Suns- Markieff Morris was the better Morris and led the Suns to the finals of Vegas Summer League. He had stat-stuffing averages of 13.6 points, 6.4 boards, 1.1 steals, 1.1 blocks and 0.6 treys. Morris did pick it up in April to close out the season, scoring 11.8 points with 6.9 boards, 1.5 blocks, 1.4 steals and 1.6 triples on stellar shooting of 46 percent from the field, 92 percent from the line and 65 percent from downtown. If he can get to 26 minutes per game, he’ll be a must-start player.
His brother from the same mother wasn’t too shabby, shooting 47.2 percent from the field for 14.3 points with 3.9 boards. Although, unlike his bro, Marcus’ minutes trended down and he’s not really someone worth monitoring at this point.
Archie Goodwin was one of the most impressive rookies in July. I loved seeing him get to the line 32 times over a three-game stretch, and he also hit 57.1 percent of his 3-point attempts as part of an eye-catching 50.0 percent from the field on the whole. The Suns have two great guards in Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe, but there really isn’t much behind them. Kendall Marshall is reportedly on the trade block for peanuts and Shannon Brown is a bit of a lame duck. Goodwin could be the kind of player that can fill it up with his legit range, so just remember his name in the event of a Dragic or Bledsoe injury. By the way, Kendall Marshall wasn't very impressive and Goodwin completely overshadowed him.
Blazers- The Blazers that will be in the rotation were out in force. C.J. McCollum was firing at will in Las Vegas for a league-high 20.2 attempts per game. Terry Stotts and company said they were going to let him loose on Vegas and they held up their end of the bargain. The Lehigh product sure knows how to get his own shot and he did get a lot of separation from the defender on his jumpers. The shots weren’t really falling for him at just 36.6 percent from the field. The Blazers had one of the worst benches ever in the NBA with their league-low 10.1 points per game as a unit, which suggests C.J. Mc could step up as a sixth-man, so keep an eye on him.
Thomas Robinson really took a step forward in Vegas. He was much more focused on his rebounding and it’s probably a good idea to focus more on second-chance points than working in the post and getting his own shot. For what it’s worth, Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic and Zach Randolph all averaged more than 4.2 second-chance points per game last season, so it’s possible to make an impact in a stat like that one. Robinson isn’t even close to that class yet, but he looked in great shape and he was very involved in the transition game for Portland. I wouldn’t draft him in a standard league unless he goes off in the preseason.
Meyers Leonard was actually taking 3-pointers in Vegas. In fact, he took seven in five games, which is the exact total of his attempts from deep in last season. He’s behind Robin Lopez for now, but I wouldn’t be completely surprised to see Leonard outplay Ro-Lo.
Will Barton and Allen Crabbe both made some cases to get minutes. Barton suffered a minor knee injury, but was very aggressive in his two games following the injury with 18.5 points, 8.0 boards, 1.5 steals and 1.0 treys in 35 minutes. Last April, he got a lot of burn with the Blazers extremely banged up, but with the team healthy, there’s no reason to think he’ll hit the 18-minute mark. At 6’6”, Allen Crabbe can shoot a little bit. He pulled down 6.1 boards in his last year at Cal to go with 1.9 triples, so he’s got a little diversity to his game. The Blazers got a nice pick at 31, but he won’t be making a splash in his first year.
Kings- Ben McLemore was one of the biggest names to appear on the court last week, but his performance was uninspiring. If you look at his game without defenders on the floor, he has the look of a sharp-shooting star. He gets a lot of elevation off the ground, has sweet rotation on the ball and really stays on balance. Unfortunately, he really didn’t get a lot of good looks in summer league. It almost looked like some defenders had a good scouting report on him and he really struggled to get open. Hopefully, the Kings can coach him up because his value would be severally limited as just a floor-spacing shooter. He’s got a nice ceiling, but he’ll likely be off the board a little too soon for my liking.
Spurs- Deshaun Thomas was another guy that had the look of a star in a non-star setting. A quick little story: Thomas refused to give the Spurs the number to his cell phone and of course as fate would have it, the team selected him with the 58th pick. Maybe they facebooked him? As for his summer league, he had one really bad game, shooting 1-of-12, so his 41.4 percent from the field is thrown off a bit by that outlier. Thomas was responsible with the ball, turning it over just 1.4 times per game while really showing a litany of ways to score the ball. He’s behind Kawhi Leonard and he’ll probably be up and down with the Spurs and the D-League with Gregg Popovich’s resting of his players.
