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Utah Summer League Preview

Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports

The NBA’s second Summer League begins today with the Utah Jazz hosting a six-game, four-team event with prospects fighting for the last training camp invites available to them. The Philadelphia 76ers, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics will play nightly doubleheaders on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Here’s a breakdown of top prospects you should be on the lookout for throughout the week.

Philadelphia 76ers

Prospects to Watch: Jahlil Okafor C, Furkan Aldemir PF, Jerami Grant SF/PF, J.P. Tokoto SG/SF, Richaun Holmes PF, Derrick Marks PG/SG

Breakdown: Half of the 76ers Summer League team might make the opening day roster, so don’t be surprised if they overwhelm the other three teams. Center Jahlil Okafor should be the go-to-guy immediately and Aldemir’s prior NBA experience should complement him nicely on the front line. On the wing are a pair of second-round picks in Grant from 2014 and Tokoto from 2015. Versatile power forward Richaun Holmes was a nice selection by GM Sam Hinkie in the second round, and could be a solid bench player down the line. Marks is my sleeper on this team, as he has NBA size, length and athleticism to be a backup point guard in the league. If Marks proves he can run an NBA team, he could warrant a training camp invite.

San Antonio Spurs

Prospects to Watch: Kyle Anderson SF, Cady Lalanne C, Livio Jean-Charles SF/PF, Treveon Graham SG/SF, Wayne Blackshear SG/SF, Will Cherry PG

Breakdown: The Spurs roster lacks a lot of NBA experience and professional experience with 11 out of 14 prospects being rookies. There are still plenty of intriguing names on the roster, and it’ll be very interesting to see the progress 2014 first-round pick Kyle Anderson has made after a year of development in the Spurs’ system. It’ll also be interesting to see how center Cady Lalanne reacts to the jump in competition, as the Spurs are looking for a defensive, backup center to spare Tim Duncan this season. Lengthy and athletic forward Livio Jean-Charles will man one wing position with either Graham or Blackshear playing shooting guard. Graham was one of my sleepers as a 3-and-D wing prior to the draft, and it’ll be interesting to see the role he plays for San Antonio. Point guard Will Cherry also could earn a training camp invite with a great performance with backup Cory Joseph leaving in free agency.

Utah Jazz

Prospects to Watch: Dante Exum PG/SG, Olivier Hanlan PG/SG, Rodney Hood SG/SF, Trey Lyles PF, Wesley Saunders SG/SF

Breakdown: The Jazz have a versatile roster with multiple players capable of playing different positions. Exum is the most intriguing player on the roster, and it’ll be interesting to see how he’s developed his offensive game after a year in the league. Swingman Rodney Hood should dominate this level of competition after a solid stretch of play at the end of last season. Combo guard Olivier Hanlan should provide shooting ability and needs to improve his point-guard skills to give him a chance as a second-round pick. Lottery pick power forward Trey Lyles should be able to show his skills and versatility on the low block. Wesley Saunders is a sleeper on this roster as a versatile swingman capable of possibly developing into a 3-and-D player at the next level.

Boston Celtics

Prospects to Watch: Marcus Smart PG/SG, Terry Rozier PG, James Young SG/SF, Marcus Thornton SG, Jordan Mickey PF, R.J. Hunter SG

Breakdown: The Celtics will have an intriguing mix of talent on display in Utah, with four rookie draft picks participating and two second-year players trying to show the steps they’ve taken to improve since last season. Smart and Rozier give Boston two athletic, physical point guards who are pesky on defense and can penetrate and finish. Second-year swingman James Young is looking to gain consistency on both ends and will help as a threat from the perimeter. Sharpshooter R.J. Hunter has a chance to be a bench player immediately with his ability to stretch the floor, and he should shine in this setting. Marcus Thornton is athletic and quick, but it’ll be interesting to see how he handles the competition level coming from a smaller school. Lastly, athletic and lengthy power forward Jordan Mickey should show off his shot-blocking and defensive ability for the Celtics, and could prove to be their steal of this past draft.

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