and six rebounds in the losing cause.
Caboclo, a forward from Brazil, wasn’t able to join the team until Tuesday because of duties with the Brazilian Senior National Team.
The native of São Paulo had an outstanding sequence in the first half. With about two minutes left in the second quarter, he made a thunderous dunk. Seconds later, he swished a 3-pointer, then hurried back and swatted away a shot.
Utah led 43-39 at halftime, with Robinson scoring 11 points on 4 of 6 shooting in the first half. Robinson gave the Jazz the lead with 2:30 left, but Utah missed its next four shots to fall behind. They trailed 85-82 when Robinson missed the late 3-pointer.
“We got a good look,” Bailey said.
No. 2 pick Chet Holmgren stays hot in SLC
After making one of the biggest opening-night splashes in Salt Lake City Summer League history on Tuesday night, Oklahoma City rookie Chet Holmgren was mostly held in check Wednesday at Vivint Arena.
The Gonzaga product scored 11 points — all in the first half — and had 12 rebounds and three assists in the Thunder’s 87-71 win over Memphis.
Holmgren, who local fans know terrorized BYU in both games against the Cougars last winter, was the No. 2 pick in the recent NBA draft. Through two games in the Summer League, he has not disappointed.
A lot of pundits didn’t expect Holmgren to play the second night after he was simply sensational the first night, scoring 23 points in just under 24 minutes. The 7-footer also had seven rebounds and four assists with a plus-minus of plus 26 in OKC’s 98-77 win over the Jazz.
Holmgren played nearly 26 minutes Wednesday, and struggled with his shooting going 1 of 6 from 3-point range and 3 of 11 from the field. He had two blocks, including an impressive stuff of the Grizzlies’ Romeo Weems with Memphis star Ja Morant looking on.
Former Butler star Kameron Woods, who is coaching OKC’s Summer League entrant, said the team’s brass definitely has a plan with how they want to use Holmgren over the next two weeks — the Las Vegas Summer League begins Friday — but declined to share it.
Woods wouldn’t even say if Holmgren will play Thursday night when the Thunder meet Philadelphia at 4 p.m. MT in a game that will be televised by NBA TV.
“We definitely have a plan behind it, but it is not necessarily just these three nights, but over these next eight games,” Woods said. “I think that is what is unique about it, is we play eight games, and we have a lot of guys over there (in the locker room).
“So we have a plan that we feel good about that we are going to stick to,” Woods continued. “And we are really intentional about it. So everybody that plays, every thing we do, there is going to be intent behind it, including Chet.”
Wednesday, Holmgren was muscled around a bit by Memphis center Kenneth Lofton Jr., listed at 6-foot-8 and 275 pounds. Lofton led the Grizzlies with 19 points and wasn’t shy about taking it to the 195-pound Holmgren.
Another former WCC star, ex-Santa Clara guard Jalen Williams finished with 16 points. Williams was the Thunder’s 12th overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft and showed he can plan despite not coming out of a traditional college basketball power.