Utah Jazz: 3 standout performers from the Salt Lake City Summer League

Utah Jazz (Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz (Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Utah Jazz
Utah Jazz center Udoka Azubuike (Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports) /

Utah Jazz center Udoka Azubuike

A quick question: is 87% a good field goal percentage? Asking for a (very uninformed) friend.

That’s the percentage Udoka Azubuike shot from the field during the Salt Lake Summer League, including a perfect 9 for 9 performance in the Utah Jazz White’s 94-75 romp of the Memphis Grizzlies’ squad. He finished that game with 19 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals.

Like Forrest, Azubuike completed his rookie season for the Utah Jazz during 2020-21, and also like Forrest, it was quite limited. Azubuike saw a mere 3.8 minutes of action per game across 15 performances. Still, it’s hard not to see his potential. An athletic 5 who can run the floor, finish effectively in pick-and-roll sets, defend the rim and control the glass, Azubuike profiles as the sort of low usage, high efficiency rim-running 5 that contending teams tend to feature.

Like many young players in this model, Azubuike is raw, and that doesn’t bode well for his playing time on a contending team. You couldn’t blame him if he was excited when his Utah Jazz traded Derrick Favors, and disappointed when they signed Hassan Whiteside to replace him. Still, learning from a similar veteran in Whiteside could pay dividends for his career down the line, and one hopes that the athletic sophomore will feel motivated to compete with the veteran journeyman in practices.

After all, if he keeps his head down and work hard, prime Whiteside production could be in his future.