Northwest Notes: Jazz, Mudiay, Blazers

The Jazz have a logjam at point guard behind Dante Exum that they must sort out prior to next season’s opener, Randy Hollis of the Deseret News reports. The trio of Trey Burke, Bryce Cotton and Raul Neto could be fighting it out for two roster spots during training camp, though GM Dennis Lindsey indicated that it’s possible the team could carry four point guards into next season, Hollis continues. Cotton’s quickness and entertaining style make him a candidate to be the second-stringer and displace Burke, a lottery pick whose shooting issues have pushed him to the bench, Hollis adds. The logjam could be broken by trading Burke, who is rumored to be on the block and doesn’t seem to fit coach Quin Snyder’s system, Hollis concludes.

In other news around the Northwest Division:

  • The Nuggets’ lottery pick Emmanuel Mudiay will be the starter at point guard, Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post opines. While Denver has a safety net in veteran Jameer Nelson, it’s clear that the Nuggets are committed to making Mudiay their floor leader in his rookie season, Dempsey adds. The only concerns are monitoring his workload and allowing him to work through his mistakes, something Nuggets GM Tim Connelly addressed with Dempsey. “We don’t want to put too much pressure on him,” Connelly said. “He’s a 19-year-old kid. We saw some good in summer league and we also saw some bad. I thought that he struggled shooting the ball. We’ve got to improve his free throw line percentage. But I think you see things like positional size, natural playmaking ability, and kind of the will and the approach to be great that excites us.”
  • Blazers coach Terry Stotts spent a sizable portion of the summer league evaluating five players under contract with the team — Allen Crabbe, Noah Vonleh, Luis Montero, Pat Connaughton and Tim Frazier — and was particularly pleased with Crabbe and Vonleh, Mike Richman of The Oregonian writes. The Blazers added nine new players and are entering a transition season after LaMarcus Aldridge‘s departure. Portland does have some young and athletic talent, however, which has Stotts optimistic, Richman adds.

Dana Gauruder contributed to this post.

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