By Rick Fois
Player of the Day
TJ Warren: The Suns forward was the best player of this short day of the Summer League with only 6 games slated. Warren didn’t make outside shots but was very effective attacking the basket, using his energy and strength to overcome the 76ers defense. He scored a total of 28 points on 22 shots in the win against the 76ers. TJ also added 11 rebounds, grabbing the ball on the offensive glass through pure will. Today it was definitely his best game so far, and really looked good in the role he will probably play from with Phoenix this season: high energy guy from the bench, brings points, rebounds and defense. He did all this today and most importantly led the Suns to the W.
James Nunnally: It might not come as a surprise for many who saw him play when he was at Santa Barbara or in the D-League. Nunnally has always been a scoring forward who’s really tough to defend. Today he led the Heat on an excellent comeback, though they lost in the end by 2 points. The former Gaucho had 22 points on 9 shots, and hit 4/5 from three point. His shot looked fluid and consistent and when it is one of those days where he alternates his outside shooting with the drives, it is really hard to stop him. He also added 5 rebounds and strong defense at the end to contain a brilliant Glen Rice Jr, who until that moment was making short work of the Heat defense. If he can finish the Summer League the way he played today he might find a place on an NBA roster next year.
Shabazz Napier: I don’t know if it is from the sadness of LeBron James departure or the change in physicality from the college game but for sure today Shabazz didn’t look anything like the player we admired a couple months ago winning the National Championship. He didn’t look comfortable handling the ball on the traps or when the defense was sending him to the baseline on P&R. He did attack the basket on multiple occasions, sometimes he got fouled when attacking the defense. He also couldn’t find his outside shot, finishing 1/8 from 3pts. He ended up with 8 points on just 2/16 from the floor in the loss to the Wizards. He was active in defense and got four steals, but he really struggled offensively to run the team and make his teammates better. He will have better days.
CJ McCollum: We discussed him the other day and how hard it is to be Damian Lilliard’s sub, knowing you have few minutes every night to bring contributions to the team. Today McCollum looked a lot like his young teammate. 28 points, on 6/9 three pointers, he was in control of the pace of the game. He won the duel against Schroder and the game for his Blazers against the Hawks. McCollum didn’t exactly involve his teammates much but was the perfect weapon for his team to keep the Hawks at bay, not only with the shooting but also floaters and quick lay ups. Atlanta tried different defenders on him but couldn’t find an answer.
Doug McDermott: Another great night for “McBuckets” who finished with 20 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists in the Bulls win by over 30 points against the T-Wolves Doug looks more comfortable as the games go by, he makes open shots, is brilliant in running off screens and today capitalized on the defense collapsing on him with some brilliant pocket passes and assists for the team. He also continues to surprise with his defense against opposing SFs. Sure they are not Lebron James but he he’s moving his feet and using his upper body strength to handle contact
Glen Rice Jr. After the first quarter Rice was already at 16 points, more than the Heat combined (14). Rice was showing his entire skill set, draining 3 point shots, playing the one and getting to the rim. He was a killer, as he looked strong and mature. He finished with 24 points as the defense adjusted in the second half on him, but he also collected 7 rebounds and 4 assists. The Wizards seem to be doing a nice job of developing their talent.
Jordan McRae: he was once again the best player for the 76ers and took the entire offense on his shoulder. He finished with 21 points with a couple of nice three pointers. The great thing for Philadelphia is how McRea was able to find those points within their system. At this point one of the major surprises of this year’s Summer League due to his consistency.
Malcolm Thomas: without Rudy Gobert, the king of the Summer League is back with a double double: 14 points, 11 rebounds and the total ownership of the paint. He had 2 blocks and contested many shots, also making some surprisingly brilliant passes from the post. He is still transforming into a 4 and it is actually working pretty well. His last two performances in this summer league were very solid. He seems to perform a lot better when he doesn’t have to share the floor with another big, like today. The Jazz won by 20 against the Nuggets.
Archie Goodwin: Today he pulled off another great performance bringing energy and finding easy basket for the Suns. Goodwin had 15 points against Philly and added very good defense, going hard on the glass, something we hadn’t see before.
Tyler Ennis: He has not been particularly brilliant in the Summer League so far, but today the Suns PG had the ability to impact the game without taking too many shots, only 5, scoring just 4 points. Ennis’ defense was very good and the young Canadian went off with 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. Surely Suns fans expect a little more scoring from their young PG, but playing along with Dragic and Bledsoe maybe have a PG that can do things other than scoring which could be a valuable asset.
Zach LaVine: didn’t shoot particularly well on 5/11 from the floor and just one 3 pointer. Without Shved he had the ball a lot more in his hands and had some brilliant moves showing those flashes that hopefully for the Wolves organization will become the norm in a couple of years. He also added 5 rebounds and 3 assists, but he really had a tough time on defense against the Bulls guards who attacked him and often went by him.
Dante Exum: Another bad game for the Australian talent who is still adjusting to the more physical pro game. Today he had a really nice jumper but too many times he drove to the basket and lost the ball in traffic or the ball was poked from his hands. He got frustrated a little bit today with himself, but it’s all part of his growth.
Adreian Payne: the Hawks big man played okay today with some bright spots, like his activity rebounding, something many questioned, but some real negatives as well with poor shooting %, just 3/10 from the floor and 7 TO.