We're back with the second installment of Summer League Summary. In case you missed the first part, bang it here. As I was writing this, I realized that the second half of the teams in alphabetical order seemed to have some bigger storylines. Even the casual fan should have had some interest in Trey Burke and also seeing how a bigger Jonas Valanciunas looked for Toronto. It turns out that those two were on complete opposite ends of the performance spectrum.
There were also some relative unknowns that got a lot of attention. As a reminder, chances are that if a guy enters summer league with no street cred, then blows up with some big games, he's still going to be hard pressed to get significant minutes right off the bat with his NBA team. That means the real purpose of monitoring those guys is to have that information in your mental catalog in the event of a significant injury. It'll also be interesting to see if any of these suddenly hot players can keep up the pace in preseason. In other words, am I going to draft Dwight Buycks in a 10-team league? No, of course not. However, the minute Kyle Lowry goes down, Buycks could become a hot free agent considering the massive summer league numbers.
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Grizzlies-Tony Wroten was attacking the rim quite a bit in his six games, but his 25.3 percent was the lowest among the top 125 scorers in Vegas. Add that number to an assists: turnover ratio of 3.8: 3.5, and Wroten had one of the worst summer leagues of all players -- statistically speaking. He’ll need Jerryd Bayless and Mike Conley to miss time to be a factor.
One of the coolest names in the NBA had a decent showing. Vander Blue was quiet in his first four games, but picked it up with 13 and 24 points in his last two. He hit five 3-pointers on July 18 and had some range at Marquette last year, making 1.2 per game. He’s still unlikely to make the NBA in October. Undrafted rookie Jack Cooley was the only player in the Vegas Summer League to average 15.0 points and over 1.0 blocks. He wasn’t dominant or anything, but he may have been the best big man that wasn’t drafted. He’s still probably not going to make the team.
Heat- The champs aren’t going to need much help from their young players, but they did play well and made it to the Summer League semifinals. During the season, Jarvis Varnado made about 200 trips to the D-League and back for Miami and in Vegas he had a strong presence in the paint with 2.5 blocks and 6.7 boards per game. He’s not on worth your time in fantasy, though. James Ennis was dropping in his share of triples as he closed out his summer league with 10 in his last four games. The Long Beach State product made 1.7 per game last season in college while he was able to keep his field goal shooting at 49.1 percent. Of course, Miami kinda has small forward covered.
Bucks- John Henson got himself a first-team distinction from his productive stats of 14.7 points, 13.7 boards and 3.0 blocks on 54.8 percent shooting. He pulled down a beast-like 5.0 offensive boards per game, too. Henson earned some minutes as a rookie in April, playing 21.1 per game with averages of 9.2 points, 8.9 boards and 1.8 blocks on 50.7 shooting in nine contests. The signing of Zaza Pachulia does put a little dent in Henson’s chances of a breakout, so it’ll be tough to target him in a standard league.
Timberwolves- Shabazz Muhammad was sporting some sweet all-white Jordan 11s in some of his action, but that might have been the highlight of his week. Hit converted just 36.5 of his field goal attempts and his overall averages were underwhelming at 8.5 points, 2.2 boards, 0.8 dimes, 0.0 steals, 0.2 blocks and 2.2 turnovers. Muhammad famously accounted for just 27 dimes in his last year in college -- good for one assist every 36.5 minutes of action. He doesn’t have any sort of Roto game and there’s very little reason to target him.
Pelicans- Austin Rivers might have been a lottery pick more on his name than his game. He really didn’t look like a guy that played 23.2 minutes per game last season during his summer league stint. Rivers did shoot the ball well at 48.6 percent from the field, but I was really discouraged with his lack of finishing around the rim. Last year, he shot 48.9 percent at the rim, which is well below the league average of 64.7 percent. The Pelicans have a ton of point guards and Rivers won’t be able to muster up enough fantasy value on scoring alone.
