Final score and summary of Utah Jazz vs. Oklahoma City Thunder. Statistics on Kenny Lofton, Brice Sensabaugh, Cody Williams and Isaiah Collier

Final score and summary of Utah Jazz vs. Oklahoma City Thunder. Statistics on Kenny Lofton, Brice Sensabaugh, Cody Williams and Isaiah Collier

The Utah Jazz Summer League team came unprepared from the start and fell behind Oklahoma City in the first few minutes, although their lead was getting bigger and bigger and the Jazz simply could not reduce it.

If Moneyballs Billy Beane If you can believe it, anything worthwhile will be incredibly difficult. In Utah’s case, the goal is to mold its young talent into NBA players, and the path to that is still unclear. Player development is never a straight line, and Utah’s crushing loss to the Thunder Summer League team was a perfect indication that Utah’s youth are nowhere near ready to face real NBA competition.

In a game where Utah never had the lead, the Thunder seemed to be the better prepared team from the start. OKC’s offense resembled a picky bachelorette addicted to swiping left on Tinder. It was pass, pass, pass all night long until the defense ran out of men to keep up with their fast pace.

Utah’s defensive rotations were embarrassed as they fought through blocks, switched assignments and frantically chased open shooters. It would not be an exaggeration to say that of the Thunder’s 35 three-point shots, more than half were unopposed – completely open.

As a team, Utah was not ready to win and could never match the Thunder’s performance in the Summer League. In a 98-75 win, the most exciting play was a three-pointer by Jack Gohlke in overtime.

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2024 NBA Salt Lake City Summer League – Oklahoma City Thunder vs Utah Jazz

Brice Sensabaugh enjoyed an entertaining, albeit short, evening at Utah’s Summer League game against the Thunder.
Getty Images

But aside from any crushing defeat, the only way teams really lose is if they fail to learn from their failures. That may sound like fortune cookie mumbo jumbo, but it’s the truth. If developing a player is the goal, nothing can hurt a young player’s development more than a story without a moral.

Although the general consensus among fans is that Utah’s young core still has a long way to go, several players showed moments of inspired performance that should leave viewers wanting more.

Brice Sensabaugh was outstanding tonight, limiting himself to just one turnover – a drastic improvement from the night before – and Sensa was all in on the offensive, scoring an efficient 18 points in just 15 minutes of playing time

For much of the game, the offense ran primarily through Kenny Lofton, with varying degrees of success. Whether he was acting as a central hub from the free throw line as a blocker, distributor, and shooter, or even playing a few minutes as the lead ball handler (that was pretty cool), Lofton’s versatility was on full display as he put up stats of 18 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds to go along with 3 steals and 1 block.

2024 NBA Salt Lake City Summer League – Olkahoma City Thunder vs Utah Jazz

Kenny Lofton rises above a defender’s outstretched arm while shooting from beyond the arc.
Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Isaiah Collier and Kyle Filipowki were solid contributors during their playing time. Collier got to the basket easily, but struggled to finish consistently. He didn’t play in the second half, but that will likely make room for other players to get more playing time. Filipowski moved the ball well and finished some plays himself. He added a couple of assists and grabbed 5 rebounds on the night. Subtract a few steps and the freshman had a solid outing.

Even the Tar Heels’ star Armondo Bacot put in some solid minutes after being sidelined last night. He collected rebounds like I’d expect from pink puffball Kirby and put in solid minutes — even if those minutes came after the game was already out of reach.

Recent footage of Armando Bacot inhaling defensive rebounds for dinner.

The Ice Age

Three-pointers were hard to watch. More shots were bouncing off the basket than I could bear. I sent countless prayers to the basketball gods for Cody Williams to make a shot, and I finally got an answer when he sank a three-pointer late in the second half.

Williams was still hesitant when it came to starting his own offense, and I would have liked to see him more involved in cut actions, drives to the basket, or anything else other than just standing in the corner while Preston and Lofton played hot potato up in the open space. Whether this was due to the Jazz’s offensive strategy or Williams’ tendencies, I would like to see him get to work and show what he can do.

2024 NBA Salt Lake City Summer League – Olkahoma City Thunder vs Utah Jazz

Cody Williams prepares for a long shot against OKC.
Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Cody was far from the Jazz’s biggest problem in this game. Shooting 32% from the field and 22% from beyond the three-point line is a loss in any situation. Some players who aren’t getting NBA minutes have attempted more shots than I’d like to see, and certain players not mentioned here have attempted and missed far more shots than they deserve.

Bad shooting nights happen, but tonight’s result was likely a symptom of unprepared players, an incomplete offensive system and role confusion. Tonight, Utah’s young players were at a disadvantage, and without Kessler, George and Hendricks in the lineup, the team lacked leadership and direction.

Keep in mind that it’s easy to take too much from Summer League, and it’s short-sighted to form opinions based on a player’s first NBA experience. Utah had a tough game against Oklahoma City tonight, but the future looks as bright as ever.