Player of the Day:
Kelly Oubre, Washington: While many of the top draft picks from this year sat out their team’s final game in Las Vegas, Oubre decided to do some major work. From creating space off of the dribble to nailing on the catch and fire, he finished with 30 points on only 14 shots. His long-range stroke was looking silky as well, as he finished 5-7 from deep. This stood out as by far his most efficient game and helped the Wizards finish Summer League 3-3. Overall, Oubre was streaky during the summer, but this final performance has to boost his confidence and give the Wizards brass quite a bit of hope in his future.
Andre Dawkins, Portland: It was not the most efficient game for Dawkins, as his 24 points came on 23 shots. However, for those watching the contest, he was the clear standout, as he nailed a flurry of three-point shots down the stretch that sealed the game for the Trail Blazers. Someone had to step up for the injured Allen Crabbe and Dawkins answered the call. Luis Montero was flashy and at times quite exciting, but Dawkins clearly has a role as a catch-and-shoot specialist, nailing 6-14 from downtown to give the Blazers a 72-64 win to end the summer.
Lucas Nogueira, Toronto: After posting his Summer League high in scoring, Bebe ended with his Summer League low in a loss to the Trail Blazers. He finished with only 4 points to go with 7 rebounds and 5 turnovers in 23 minutes. He clearly has the physical tools to be an effective center and does give a good effort. The problem is, his feel for the game is not always there and he can go through mental lapses where he loses his assignment on defense. His post game is also in its very early stages and most of his baskets come on put backs and cuts at this point. It was an up and down summer for him, with it still appearing that it will take time before he is seen as a viable back-up in Toronto.
D'Angelo Russell, LA Lakers: It took the last game of the summer for D’Angelo Russell to break out and hit the 20 point plateau and it was a really exciting performance for Lakers fans. Most of his points came on midrange jump shots, as he took what the defense gave him in trying to keep his team in the game. Even though they came up short, D’Angelo was at his most efficient and showed the capability to kill teams if they give him an opening. It still was a bit concerning that he did not have a FT attempt and he only had 1 assist to 3 turnovers, but he looked confident and much more like the player that people expected to see.
JaKarr Sampson/Vince Hunter, Philadelphia: The 76ers frontcourt was finesse as opposed to the raw power of the Rockets, with David scoring the victory against Goliath. JaKarr Sampson’s play early on really made a difference, as when his shot is falling (4-7 3PT in this one), his ability to get to the basket becomes that much more evident. Hunter’s energy is contagious, as even though he is undersized, he is a jumping jack who has great timing as a rebounder and also attacks the rim fearlessly, as he finished 9-11 FG. The duo finished with 24 and 23 points respectively, while leading the 76ers to a 100-96 victory over Houston.
Oleksiy Pecherov, Denver: This one easily could have gone under “Biggest Surprise”, and with Pecherov that would be fairly literal. The big man from Ukraine was the 18th pick in the 2006 draft, playing 111 games with the Wizards and Minnesota, all before 2010. Given the chance to suit up for the Nuggets last game, he gave a glimpse of why he was so highly regarded. His shooting stroke was feathery, as he finished 3-6 from long distance and 6-6 FT. With 21 points and 8 rebounds in 20 minutes, he had a homerun of a one game performance. His comeback to the NBA is still nowhere near complete and he will obviously have to further prove himself before he sees the court for another regular season game. It was still a nice surprise and something to follow to see if Pecherov can make the full comeback at 29-years of age.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota: Not the greatest ending to the summer for the top pick, as Towns finished with 9 points (2-8 FG, 5-9 FT) and 4 rebounds to go along with 7 fouls in a little over 24 minutes. He still showed a nice running hook and finished Las Vegas with averages of 12.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2 apg and 1.8 bpg in 31.2 mpg. He flashed a great deal of potential, particularly as a passer out of the low post. Once he gets more of an idea of when and how to use his shooting ability to his advantage, he should become a terror of a match-up.
