Updated: Dec 15, 2020
Former Syracuse basketball standout is highly invested in a Jazz practice. (Utah Jazz)
This past weekend seemed to be a great one for Syracuse, as the men's basketball team dismantled Boston College and Elijah Hughes excelled in the NBA preseason. The 2nd round pick for the Utah Jazz, Elijah Hughes, has looked nothing but explosive in his first two preseason games for the 2020-21 season. The 6'6" small forward was talked up as a versatile scorer but lacked ability to defend.
In his first game with Utah on Sunday, Hughes was on fire. While contributing 12 minutes off the bench, the slasher put up 9 points on 4-6 from the field and 1-3 beyond the arc. He also brought down 2 boards and passed for 1 assist. The Jazz would go onto beat the Phoenix Suns 119-105.
On Monday, the Jazz took on the Suns at home to finish up the 2-game series. While once again playing 12 minutes, the former Orange regressed from his first performance. Hughes shot for 8 points on 3-8 from the field and 1-5 from 3, while also bringing in 2 boards. Hughes looks to be unfazed by missing shots, as he seems to be a pure scorer. As one of the many bench players to enter this preseason game, Hughes took the most shots for anyone playing under 15 minutes, and it wasn't fairly close. The Jazz would end up winning 111-92.
Hughes is battling for a roster spot, but as a second round pick, he could see some time in the G League. The Utah Jazz already have 2 prominent small forwards in Bojan Bogdanovic and Joe Ingles, but Hughes is capable of playing the 2. The former Orange is looking to make a statement that he can compete for a recent playoff team, and as a 6'6"shooting guard/small forward, he adds much needed depth and size to a Jazz team that averages about 6'5" in height. This is about average for NBA teams.
The Jazz will travel to Los Angeles to face the Clippers this Thursday. The game is at 10 pm ET, and we hope to see a more diligent outing from #33.