Utah Jazz 2014-15 Player Review: Bryce Cotton


Apr 10, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz guard Bryce Cotton (8) dribbles the ball as Memphis Grizzlies guard Beno Udrih (19) defends during the second half at EnergySolutions Arena. Memphis won 89-88. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Looking back on the Utah Jazz 2014-15 season that was. 22 players logged minutes, some stepped forward, others back. Some were called up from the ether, others packed bags for alternate destinations. 

Bryce Cotton

As a college player for the Providence Friars, diminutive point guard Bryce Cotton transformed himself from an under-recruited curiosity to a Big East Tournament MVP who put up 36 points, eight assists and five boards in an NCAA tournament game against North Carolina.

After going undrafted, Cotton played for the San Antonio Spurs summer league outfit, then went on to join the Austin Spurs of the D-League. His scoring prowess continued to take center stage for the Toros, as Cotton averaged more than 22 points per game in 34 contests.

His performance in Austin was enough to convince Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey to take a flier on Cotton, and the guard was signed to a 10-Day contract. Though floor time was sparse, his work ethic prompted the club to sign him to a second 10-Day contract.

At the conclusion of his second deal, the team was faced with a difficult decision—part ways or keep Cotton for the remainder of the season. Ultimately, Lindsey inked the former Friar to a non-guaranteed multi-year deal.

2014-15 Season Stats

10.6 MPG, 5.3 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.3 SPG, 42% FGs, 35% 3FGs, ORtg 101.0, DRtg 101.3


After failing to make an impact through eight games during February and March, Cotton received extended minutes in April with Trey Burke missing time. The guard made the most of his opportunity, pushing the pace for the Jazz and showing that he could score at the NBA level.

In his last five games with the Jazz, Cotton averaged 13 points per contest and looked the part of an NBA point guard. His sample size was quite small, but he also managed to make 75-percent of his shots within five feet of the basket and over 45-percent on attempts from five to nine feet.

It’s hard to know what to make of these numbers given the limited data, but the raw numbers belie a player of his physical stature. For comparison, the much larger Russell Westbrook shot 53-percent and 41-percent from the same areas on the floor.

Also–kid’s got hops:


Now to discuss the elephant in the room—Cotton’s size. The guard (allegedly) stands at six-foot-one and tips the scales at 165 pounds. Any way you slice it, this seems inadequate for a rotation player in the NBA.

While there are definitely examples of smaller guards with a certain level of toughness and a healthy dose of speed breaking the mold—Isaiah Thomas, Nate Robinson and Earl Boykins come to mind—Cotton has a hard row to hoe.

His ability to finish at the basket would probably settle back into a more normal range given a larger sample size. Moreover, defense could end up being an issue as point guards in the league continue to get bigger and bigger.

In the D-League, Cotton was a scoring machine. When the Jazz faced the Dallas Mavericks in their 2014-15 home finale, he lit up the scoreboard and electrified the crowd to the tune of 21 points.

While this probably isn’t going to be a regular occurrence at the NBA level, Cotton showed that he has the potential to put the ball into the basket and run an offense regardless of the competition.

At the very least, he’s earned a chance to prove he can stick with the Utah going forward. I, for one, think he has a lot to offer a team as a back-up point guard and offensive instigator.

If he’s able to score at the basket and in the mid-range while expediting the offensive attack for coach Quin Snyder, there’s a place in the league and on the Jazz for Cotton.

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