Willie Cauley-Stein, Sacramento: In a game that saw a 27-9 1st quarter in favor of Miami AND a 27-4 3rd quarter in favor of Sacramento, Cauley-Stein had a nice end of the summer in contributing 12 points and 9 rebounds in a 73-68 OT win. He still is pretty limited on offense, though everyone new that. He finished with 3 blocks in this one and you can see the lateral quickness that gives him tremendous versatility as a defender. Have to say that while he may not have been spectacular, he was pretty consistent and gave a solid effort in his first summer go around.
Trey Lyles, Utah: It was a rough summer efficiency wise for Lyles, yet he most definitely saved his best performance for last. He finished with 20 points and 9 rebounds, going 4-7 from 3 while adding a couple nice above the rim finishes. He still spends far too much time on the perimeter and will have to find a balance. It just is not viable to shoot as many mid and long range shots when he has the ball skills and strength to get better looks. This last game was still a nice confidence booster and he helped give the Jazz an 84-78 win. He does have age on his side.
Rashad Vaughn, Milwaukee: The good news was Vaughn finished with 20 points, no turnovers and logged a quintuple single on the stat sheet. The bad news was that he shot 6-19 FG, 2-10 3PT in a 83-76 Bucks loss. Vaughn has proven he can score, with a nice looking shooting stroke and even some ability to create looks at times. The problem is, he was mainly a volume shooter and the Bucks finished the Summer League 1-5. It was not a bad summer by any means, just shows that he still has things to work on before he is an efficient rotation player for the Bucks.
Jerian Grant, New York: One really notices the solid size Grant has a point guard, and he also finished with 6 assists to 2 turnovers in the Knicks victory. He was going up against a physical defender in Jorge Gutierrez, who should not be taken lightly. Grant was consistent and not really rattled, showing the experience he brings to the table. He was seen as one of the most NBA ready draftees and has played up to billing, even if he was much more solid than spectacular.
Tyus Jones, Minnesota: Jones got to match-up against his Duke backcourt mate Quinn Cook, getting the better of the match-up. It was not a flashy performance, with 11 points and 4 assists, with Jones using his smarts to get good angles and finishing some really nice floaters. For a team that had no “true” back-up PG last season, Jones will fill that role. Just hope that he has some back-up when he is put back on his heels defensively.
Montrezl Harrell, Houston: Harrell did his best Kenneth Faried impression while in Vegas, with relentless energy on the boards and big finishes above the rim. He had 5 dunks against the Warriors, with final totals of 24 points and 12 rebounds, 10 of which were offensive. He still rarely makes you pay on the open look outside of 8 feet and took 25 FG attempts in what still ended up being a 100-96 loss. He still was an imposing force and when he has a full head of steam attacking the hoop, there are not too many people that volunteer to get in his way. Harrell managed to have much more of an impact during Summer League than some of the players taken before him in the 2015 draft, which at least has to be a personal victory for where things stand right now.
For those who were not at the Cox Pavilion, on twitter or watching NBATV, LeBron James did indeed make a Summer League appearance to check out his Cavaliers go up against #1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns and the Timberwolves. Wearing a Cleveland Indians jersey with “King James” on the back, he chatted with head coach David Blatt and caused the most Summer League fan excitement outside of a Lakers game.
Since this was a consolation bracket, a number of top picks sat out their teams final game. Jahlil Okafor, Kristaps Porzingis and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson were among those who sat to let others show what they could do in their place. It is unofficial as to whether Porzingis is the 7’3” he is listed, though when you are almost a head taller than the people you are sitting on the bench with, there is no doubt he is quite tall. Also, in homage to Denver Nuggets history, Emmanuel Mudiay was on the bench supporting his team in a throwback Dikembe Mutombo #55 jersey.
Scottie Wilbekin earned a contract with the 76ers for his stellar play this summer. Another thing of note, which college basketball fans will already know, is that JP Tokoto can finish some spectacular aerial maneuvers. His shot is still a work in progress, though most like Tokoto for his potential as a perimeter defender.
