Jazz Assign Bradley and Mitrou-Long to Salt Lake City Stars

Jazz Assign Bradley and Mitrou-Long to Salt Lake City Stars
Jae Crowder quickly adjusting to life with Utah Jazz following trade
nSALT LAKE CITY — A buoyant, sell-out crowd at Vivint Arena showered No. 99 with cheers as he checked in for Derrick Favors at 6:35 in the opening quarter.

In Jae Crowder’s first home game as a member of the Utah Jazz Monday, he contributed to the 10th consecutive victory against the San Antonio Spurs, 101-99.

Crowder missed his first 3-point attempt, then had his layup swatted by Kyle Anderson, but displayed his versatility throughout the game as he grew more comfortable.

He drained his first triple at 9:37 in the second, en route to posting 14 points with three boards in 14 minutes off the bench.

“It was meant to be. I’ve been a fan of the Jazz organization for a long time with my dad being a part of it. I feel good, I feel at home,” Crowder said in an interview after his arrival to Utah. “I feel like I fit right in with these guys.”

In his first game at Portland Sunday, he shot 5 for 11 with 15 points and five rebounds.

The former Cavalier was acquired before the trade deadline last Thursday as part of the three-team deal that sent Rodney Hood to Cleveland, and Crowder seems to be loving every minute of being in Salt Lake City.

“It was rocking tonight, the crowd was into it, they really got us this win, and we fed off of that,” Crowder described. “It was a great first (home) game for myself to be able to get the win, and keep playing good basketball was big for us.”

In 53 games with Cleveland to start the season, the forward averaged 8.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 0.8 steals per game while shooting 41.8 percent from the field and 32.8 percent from behind the arc.

Jae Crowder shares his thoughts of playing his first home game in a Jazz uniform at @vivintarena. He ended with 14 points off the bench in 33 minutes. pic.twitter.com/j3JjdVg3h7

Utah isn’t a unfamiliar place for Crowder, however. While he was growing up, his dad, Corey, played in 51 games for the Jazz during the 1991-92 season, having a limited role coming off the bench.

Crowder has yet to practice with the squad, but is quickly picking up on Jazz coach Quin Snyder’s schemes. His physicality and strength allow him to play small and power forward while also guarding guards and forwards on the defensive end.

That time brought back a lot of positive memories for Crowder — which he took to Instagram following the trade to talk about — making the transition to Salt Lake City even smoother.

“He’s been great just coming in,” said Jazz center Rudy Gobert. “He hasn’t practiced once and he’s just out there competing, communicating with his teammates, and it’s been great.”

In the end, the faster that happens and the more chemistry Crowder and the Jazz build this season, the better off everyone in Utah will be — both this year and looking ahead to the future.

Snyder is being careful not to overload Crowder with too much too soon. Keeping things as simple as possible is the main thing right now as he eases into the rotation.

“I think the thing that I have told him is the goal is 10 feet and it’s still just basketball and don’t get hung up on, ‘Do I know the right play?’ or, ‘Am I in the right spot?’” Snyder said. “If you aren’t in the right spot, keep playing.

“The things he does I really value,” he added. “His defending, his activity, his spirit, his toughness … those things are appreciated. It’s not like they don’t work. They work regardless of what he is doing if he is on the floor.”

Crowder says he maybe knows two of the sets from Snyder’s thick playbook but continues to study film on his iPad while picking up as much as he can on the fly.

As a result of those trade deadline moves, Crowder was sent from Cleveland to Utah in a three-team trade that included the Sacramento Kings.

In two games for Utah, he’s putting up nightly averages of 14.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 31.0 minutes, which is far more productive than he was in his 53 games in Cleveland, where he was scoring just 8.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists.

Utah fans have welcomed Crowder with open arms as he’s embraced Jazz Nation, also the former home of his father, Corey, who played for Utah during the 1991-92 season.

Crowder is fitting right in, especially alongside his former Celtics teammate Jonas Jerebko.

“This group is very much on the same page and fighting for the same goal,” Crowder said.

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has assigned center Tony Bradley and guard Naz Mitrou-Long to the Salt Lake City Stars, the Jazz’s exclusively owned and operated NBA G League team. It marks the 14th assignment this season for Bradley and the first for Mitrou-Long since being signed to a 10-day contract by the Jazz on Feb. 11. Both players will be available for tonight’s game against the Santa Cruz Warriors at Bruin Arena on the campus of Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville.

Bradley (6-10, 248, North Carolina) has appeared in eight games this season for Utah, recording a career-high four points and three rebounds at Oklahoma City on Dec. 20. Bradley has also appeared in 19 games (all starts) for the Stars on the year, owning averages of 15.4 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.3 blocks in 29.0 minutes per game.

Mitrou-Long (6-4, 218, Iowa State) has appeared in 32 games (27 starts) for the Stars this season, averaging 16.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.2 steals in 34.6 minutes per contest. He originally signed a two-way contract this season with the Jazz on Dec. 23, appearing in one game with Utah, tallying three points at Denver on Dec. 26. He most recently signed a 10-day contract with the team on Feb. 11.


Posted in Salt Lake City