The Utah Jazz blitzed the shorthanded Philadelphia 76ers in their last Orlando Pro Summer League game by a final score of 85-58. Utah shot 51.7%, held a 37-24 rebound advantage, and outscored the 76ers, 36-16, in the paint. Philly, which dressed just eight players as others shipped off to Las Vegas to play in its summer league, had no answer for the Jazz’s athletic, wide-open offense. To that point, pogo stick power forwards Jeremy Evans and Jermareo Davidson combined for 28 points and 12 rebounds on 13-of-18 shooting, overwhelming Philadelphia inside. Additionally, Gordon Hayward finished his solid week with 14 points on three-of-five shooting, pushing his week-long field-goal percentage to 62.5%. In keeping with their balanced approach, all 11 of the Jazz’s uniformed men played at least 11 minutes.
Without Jrue Holiday, Marreese Speights, or Trent Plaisted, the 76ers could not have realistically expected to compete with a team of Utah’s caliber, though they shouldn’t have fallen behind by 36 points, as they did at one stage of the game. The brigtest spot, from their standpoint, is that second overall draft choice Evan Turner finally broke through. The Sixers’ go-to man for most of the day, he played 34 of a possible 40 minutes and used an estimated 20 possessions, with encouraging results. He shot only four-of-10 from the field, but his four-of-four foul shooting boosted him to a team-high 13 points, which also ties his best showing from the week. Though he still demonstrates poor body language after each whistle that doesn’t go his way, he played more under control today, and looked more comfortable as a playmaker on the fast break.
Teammate Ndudi Ebi played hard, grabbing a team-high seven rebounds in 27 minutes off the bench. Though not particularly skilled, Ebi’s size, strength, and consistent effort may earn him an invitation to an NBA team’s training camp.
Utah point guard Sundiata Gaines’ play reminds me of that of Jameer Nelson. If you’re familiar with my work at Orlando Pinstriped Post, you know I can only mean that statement as a compliment. Quick, with a deft handle, good instincts in the pick-and-roll, and a solid jump shot, Gaines shows promise as Deron Williams’ backup in Utah.
At this rate, I would be surprised if the Jazz didn’t bring Jeremy Evans aboard. Though Paul Millsap is more than a capable replacement for Carlos Boozer in the starting lineup, they need depth behind him, and Evans would make a good fit in coach Jerry Sloan’s offense because he fills open spaces in the floor and can convert in traffic inside. And the prospect of him filling the lane on a Wiliams-led fast break is pretty exciting, really. Add Hayward spotting up for three to that scenario and you can see the potential the Jazz could have.