I really liked what I saw out of Marcus Denmon. He was a bit trigger happy in the last three games with 21 attempts from downtown, but he did make nine of them. He’s D-League bound, though. Aron Baynes is a large man. He’s listed at 6’10” and 260, but he’s kind of a lean 260. He was just overpowering guys in the paint to help him account for 10.5 boards and 1.2 blocks. If Tim Duncan breaks down, he could be worth monitoring.
Raptors- Jonas Valanciunas owned Las Vegas like Sam "Ace" Rothstein. Sure, that’s a little like taking on a team of five-year-old kids for JV, but it’s still impressive. He took home MVP honors for the Las Vegas Summer League and there won’t be any objection here. Valanciunas put everything on display: creative post moves, he wouldn’t budge on D and was in favorable position for rebounds. He has everything you’ll want in a fantasy center with terrific percentages, some blocks and of course the points and boards will be there. Anyone will have a tough time outbidding me on Valanciunas this year.
As far as personal favorites go, Dwight Buycks is my guy and I was blowing up some timelines with my obsession on Twitter. By the way, his name is pronounced “bikes.” He was such a treat to watch and he didn’t seem to care about anything like the Honey Badger. The 6’3” guard was going up for rebounds with the big bodies, he was putting moves on top of moves to get to the basket, had all sorts of nifty finishes around the rim, was hitting fadeaway stepback treys and playing some sticky perimeter D. On top of all that, he led Vegas in both points per game with 23.0 and assists per game at 7.0. The Raptors picked him up after the Marquette product had an encouraging outing in Orlando with the Thunder. He had a 12-assist, two-turnover game to start his Orlando stay and didn’t really cool off much. At the time of the signing, the Raptors were expected to make him their backup point guard, but the acquisition of D.J. Augustin may have changed that outlook. Of course, DJA is far from a stud and Buycks would probably get the first look at point guard should the oft-injured Lowry miss time. There's a small sample size on Buycks, but he looks to be a better facilitator than Augustin. We’ll be tracking him.
Terrence Ross was entertaining in warmups and he was doing some 360 dunks in layup lines. His numbers were solid at 12.6 points, 4.8 boards, 1.4 steals and 0.6 triples. He still had too many errors in his rookie season to be considered as a regular part of Toronto’s rotation.
Quincy Acy is going to move to small forward, which is really another negative to the high-flying Ross. Acy had a confident look about him and he was throwing his weight around in the paint while still taking his fair share of mid-range jumpers. He also took 11 attempts from beyond the arc, making just two of them. There won’t be enough support to draft him in almost any league, though.
Jazz- Ah, Trey Burke. On draft night, our entire Rotoworld team had Burke as the number one fantasy prospect while Bovada had him as the favorite to win Rookie of the Year. He had by far the most disappointing summer league, shooting 24.1 percent on his 54 attempts including 5.3 percent from downtown. Burke had just 4.0 assists to go with his 8.8 points and he really looked undersized. He was able to get around some perimeter defense, but once he got within around 12 feet of the hoop, the D just ate him alive. This will bring his lack of size to the foreground. I’m not ready to completely soften my stance on the Naismith Award winner, but we’ll need to see a positive training camp and preseason out of him to get him back in our good graces.
Alec Burks was on the other end of the spectrum and had a nice couple games. He was hurt in his first game with a mild ankle sprain, so his averages are thrown off a bit. In his last two games, he averaged 16.0 points and was handling the ball alongside Burke. Burks’ jumper still hasn’t come around, but there might be some minutes for him. Furthermore, if Burke struggles, Burks could get some extra ball handling duties. Also, I may have mistyped Burke/Burks about four times in these two paragraphs.
Wizards- Otto Porter strained his hamstring a couple times, so we really didn’t get a good look at him. From what I saw, he played more of an outside-in game and didn’t really battle for short-range shots. He’s got a little bit of everything in his game, so even 26 minutes per game could be enough for him to have value in standard leagues.
Glen Rice Jr. certainly looked like a kid that had a dad in the NBA. He was doing the pop-a-shot 3s in transition and had a noticeable amount of swagger. Rice did rip up the D-League last season, scoring 25.0 points per game with 9.5 boards. He’s got talent, but the Wizards have a player with more talent in Bradley Beal.
Jan Vesely was actually great in Vegas. Like, shockingly great. His shot selection was sublime and he shot 58.1 percent from the field. That said, if he shot 100.4 percent from the field, he still wouldn’t have enough fantasy value.
Well, nothing like ending an NBA Summer League recap quite like finishing with Jan Vesely. I hope you got something out of all this and that your watch list this season will be the biggest you've ever had. Moving forward, the Rotoworld team is working hard in getting our NBA Draft Guide completed. It's going to be loaded with info, so we'll be providing updates on when you can pick it up.