Brantley, Hughes Bounce Back As Jazz Beat Grizzlies

Aug 4, 2021, 9:58 PM
Utah Jazz wing Elijah Hughes (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)...
Utah Jazz wing Elijah Hughes (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz White roster which features Udoka Azubuike, Trent Forrest, Elijah Hughes, and Jarrell Brantley stayed undefeated with a 94-75 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in the second night of the Salt Lake City Summer League.

Brantley and Hughes both bounced back with strong performances after rough outings in Tuesday’s summer league debut.

Brantley scored 19 points and grabbed five rebounds while knocking down 2-4 three-point attempts, showing the well-rounded skillset he flashed at times playing for the Jazz on a two-way contract.

The forward played at a more controlled pace against the Spurs on Wednesday after looking out of control at times Tuesday night.

“He got in the paint and he was really patient,” Jazz assistant coach Bryan Bailey said. “He got good looks.”

After the win, Brantley credited Tuesday night’s rust to the long layoff between his full-time minutes with the Salt Lake City Stars and this year’s summer league.

“I haven’t played in real minutes in a live setting in a year or so,” Brantley said. “Last night was fun to be in the game and kind of get a feel for it, but today I could be more focused.”

Brantley is fighting for a guaranteed spot on the roster after spending the last two seasons with the Jazz on a two-way deal.

Hughes meanwhile found his shot in the first quarter after struggling Tuesday against the Spurs. The wing out of Syracuse shot just 3-13 in his debut including 1-7 from three for seven points, but bounced back with a 12 point, five rebound performance against the Spurs.

Despite knowing down 2-5 threes, it’s the defensive side of the ball where Hughes said he is trying to show his value.

“I feel like I guarded really well, that’s my main focus,” Hughes said, “and that’s going to be my main focus every single game, and I feel like my offense is coming.”

The combination guard-forward has a guaranteed contract with the Jazz next season but will be fighting for playing time behind Royce O’Neale, Joe Ingles, Jordan Clarkson, and the newly acquired Eric Paschall.

While Hughes and Brantley had bounce-back performances, it’s been the continued impressive play from both Azubuike and Forrest that has turned heads at summer league.

Azubuike had 19 points and 11 rebounds on a perfect 9-9 shooting, adding three blocks and two steals in just 21 minutes.

Forrest again controlled the pace of the game scoring 10 points, and dishing out 13 assists in 25 minutes.

“When he’s on the floor he doesn’t get sped up,” Bailey said. “He’s always poised and under control and makes the right read.”

Azubuike is still on his rookie deal but may compete with recently added Hassan Whiteside for backup minutes behind Rudy Gobert. Forrest was on a two-way deal with the Jazz last season but may earn himself a guaranteed contract, even in the Jazz loaded backcourt.

At 6’4 with a 6’7 wingspan, Forrest has unique size among Jazz guards and a willingness to defend that could make him a valuable commodity.

Jazz Blue Roster Records First Win

The Jazz Blue roster looked much better in their second outing after a rough game one against the Grizzlies on Tuesday.

MaCio Teague who played with rookie Jared Butler at Baylor signed with the Jazz on a camp invite after going undrafted scored 26 points on 9-18 shooting. DJ Funderburk added 12 points and four rebounds and looked worthy of a closer look with the team at the Las Vegas Summer League.

The Salt Lake City Summer League will take Thursday night off before wrapping up play on Friday night.

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