• Adam Bushman

How to Get An A In Summer League: Grayson Allen

Updated: Nov 21, 2018

Photo Source: Deseret News

The Jazz basketball wait is almost over...that is if you count Summer League basketball. At this point in the year, we can’t afford to be very picky.

The 2018 NBA Summer League will soon be upon us, beginning with the games right here in Utah at Vivint SmartHome Arena. Following matches with the Hawks, Grizzlies, and Spurs, the Utah Jazz Summer League roster will participate in the Las Vegas Summer League.

There’s lots of fun and excitement ahead as we’ll have ample time to get to know Grayson Allen the player. We’ve heard the interviews and seen the highlights. It’s now time to see what he can do in a Jazz uniform.

So, what does a top notch Summer League look like for Grayson Allen? In order to pass with flying colors, Grayson must prove he’s not only a Jazzman but confirm all that was advertised. Here are four things to look for as we cheer on the Jazz and newcomer Grayson Allen:

Bust Your Butt

One of the selling points on Grayson Allen was his competitiveness and the fire with which he plays. This not only qualifies as “Jazz DNA” but is a current hallmark of our current roster. The Utah Jazz believe Grayson can step in from day 1 and contribute in that aspect.

Just as the Jazz have built their reputation upon hard-working, nose grinding players, the Summer League is full of players scratching and clawing for a chance at an NBA roster. Most don’t have the talent to make the league, but it sure won’t be for lack of effort.

Grayson’s competitiveness must shine above the crowd in summer league to earn himself an A. This means energy, aggressiveness, and chance taking. We want to see a modern day, young Jerry Sloan out on the court who will work and grind and win.

Royce O’Neale made the Jazz roster because of his work ethic and competitiveness. Raul Neto continues to get playing time because of his hustle and no-excuses attitude. Rudy Gobert achieved his level of success thanks to a desire to be the best and a willingness to do the unpleasant things.

Grayson must step in and show the same things right away to show fans and coaches alike that he belongs on the team and deserves a rotation spot.

Walk The Line

First impressions are key. They shape how we view people and things. Our opinion isn’t easily swayed not matter the mountain of evidence to the contrary. Impressions last far longer than they are made.

Summer League is all about first impressions, especially for first round draft picks. The media, coaches, and fans soak up these games as a prism for what their first season will hold. Grayson Allen needs to walk the line between competitiveness and Draymond Greene-esque drama during Summer League.

Dennis Lindsey, Quinn Snyder, Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and even Grayson Allen himself all vouch that the tripping and unsportsmanlike conduct is behind him. Even so, fans are skeptical. The worst impression Grayson can make during Summer League is lose control and let the past come back to bite him.

However, Grayson can ease minds of most fans by constantly reminding himself of the line and walking it. Many a Jazzman was accused of dirty play but they gained the trust of fans, media, and coaching staff to a point where accusations didn’t matter. Grayson can take a step toward this trust with a drama free Summer League performance.

Do It All

Just a few short weeks ago, we at Jabber Jazz wrote that the Utah Jazz should be looking for a “Do-It-All” prospect: someone who could shoot, dribble, pass, and defend well; not great, but well. Grayson Allen was selected with the 21st overall pick because he has the ability to do all those things. He doesn’t always do them well but he can.

For Grayson Allen to figuratively put the cherry on top of his summer league performance, we need to see the meat and potatoes of why the Jazz drafted him. Fans shouldn’t expect nightly showings of high point, rebound, assist, and steal totals; those are one in a million type guys (fortunately we struck on the millionth time with Donovan Mitchell). But we should expect one or two such outings.

Much of Summer League for newcomers such as Grayson is about showing potential and validating your skills. The opponents, defensive schemes, and offensive sets aren’t even close to the caliber they will face in just a couple months. The expectation for Grayson, as well as any other draft pick, is that he will show exactly why he was drafted to the Jazz and how he can contribute at the next level.

Lackluster performances are part of the learning process and don’t condemn a player or their future. Stellar nights, on the other hand, have the potential to engrane themselves into the minds of spectators and alter impressions. Grayson needs such performances, albeit one or two, to prove to himself and others that he can do a bit of everything.

Show Your IQ

Grayson Allen is one of the few four year players to have been taken in the first round of the draft this year. When asked about it, he explained his desire to learn from renowned college coach Mike Krzyzewski and graduate with a degree. Summer League is a perfect time to display all that you have learned and all that you could learn.

Fans witnessed all last year how important it is to absorb information. Donovan Mitchell was a unique sponge who made mistakes, learned from them, and did it right going forward. Grayson Allen’s success in the league likely won’t achieve the level of Donovan, but may be predicated on his ability to execute what he is coached to do.

The Summer League playbook is thinner than Coach Snyder’s which leaves room for movement, improvisation, and smart playmaking. Grayson can lead by example and by word on how to execute designed plays and how to play make the correct way.

It may be more difficult for Jazz fans to pick up on the indicators of high IQ basketball, but this is an essential step in securing a top notch grade during summer league.

We’ve heard a million times that Summer League is Summer League; don’t get too down on the downs or high on the highs. Grayson Allen will have his struggles and will hopefully have his successes. The key to an “A” grade is success in the right areas.

So long as Grayson maintains his competitiveness, keeps his legs to himself, and makes the correct plays on both ends of the floor, fans and coaches alike will be thoroughly pleased. Without success in these areas, fans will become ever more nervous, and rightfully so.

We fans have the right to feel how we feel and think what we think. We spend our hard earned money on the team we love, for goodness sake. Yet, before we make up our minds just yet, let’s trust Dennis, Quinn, and Gail.

They have faith and confidence in Grayson Allen from countless hours of research and conversation. They’ve done their due diligence, and so should we by letting our first impressions come at Summer League.

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