Jazz Get First Summer League Win, Lose Samanic

Jul 6, 2023, 10:03 PM | Updated: 10:30 pm

Utah Jazz guard Ochai Agbaji shoots against the Memphis Grizzlies’ Matthew Hurt at the Delta Cent...

Utah Jazz guard Ochai Agbaji shoots against the Memphis Grizzlies’ Matthew Hurt at the Delta Center (Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

(Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz earned their first summer league victory with a 98-83 win over the Memphis Grizzlies but lost forward Luka Samanic in the process.

Samanic left the game in the fourth quarter after colliding knees with a Grizzlies player and limped immediately towards the Jazz locker room.

The Jazz now head to Las Vegas where the open play on Saturday night.

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Agabji Bounces Back After Slow Start

After starting the game 1-9, Ochai Agbaji looked like he’d hit a brick wall playing his third game in four nights while carrying an unusually heavy offensive load.

“I think he showed a little frustration tonight, and that’s okay, we’ve all been there,” coach Evan Bradds said.

But after his difficult start, the second-year guard bounced back in a big way, closing the game by knocking down 7-11 attempts from the floor, finishing with 22 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists.


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Agbaji’s slow start was largely a result of trying to generate his own shot off the dribble, where he struggles to create space or beat his man to the basket.

However, when his game is simplified down to catch-and-shoot looks, and transition opportunities, he was able to take over the game.

The Summer League is a good opportunity for the Jazz to see how Agbaji functions with the ball in his hands, but at this point, he’s far more comfortable operating as a pure floor spacer.

Agbaji will likely get more opportunities to operate with the ball in Las Vegas, but barring a major uptick in his success, it won’t be a major piece of his game next season.

The good news is, if he can replicate this performance against the Grizzlies, he’ll be deserving of a rotation spot.

Highs And Lows From Keyonte George

Keyonte George had his worst shooting performance in Summer League on Thursday, knocking down just 2-11 from the floor, including 1-8 from the three-point line.

Though George has good height for a guard at 6-foot-4, he struggles to score inside the paint, and the closer he gets to the rim, the worse he gets.

After getting his shot blocked in the first half (a common occurrence so far at summer league), George began to settle for contested three-point shots, and wasn’t particularly successful.

But while his shooting abandoned him in game three, he found ways to impact the game in other ways, a good sign for a young rookie.

George shot and connected on all 10 of his free-throw attempts, and as a result, finished with 15 points, six rebounds, and five assists.

No guard always shoots efficiently, but the best scorers find ways to get to the free-throw line, and George did that to close the Salt Lake City Summer League.

Additionally, the Baylor product showed real promise as a playmaker throughout the week, finishing with 13 assists and only four turnovers in 84 minutes on the floor.

George had a negative assist-to-turnover ratio in college, one of his major knocks when he entered the draft. The simple fact that he was able to reverse that so quickly is a strong sign that he was playing out of position at Baylor.

Samanic Injured Before Las Vegas Summer League

Coach Bradds was unable to offer an update on Samanic after the game, and with a quick turnaround in Las Vegas, his availability going forward has to be called into question.

The first Vegas Summer League games will be held Friday, with the Jazz kicking off play on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Jazz will face four Western Conference foes before beginning tournament play, with all four games being broadcast on national television.

July 8: Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Clippers – 8 pm MST ESPN2

July 10: Utah Jazz vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – 8 pm MST ESPNU

July 12: Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets – 7:30 pm MST NBATV

July 14: Utah Jazz @ Phoenix Suns – 9 pm MST ESPN2

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Jazz Get First Summer League Win, Lose Samanic