Connect with us

NBA

2013 NBA Summer League: Las Vegas League Player Overload

Miami Heat forward Damion James
Miami Heat forward Damion James

Jul 18, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Miami Heat forward Damion James leaps to score between Bulls forward Malcolm Thomas, left, and guard Andy Rautins near the end of the first half of an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavillion. Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

We have been posting player reports on the Las Vegas League portion of the 2013 NBA Summer League. In the last installment, we focused on five more teams and the players who have created buzz by their play and how their teams have utilized them this summer. So without further delay, here are more teams and the players you need to know about this summer. All evaluations are based after four games of play.

MIAMI HEAT: ON CRUISE CONTROL AFTER CHAMPIONSHIP

Probably the most frustrating team to review has been the Heat as they really don’t have any serious prospects on their roster and second round rookie, James Ennis is the only player worth monitoring in this league: 10.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and 2.0 turnovers per game while, as expected, shooting the ball well from the field (46%), but struggling from 3-point land (31%), and the foul line (58%).

SAN ANTONIO SPURS: RELOADING, NOT REBUILDING

On the other hand, the Spurs continue to cultivate and harvest new talent and they get a chance to shine without the overwhelmingly overcast shadows of their big name teammates and head coach (names purposely omitted).

One of those players is second round rookie (and “The Nicest Guy on the Planet“), DeShaun Thomas. He’s shot the rock well, posting shooting slash lines of 43%/38%/89% and leads the Spurs in scoring with 14.0 points and has grabbed 5.3 rebounds per game.

Nando De Colo gets a chance to flourish as he leads the team in minutes per game (31.8). The results are kind of mixed. He’s made 90% of his free throws, but his shooting has been abhorrent with a 34% field goal and 22% 3-point percentage. His averages have been solid, however: 11.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.8 steals, but 3.3 turnovers per game.

Cory Joseph has also had a hard time with his shot, posting a slash line of 39%/27%/71%. He does lead the team in assists with 4.5 per game as well as posting 10.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, but 3.3 turnovers per game.

DALLAS MAVERICKS: THERE IS A THIRD TEAM IN TEXAS

Probably the best known player for the Mavs’ Summer League team is Jae Crowder. He leads the team in field goal and free-throw attempts as well as minutes per game. Though he’s shot well from the field (62%), his 3-point shot has been discouraging (17%), and has not taken advantage of all those trips to the line (62%). Still, he’s had a pretty good, all-around showing in this league: 16.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.3 steals, 1.0 blocks, and 3.3 turnovers per game.

Josh Akognon, the 5 foot 11 inch  point guard who went undrafted in the 2009 NBA Draft out of Wichita State, leads the Mavs in scoring with 20.5 points per game while posting an exceptional shooting slash line of 49%/42%/95%.

The player that I was looking most forward on this team was superstar Israeli Super League player Gal Mekel. He has decent size for a point guard and is coming off an MVP season. So far, his skill and talent has streamlined well in this league averaging 10.3 points per game, aided by a 46% field goal and 43%% 3-point percentage. He’s also managed to grab 2.3 rebounds, and leads the team with 5.3 assists per game although he’s committed 3.5 turnovers per game and has shot terribly from the foul line (55%).

NEW YORK KNICKS: THE NBA’S PUNCHLINE

While Knicks’ haters have had a good summer pointing out all of the misfortune this team has endured this summer, their summer team has not done much to reassure fans of their prospects for the upcoming season (sorry Knicks’ fans, as much as you blindly believe in this team, the current roster is not good enough to dethrone the Miami Heat).

C.J. Leslie, an undrafted rookie from N.C. State, has led this team in field goal and free-throw attempts, but has squandered the opportunity at more touches by shooting horrendously from the field (36%) and the line (58%). He’s averaged 8.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, and committed 3.0 turnovers per game.

The reason Leslie has had more opportunities to shoot a lot more is because Tim Hardaway Jr. (Tim’s son, not Penny’s) injured his wrist in the Knicks’ second game. Before the injury, Hardaway was tied for team lead in scoring with 11.0 points per game. He also chipped in 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, but had 2.0 turnovers per game. His shot was also having a hard time falling in, shooting 39% from the field and 25% from behind the arc.

I continue my fascination with the development of Jeremy Tyler, the 2011 draftee who skipped college and played professionally overseas, as he is tied with Hardaway with 11.0 points per game on 53% shooting, but a weak 55% free-throw line. He’s also grabbed 7.3 rebounds, but also 2.3 turnovers per game.

MILWAUKEE BUCKS: BRAND NEW TEAM, BRAND NEW OPPORTUNITIES

With the Bucks’ undergoing, more or less, a facelift, there’s opportunity for more playing time for the upcoming season.

Dominique Jones, a 6-5 first round guard drafted in the 2010 NBA Draft out of South Florida, has gone back-and-forth between the Mavs and D-League. So far, he’s leading the Bucks in shot and free-throw attempts. While he’s taken advantage of his trips to the foul line (89%), he has not taken full advantage of the high volumes of shots, hitting only 38% from the field and 25% from beyond the arc. He has averaged 13.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.3 steals, but 3.8 turnovers per game.

John Henson continues to impress this summer with his play. He’s been averaging a double-double and leads the Bucks in scoring and rebounding, averaging 14.7 and 13.7 per game, respectively. He’s also added 3.0 blocks per game, but could be sloppy with the ball with the increased touches with 5.0 turnovers per game. He’s shot the ball well at 55% from the field, but could use a lot of improvement on the foul line (67%).

PHOENIX SUNS: DOUBLE TROUBLE

Forward Marcus Morris has led the team in field goal attempts, but he’s not taken advantage, posting a poor shooting slash line of 35%/33%/59%. He does average 10.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals, and 2.0 turnovers per game.

Marcus’ twin brother, Markieff Morris is second on the team in shot attempts as he leads the team in scoring with 14.8 points, along with, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 blocks, but 2.0 turnovers per game.

Forward out of TexasP.J. Tucker, a second round selection in the 2006 NBA Draft, has shot the ball well (61% from the field) and has averaged 11.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.8 steals, but 1.3 turnovers.

Final installment of these Las Vegas Summer League player reports will be available soon.

Click to comment

More in NBA