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Teamwork Makes Dream Work For Salt Lake City Stars

By Keith Schlosser | June 29, 2020

With the conclusion of the NBA G League season, the Salt Lake City Stars finished the campaign at the top of the Western Conference standings with a 30-12 record. This squad came together very early on, unifying around the common goal that if the team succeeds, individual recognition will follow. Such a notion continued to ring true for many as the season went on. As evidenced by SLC’s season-end record, this talented crop of prospects never wavered from this key mentality.

By The Numbers: From assignees to everyday contributors, the Stars spread the wealth all season long. There’s something to be said about the way everyone bought in to the organization’s system from top to bottom. Individual numbers didn’t rank among the league’s leaders, but there were respectable stats across the board. Two-Way Player Jarrell Brantley was the team’s leading scorer at 18.8 points per game, and he led six scorers who averaged at least 9.7 points per game and appeared in at least 23 contests this season. What’s more, Brantley’s 7.6 rebounds per game also led four players who averaged at least 6 rebounds and played in at least 23 games. The likes of Two-Way Player Justin Wright-Foreman, burly big man Isaac Haas, and assignees Nigel Williams Goss, Miye Oni, and Juwan Morgan were all candidates to leave their fingerprints on a given contest each and every night. These guys hustled their butts off.

Recognizable Honors: As to be expected, the biggest award any or all members of the Stars received was that of a team one. The group came out victorious as champions of the 2019 Winter Showcase, netting the players a lucrative $100,000 prize to share. Assignee Juwan Morgan earned All NBA G League Winter Showcase 1st Team honors after averaging 22 points and 10.5 rebounds in Las Vegas. The Stars’ ascension to becoming Winter Showcase champions was in the midst of a highly impressive thirteen-game winning streak and as such, head coach Martin Schiller was named Coach of the Month for December.

Later in the campaign, Two-Way Players Jarrell Brantley and Justin Wright-Foreman were named to the 2019-20 Midseason All-NBA G League Western Conference Team.

NBA Call-Ups: As a guy who oozed out with instant energy, Juwan Morgan was a fighter on the boards and a constant double-double threat for Salt Lake City. He started off the campaign as though he was shot out a canon, and it didn’t take long for the Jazz to reward him just weeks into the season. As a November Call-Up, he was a full-fledged member of the Jazz organization when he was impressing as an assignee at the Winter Showcase.

Sharpshooter William Howard earned an NBA Call-Up from the Houston Rockets in the form of a Two-Way contract after averaging 13.1 points on 55% from the field and 44% from deep through 15 appearances.

On the flip side, while the Stars were dominating at the Winter Showcase, the Jazz still had their eyes peeled for talent and called up Rayjon Tucker after impressing at the midseason event. He went on to average 20.3 points through three games with the Stars as an assignee.

Organizational Symmetry: As noted, the Jazz utilized the Stars affiliate as a primary way to development their next crop of contributors. Juwan Morgan, Nigel Williams-Goss and Miye Oni all played at least 15 games each with Salt Lake City this past season, all averaging at least 12.5 points, 6 rebounds, and 1.2 steals apiece. The Stars made sure these assignees were given time to shine, while still balancing time and attention for the other prospects as well. Such assignees went through Jazz training camp with G League athletes who were considered affiliate players, giving them ample opportunities to grow bonds and friendships off the court which quickly translated to a successful product on it as well.

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