Following an off day, the Utah Summer League resumed on Thursday for its final pair of games featuring four of this season’s most intriguing rookies to watch.
Jaren Jackson Jr. has been a breakout star through two games for the Memphis Grizzlies. The San Antonio Spurs counter with their own young stud in Lonnie Walker IV. The second game is a chance for Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks and Grayson Allen of the Utah Jazz to test their skills against each other.
Here’s a rundown of the top storylines from Thursday’s games.
San Antonio Spurs 94, Memphis Grizzlies 87
Utah Jazz 92, Atlanta Hawks 87
Trae Young’s Struggles Should Make Hawks Reconsider Trading Schroder
The battle between Young and Allen went the former Duke star’s way in Utah’s 92-87 win over Atlanta.
Neither player did much to silence questions about their shooting skills by combining to shoot 5-of-29 from the field, but Allen had a major impact on the game with eight assists, six rebounds and three steals.
— NBA (@NBA) July 6, 2018
Young has been a mess through three games this summer. The No. 5 overall pick is shooting a woeful 12-of-52 (23.1 percent) to go along with 13 assists and 11 turnovers.
Trae Young has missed at least each of his first 5 shots in all 3 of his summer league games thus far. pic.twitter.com/1wDR1zRJxa
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 6, 2018
There was a minor altercation on the court between the two rookies when Young seemed to take exception to Allen’s defense:
Grayson Allen got into a scuffle with Trae Young in Summer League. pic.twitter.com/VWuoLisnRN
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 6, 2018
After a review and double-technical fouls were called, both players remained in the game. Allen carries a reputation as a dirty player stemming from multiple incidents at Duke in which he appeared to trip opponents and flop in an effort to draw fouls.
Even though nothing became of this particular altercation, Allen could be targeted by opponents when the games count to frustrate him and get to the foul line. He displayed aspects of his game that make him a promising talent but also things that the Jazz coaching staff need to work on to help him reach his full potential.
Young, on the other hand, isn’t doing much to silence critics of his game in this early stage of his career.
“I don’t see it with him,” one Western Conference executive told B/R’s Jonathan Wasserman about Young in March. “He’s erratic with the ball, and he’s a teaser. Volume shooter. I have concerns on him.”
Fletcher Mackel of WDSU reported Wednesday that the Hawks have discussed trading Dennis Schroder with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Young’s struggles could make it difficult for the Hawks to justify trading Schroder. Another problem for the Hawks in trade talks is Schroder could be facing felony aggravated battery charges, per Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Summer league isn’t time to push the panic button on what a player is going to be when the regular season begins. The Hawks are a perfect organization for Young to develop because they’re rebuilding and play in a low-pressure environment, especially if they keep Schroder to help ease his transition.
Lonnie Walker IV, Derrick White Display Impact Potential for Spurs
With lingering questions about what their roster will look like when the regular season begins, the Spurs found something in their summer-league backcourt duo during their 94-87 win over the Grizzlies.
Walker, who sat out Tuesday’s game after going 3-of-16 in the opener against the Utah Jazz, came back with a solid outing. The rookie out of Miami had 14 points and showed good range on his shot with two of his five made field goals coming from beyond the arc.
— NBA (@NBA) July 5, 2018
Spurs assistant Will Hardy, who is coaching the summer-league team, told reporters after Walker’s rough outing on Monday that the pressure of wanting to perform may have gotten to him.
“The first game of summer league for rookies is really tough,” Hardy said. “They feel this pressure to perform and show everybody everything they’ve got. I thought he rushed a little bit. He took some tough ones, but he settled in a little later in the game. I expect him to get better and better every game.”
Rather than try to shoot his way past that performance, Walker was better at picking his spots. He still needs to be more consistent, but that’s what this time of the year is for.
The Spurs also have an opening on the bench at point guard behind Dejounte Murray. They could attempt to re-sign Tony Parker, but Derrick White continues to show promise this summer. The 2017 first-round pick led all players with 26 points, making him the only Spurs player to score at least 20 points in all three games in Utah.
Derrick White stealing Kyle Anderson’s summer-league powers like he’s Mega Man pic.twitter.com/Ex2l3eCTuV
— Michael Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher) July 5, 2018
White is at least giving head coach Gregg Popovich another option to think about off the bench next season.
Jackson had his worst offensive showing of the summer for the Grizzlies. Since coming out of the gate going 9-of-15 on Monday, the No. 4 pick has combined to shoot 5-of-18 in the past two games. He did make his presence felt in other ways.
Obvious approach tonight is for Jaren Jackson Jr. to show more impact on defensive end and in the paint offensively. He’s got 2 blocks, 2 boards and 2 trips to FT line after trying to viciously dunk on folks.
— Michael Wallace (@MyMikeCheck) July 5, 2018
The Grizzlies knew that Jackson was going to be a project when they drafted him. His early returns have been mixed, but the highs give him the potential to be the star this franchise needs him to be.