Did the Utah Jazz unearth a rotation player at the Salt Lake City Summer League?
The Jazz played only three games and went winless, but did they find any players who could be useful next season?
The Salt Lake City Summer League, which this year featured the Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers and Memphis Grizzles, concluded Thursday night.
The Jazz played only three games and went winless, but did they find any players who could be useful next season? Here are a couple possibilities.
The Jazz’s offseason playing days aren’t over just yet, as the team will be participating in the Las Vegas Summer League too. Utah’s first game is Saturday at 4:30 p.m. on NBA TV against the Atlanta Hawks.
One of two Jazz players officially designated Salt Lake City Summer League “standouts,” Butler played in two games and showed glimpses of potential.
After his 22 point, seven rebound and seven assist outing against the Grizzlies, Jazz coach Bryan Bailey told the Deseret News, “Jared was better tonight. We have been harping on the defensive end for him. I think he had some possessions where he really guarded well, kept guys in front and got into the passing lanes. ... He finished with seven assists. I think overall he had a good game.”
Butler struggled mightily from 3-point range against Memphis — he shot 4 of 14 from behind the arc — but at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, the Jazz’s second-round pick in the 2021 NBA draft may yet become a useful, defensive-minded reserve guard.
Especially if the Jazz decide to move on from players like Mike Conley, Patrick Beverly and Malik Beasley.
The other “standout” for the Jazz, Caboclo was a pleasant surprise in Salt Lake City.
Eight years removed from being the 20th pick in the 2014 NBA draft — touted as being “two years away from being two years away” by Fran Fraschilla — few, if any, believe Caboclo will be a game-changer, but in two games played he averaged 16.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 2.5 blocks per game while shooting 52.2% from the floor.
He recorded 17 points, seven rebounds and three steals in the final game against the Grizzlies and made a memorable block.
Listed at 6-foot-9, 218 pounds, the 26-year-old Brazilian would fill a need for the Jazz, that of versatile wing. During his now seven-year NBA career, Caboclo has played as a small forward, power forward and center.
Currently, the Jazz are lacking in experienced wings — think players between 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-9 who can defend multiple positions — despite acquiring multiple wing prospects in the Rudy Gobert trade.
Due to the Gobert trade, the Jazz have a gaping hole at center, with only Udoka Azubuike and rookie Walker Kessler currently under contract — backup center Hassan Whiteside is an unrestricted free agent.
Cockburn doesn’t really fit the bill of a modern NBA center — neither does Summer League fan favorite Tacko Fall — but the 7-foot, 285-pound Jamaican was solid in his three outings with the Jazz, if foul prone.
In college at Illinois, Cockburn was the fulcrum on offense, which will be a major adjustment for him as he attempts to make an NBA squad.
Cockburn did prove himself effective on the boards, though, and when given the ball in the paint, he usually put it in the basket, making 10 of 16 total field goal attempts.