Speaking of Pelican point guards, Brian Roberts looked good in Vegas. He kept his turnovers down and averaged 14.2 points per game. Even though Jrue Holiday was a nightmare in the second half, Jrue isn’t going to relinquish his minutes with his new team. If he goes down, though, Roberts will be a must-add player.
Knicks- Tim Hardaway Jr. was a bit of a gym rat this week. He was sitting courtside with his dad on days in which he wasn’t playing and he wore a pretty sweet Sonics Mitchell & Ness hat, but I digress. His stats weren’t really there and his peripheral stats at Michigan do not suggest he’ll be worth picking up. Jeremy Tyler was probably the most impressive Knick in summer league. He really showed some serious athleticism and had much better low-post game than what we've seen out of him in Atlanta and Golden State. He's going to get a camp invite, but set your expectations low.
Thunder- The Thunder cruised in Orlando for a championship thanks to Jeremy Lamb and Reggie Jackson. Last season, Jackson went from Russell Westbrook’s understudy to a player that proved he’s worthy of being in the NBA in the postseason. So much so that Jackson figures to be the favorite for a sixth-man role. He led the Orlando Summer League in scoring and helped himself quite a bit in the process. Don’t forget about Jackson as draft season approaches.
Jeremy Lamb wasn’t too shabby either, but Jackson playing so well makes the point a bit moot. Lamb ranked third in scoring thanks to a 32-point explosion on July 10 and he showed a variety of ways to score in most of his action. Don’t let the depth chart fool you with Lamb as a shooting guard and Jackson behind the usually indestructible Westbrook, Jackson is the guy you’ll want to target unless something changes.
Magic- Victor Oladipo came to play in his new home town of Orlando. The Magic still don’t know if he’s a one or a two, but it’s abundantly clear that the kid can be productive at either spot. He stole the show with his 3.0 steals while contributing 19.0 points, 4.3 boards, 5.0 assists and 1.8 triples. His stats last year at Indiana can make a diehard fantasy owner salivate: 13.6 points, 6.3 boards, 2.1 assists, 0.8 blocks, 2.2 steals and 0.8 triples on 59.9 percent from the field and 74.6 percent from the charity stripe. There’s going to be a high demand for him in drafts for his name and because everyone loves rookies, so we’ll need to see what his ADP looks like in a couple months.
Andrew Nicholson was expected to develop a 3-point shot, but yeah, that didn’t happen. He took just one attempt. Nicholson was basically booted out of the rotation with the emergence of Tobias Harris and won’t be worth drafting. Speaking of Harris, he suffered a minor knee injury and didn’t play in summer league. He’s fine and is probably already over the injury entirely.
It was business as usual for Moe Harkless. He played 32.0 minutes per game in four outings, averaging 13.0 points, 5.5 boards, 2.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.8 blocks. He’s always been one of my favorite players, primarily due to his propensity for getting shots at the rim. Last season, 55.1 percent of his shot attempts came from within three feet. Considering that high number, his field goal shooting does need a bit of work at 46.1 percent, but that’s because he gets blocked a lot and made just 23.5 percent of his jumpers. He should be better and from the looks of summer league, he's been working on his shot. The Magic are a little crowded, so it’s going to be tough to target anyone outside of Nikola Vucevic. On the other hand, there are some big breakout candidates.
Sixers – The knock on Michael Carter-Williams is that he can’t shoot and that notion was supported in summer league. MCW shot 27.1 percent points on his way to averages of 13.6 points, 4.2 boards, 6.8 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.4 blocks and 0.5 triples. What’s more, his 4.8 turnovers per game were alarmingly high. Bad news aside, there’s a huge opportunity for the Syracuse product. He’s going to be an early pick and I wouldn’t have a problem with reaching a bit to nab him.
Arnett Moultrie isn’t a household name and we didn’t write any game recap blurbs on him until his 12-minute game on February 4. Conversely, the buzz has been building on him and there’s some belief that Doug Collins just wouldn’t give him a break. He made 40 of his last 60 shots to finish up his regular season. He could be a deep-league special with Nerlens Noel rehabbing his ACL tear and possibly being out until January.