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2013 NBA Summer League: Weekend at Vegas

NBA Summer League game
NBA Summer League game

Jul 14, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Robert Sacre and Portland Trailblazers center Meyers Leonard vie for the tip off at the start of an NBA Summer League game at the Thomas and Mack Center. Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

As we bid adieu to the Orlando League, we now look toward the Las Vegas Summer League. A lot more teams to cover, bigger venues to play in, more NBA star sightings, more celebrities, and even a certain sports’ network has decided to send a team of reporters and analysts to cover a majority of the 10-day event. So to cover the events of Friday and Saturday’s inaugural games, we will be switching things up. We’re going to change formats and not focus so much on the games themselves, but on the players and draft classes as the wins and losses don’t matter as much as the players’ development.

Rough Start For First Round Picks

The Vegas League finally will introduce the remaining first round picks who have yet to make their debuts this summer. Hopefully, a few of these players will see better days, hopefully soon:

  • Tim Hardaway Jr, the 24th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, seemed to be a steal for the New York Knicks, but in his first game, his shooting was completely off, hitting 4 of 12 from the field and 1 of 6 from beyond the arc.
  • Cody Zeller had a couple of notable plays, but his final line was unspectacular: eight points, five rebounds, two assists, one steal and block, but three turnovers and finished with a plus/minus of minus-six.
  • Otto Porter had a terrible shooting debut, hitting only 3 of 13 from the field. He finished with seven points, six rebounds, and committed two turnovers, but the most alarming stat was that he had two of his shots blocked. Tall guy like that getting his shots blocked?
  • The same hype machine that’s in town this week to cover the Vegas League was caught glamorizing Ben McLemore’s debut, making it look like he was hitting most of his shots, especially from 3-point land. The sad truth is that he went 4-for-23 from the field and hit 1 of 11 from outside. He finished with 11 points and grabbed five rebounds.
  • Dennis Schroeder, the supposed point guard of the future for the Atlanta Hawks played the most minutes for his team, but shot a poor 2 of 8 from the field and finished with only six points, two rebounds, but to his credit, he dropped seven dimes against only two turnovers.
  • Shabazz Muhammad scored seven points and lost the ball three times in his first game.

They have a lot to work on for the next game.

Other Rookie Introductions

  • While the Sacramento Kings saw their prized rookie struggle in his first game, at least Ray McCallum was able to muster up a solid game for himself. Despite shooting 3 of 11 from the field, he finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks.
  • The other Hawks’ first rounder, Lucas Nogueira, had a solid start to his career: 10 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and one block and steal each.
  • Teammate, and second round selection, Mike Muscala also had a decent pro start: 11 points, six rebounds, but three turnovers.
  • L.A. Clippers’ rookie, Reggie Bullock had 18 points (8 of 15 shooting), three rebounds and blocks, while adding one steal.
  • Carrick Felix, a second round pick for the Cleveland Cavaliers, brought his hard hat, scoring 14 points, six rebounds, one steal, and two blocks.
  • San Antonio Spurs’ second round selection, and all-around good guy, DeShaun Thomas, had a fantastic first game, scoring 18 points (7 of 13 from the field), three rebounds, one assist, two steals, but two turnoveres.
  • Unfortunately for Glen Rice Jr., he did not channel his father’s NBA success in his first game, scoring eight points (3-for-12 from the field, including 2-for-7 from 3-point land), but did grab seven rebounds.
  • Archie Goodwin out of Kentucky had a nice game: 13 points (4 of 8 from the field, 4 of 6 from the free-throw line), three rebounds, but two turnovers and had two of shots blocked.
  • Probably the best game among rookies was C.J. McCollum as he finished the game with 22 points (9 of 19 from the field, 2-for-5 from behind the 3-point line), three rebounds, four assists, one steal and block each, but he did have four turnovers and two of his shots were blocked.

Last Year’s Class is Shining

Not to be upstaged by this Freshman class, the Sophomores showed what one year of experience can do to one’s game:

  •  Austin Rivers came up huge scoring 24 points as he had his jump shot working and was aggressively looking to get to the line in his first contest. He added seven boards, six assists, one steal, and we’ll even forgive the two turnovers.
  • John Jenkins of the Hawks also had a great game: 24 points (11 of 23 shooting), six rebounds, three assists (cancelled out by three turnovers).
  • Doing a lot better than Cody, Tyler Zeller shot 6 of 10 from the field, scoring 15 points, seven rebounds, and even had a blocked shot.
  • Draymond Green had an uneven start to his Summer League. On the one hand, he did score 15 points, grabbed four rebounds, two blocks, four steals, while making 14 trips to the foul line, hitting 12. Conversely, he was 1 of 9 from the field and committed six turnovers.
  • Jae Crowder scored 16 points (7 of 16, but only 1 of 6 from beyond the arc), eight rebounds, two assists, but three turnovers.
  • Despite the Chicago Bulls’ struggles with injuries, Marquis Teague still couldn’t find his way onto the court. He is hoping to change his coaches view of him as he looked great in his first game as he used plenty of dribble-penetration to create plays for himself and others. He finished with 12 points, five rebounds, seven assists, and just one turnover, but was 4 of 13 from the field and even had two of his shots blocked.
  • Memphis Grizzlies’ guard, Tony Wroten out of Washington, was a bright spot for the team: 17 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals, but four turnovers.
  • Will Barton of the Portland Trail Blazers had an awful shooting night, but still managed to score 13 points (5-for-17 from the field), three boards, two assists and steals, and one block.
  • Probably the best game so far was the Milwaukee Bucks’ John Henson scoring 19 points (7-for-10 from the field), 13 rebounds, one steal, three blocks, three turnovers, and finished with a plus/minus  of plus-18.

Even though Jonas Valanciunas was drafted in 2011, he technically was a rookie last season. So he creates a nice bridge between draft classes. JV shot 8-for-10 from the field, hit 7 of 9 free throws, grabbed seven rebounds, but committed five turnovers.

Class of 2011 Notables

  • I like talking to New York Knicks’ fans because they seem to be perpetually optimistic about the Knicks being legit title contenders solely based on the fact that the team is located in New York. And most love Iman Shumpert. So how did he show off his experience to these young bucks? He committed four turnovers, and had a team-worst, plus/minus -17. So much for that defensive ability.
  • Jeremy Tyler, best known for skipping college and playing his pro career in Japan, got himself a double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds).
  • Long-term project, Bismack Biyombo, whose scouting report described him as a player that “couldn’t score,” chipped in three points for the Charlotte Bobcats, but was able to contribute 11 rebounds, two blocks, one steal, and commit four turnovers.
  • Spurs’ 2011 selection, Cory Joseph, scored 19 points on 7 of 14 from the field, five rebounds, five assists, four turnovers, and one steal.
  • Chris Singleton reminded Washington Wizards’ fans that there are other players on this team besides Porter and Rice, scoring 13 points, four boards, two blocks, but two turnovers.
  • Another Bulls’ player, Andrew Goudelock makes the list of notables: 26 points (9 of 15 from the field, 3 of 5 from beyond the arc), four rebounds, two assists, two steals, and two turnovers.
  • Phoenix Suns’ twins, Markieff and Marcus Morris combined to score 32 points (with Markieff shooting better from the field, but Marcus hitting 2 of 3 from the 3-point line) and 10 rebounds (with Marcus adding in a block).

Stay tuned to SJN for more NBA Summer League coverage.

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