23/06/2024

Utah Jazz wing Ochai Agbaji vows to be aggressive in summer league

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Utah Jazz wing Ochai Agbaji vows to be aggressive in summer league

In the latest “How ’Bout This Jazz” newsletter, second-year wing Ochai Agbaji reveals will play in both the SLC and Las Vegas summer leagues. Plus, quick injury updates on two rookies, and a positional plan for the other one.

In the latest “How ’Bout This Jazz” newsletter, second-year wing Ochai Agbaji reveals will play in both the SLC and Las Vegas summer leagues. Plus, quick injury updates on two rookies, and a positional plan for the other one.

There’s a lot to be intrigued about with the Utah Jazz and their roster right now.

They drafted Taylor Hendricks, Keyonte George, and Brice Sensabaugh.

They’re set to trade for former Hawks forward John Collins.

They got some contractual clarity on Jordan Clarkson, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Kelly Olynyk.

And teams can, ahem, begin negotiating with free agents on Friday.

In the meantime, the Salt Lake City Summer League is set to begin on Monday evening. While many Jazz fans perhaps did not anticipate second-year wing Ochai Agbaji playing in summer league, he was on the team’s roster that was announced for the three days of play at the Delta Center.

Agbaji met with a few media members following Thursday’s first summer league practice, and was asked how the decision was made for him to participate, after his strong close to the regular season.

Apparently, it wasn’t much of a conversation.

“Will [Hardy] had told me that I was gonna be playing [in summer league] right after the season — even before the season was over,” Agbaji said. “So I had known that going into the summer, going into the offseason, that I would be coming back here, coming to summer league practice, and playing in Salt Lake and in Vegas.”

Agbaji said he envisioned being a leader on the team, trying to facilitate for others, but also “being all-around aggressive in my game.”

So, 25 shots a night, then?

“Something like that,” he said, laughing. “I don’t know — that’s a lot. But I’m just gonna be aggressive.”

A few names on the early injury report

Give that the trio of rookies all expressed excitement about getting to work ASAP, some Jazz fans were no doubt distressed when beat reporters such as myself tweeted out the news that Hendricks and Sensabaugh had not taken part in Thursday’s practice due to injury. The team later sent out a notification that Hendricks missed the session with a right hamstring strain, while Sensabaugh was out on account of left knee surgery recovery.

Let me assuage you — neither situation is serious.

Hendricks’ hamstring is what caused him not to be able to work out for the Jazz in the predraft process. He’s said he’s feeling better, but figured the team would bring him along slowly. Sensabaugh, meanwhile, gave a similar report about his recovery from surgery in March.

After the practice was over, Sensabaugh was observed participating in a game of “Around the world” 3-point shooting alongside George and guard Johnny Juzang (which Juzang won, by the way).

(Eric Walden | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz assistant coach Evan Bradds will lead the team's summer league entries in both Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, Jazz assistant coach Evan Bradds, who is heading up the Jazz’s summer league teams, downplayed the rookies not taking part in practice.

“They’re just day-to-day, taking it slow,” Bradds said. “We’ll see what they look like tomorrow and see what happens.”

And the other rookie …

General manager Justin Zanik said he believes that George can be a lead ball-handling/play-making guard.

Bradds was then asked if he plans to deploy him at point guard in SLC and Las Vegas.

“Yeah, I think we’ll experiment with the summer,” he said. “I think he’ll be just fine — he’s very talented, and he can do a lot of different things. So I’m excited to try that.”

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