He is almost completely below the rim, but Alan Williams brought his high level college efficiency to the Summer League, excelling as an undersized center for the Rockets. Williams is an absolute tank with good hands, a soft touch and a knack for clearing out his area to grab rebounds. His time here was a 180 from his time in Orlando with Charlotte and he finished with 22 points and 21 rebounds (12 offensive!) in his final game in Vegas. He and Montrezl Harrell were definitely among the most fun 4-5 combos in Summer League, however unviable they may be as an NBA duo.
Though he really cooled off during the 2nd half, Miami’s Josh Richardson had a blistering start to the game. He finished with 23 points, 19 of which came in the opening half. Sacramento, at one point down 27, managed to stifle Richardson and the Heat to eventually rally for the 73-68 win in over time. 2011 2nd Round pick DeAndre Liggins led the charge for the Kings with 14 points and gritty defense that made the comeback possible.
The Brooklyn Nets sat their starters during their final game with the D-League Select team. The Select team made the most of this, with Justin Dentmon and Matt Bouldin both chipping in 16 points. For the Nets, Josh Gasser made the most of his extra minutes, 19 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and no turnovers. Gasser’s injury history has to still be somewhat of a concern in landing him any guaranteed money, but he took an opening and ran through it during this last game.
It was a fairly quiet Summer League for Thanasis Antetokounmpo until his coming out party yesterday. He seemed to be all over the floor as he finished with 17 points, on 7-7 FG and 3-4 FT in the Knicks 83-76 win. He is still not much of a threat off of the bounce and his shot is still inconsistent, though he is a big time athlete who provides serious energy along with great length for a perimeter defender.
He really struggled to give the Timberwolves consistent minutes last season, but Lorenzo Brown put together a pretty nice Summer League. He is an improving jump shooter and was able to physically dominate smaller guards at times. He scored 19 points against Cleveland and there was little Keifer Sykes could do to stop him. That being said, Sykes did have an absolutely monster alley-oop finish, much to the delight of the crowd.
There were few Summer League starting line-ups with bigger names than the Lakers, however they left a lot to be desired in terms of efficiency. Julius Randle is very much left hand dominant and while he did hit a few jump shots to keep the defense honest, he really struggles when double-teamed. While Jordan Clarkson can be a blur off of the bounce, his shot selection and awareness in terms of spacing both can use work. There is a lot of time between now and training camp and the young Lakers prospects will need to spend a lot of it fine tuning their craft if they hope to compete this season.
Erick Green was known for scoring in bunches during his final season at Virginia Tech and it seemed he was going to have to do more than that to carve out a role in the NBA. He was a consistent long range scoring threat for the Nuggets and running point during his final game, also finished with 10 assists and 0 turnovers. In fact, Green finished in Vegas with a 10:1 assist to turnover ratio. Much of that was playing off of the ball, just will really help his case come training camp. Even if it probably does not make up for the fact that he and cash were all the Nuggets received in the trade that sent Rudy Gobert to Utah.
Rough end to Summer League for Bruno Caboclo, as his shot was just not falling for him in his final game against Portland. He finished with 12 points on just 2-12 shooting from 3-point range (4-16 FG). His wingspan is absolutely incredible; he is a complete nightmare guarding the inbounds. His feel for the game and ball skills are still very much in their raw stages, but he could be a solid player down the road.
This was the most Luis Montero got to play for Portland and he showed a smooth release on his shot, to go along with some creativity off of the dribble. He still tries to do a bit too much and makes some decisions that would have most professional coaches pulling their hair out. It was still an encouraging final contest for a player Portland seems to have taken a chance on, as he finished with 19 points (6-10 FG, 2-3 3PT, 3-6 FT) with 9 rebounds. He also had 6 turnovers and will have to work on his overall defensive awareness, as it was more about players missing shots as opposed to his being in good defensive position.