What we learned as Jackson-Davis debuts in loss to Rockets

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What we learned as Jackson-Davis debuts in loss to Rockets originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The Warriors in the 2022-23 regular season beat the Houston Rockets by 19 points, 15 points and 13 points. The confines clearly weren’t quite as friendly to Golden State at Cox Pavilion on Thursday night.

For the fourth straight time, the Warriors were on the wrong end of the scoreboard, and this time in near historic fashion behind a 118-101 loss to the Rockets. Houston fell only two points shy of tying a summer league record for points in a game.

The loss dropped the Warriors to 0-4 in Las Vegas. The Rockets improved to a perfect 4-0

Warriors second-round draft pick Trayce Jackson-Davis gave glimpses of why the front office and coaching staff are high on him in his summer league debut. But Brandin Podziemski was outplayed and Lester Quinones could not find his shot.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ blowout loss.

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TJD’s Debut

Within seconds of Jackson-Davis hitting the court for the first time in a Warriors uniform, he showcased an area of his game that intrigued the Warriors going into the NBA draft. And it wasn’t his scoring, rebounding or defense.

It was his passing. Jackson-Davis out of the post found a cutting Gui Santos for an easy assist that some younger big men might have missed. The 23-year-old had his eyes open, though, and perfectly set Santos up.

Jackson-Davis did show some rust early, missing his first two open attempts around the rim. That rust didn’t last forever and the left-hander found his footing. He finished 6-of-9 shooting for his 14-point performance. Jackson-Davis looks like a solid roller in pick and rolls, and understands space in the paint.

As a senior at Indiana, Jackson-Davis was a double-double machine, and he grabbed seven rebounds in his return to game action.

Crushed From Deep

While the Warriors outrebounded the Rockets by 12, they also turned the ball over 22 times and Houston had 15 steals. The biggest difference, however, might have been the 3-point line.

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That’s where the Rockets flourished and the Warriors floundered.

As the Warriors shot an ugly 28.1 percent (9 of 32) beyond the arc, the Rockets lit up to the tune of a 33-point advantage. They made 20 threes in total, going 20 of 49 from long range, a 40.8-percent clip. The Rockets gave seven people playing time and each drained a 3-pointer.

On the other hand, Warriors coach Jacob Rubin gave time to 11 players and only four made a triple. His backcourt was ice-cold, too. Quinones was 0 of 9 on threes and Podziemski went 2 of 5 but never caught fire shooting the ball.

Over the last two games, those two combined to go 4 of 27 shooting 3-pointers.

Draft Night What-If?

Cam Whitmore kept falling and falling and falling in June’s draft, and the Villanova product still was around when the Warriors were on the clock at No. 19 overall.

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They went with Podziemski, and the Houston Rockets added Whitmore one pick later at No. 20 overall. On Thursday, Whitmore was a plus-14 at halftime and Podziemski was a minus-14.

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Whitmore scored a game-high 26 points, as well as adding eight steals and five rebounds. He was a plus-10 and easily was the best player on the court. Podziemski had 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting, as well as six assists, three rebounds and five turnovers. He was a minus-9.

Through four summer league games, Whitmore now is averaging 19.3 points, which is almost nine more than Podziemski’s 10.5 points per game. Whitmore turned 19 years old only five days ago, and he appears to be another bright piece of the Rockets’ exciting future.

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