Let’s just cut to the chase and get right to it. In case you missed it, check out the first edition of Summer League Summary right here.
Dante Exum - He didn’t disappoint in his pro debut on Saturday night. There was an electric feel throughout the arena and he received a standing ovation from Jazz fans when he stepped on the court. The Exum Fest continued throughout the game and Twitter was full of complaints as he was taken out of the lineup. When it was all said and done, his stat line was solid at 10 points, three boards, three assists, one turnover and one 3-pointer.
Let’s start with the bad. Exum started at shooting guard and it’s clear he either doesn’t want to or doesn’t know how to play that position. More often than not, the rookie was sitting in corner on offensive plays on the weak side and didn’t really understand spacing on the play side. Double teams were brought to the ball handler because of Exum on a couple plays, but that’s probably just a testament to how much he wants the ball. His left hand was a bit non-existent in his debut, which is fine considering he just turned 19 today. The 76ers also pressed him a lot with double teams. In his post-game interview, he said he wasn’t used to getting that kind of pressure, which makes sense. He’ll get better.
There were a lot of positives. We all heard about his athleticism and that was the main attribute to jump off the court. He gets off the floor quickly for rebounds, has a killer crossover, elevates nicely on his jumpers and his first step is lightning quick. His quickness helped him a lot on defense, especially on the ball. Also, his craftiness in slipping through and around screens was fantastic to watch. I also loved how he ran pick-and-rolls with Rudy Gobert, too.
In his post-game interview, he talked a lot about playing point guard. You probably saw his Foot Locker commercial when he said he was a “point guard” and his disinterest in playing the two-guard may be due to that. For what it's worth, he was a lot better than Trey Burke, posting a +/- of +9 vs. Trey’s -13.
Fantasy owners in re-draft leagues probably will want to take him in either the last two rounds or not at all. Meanwhile, dynasty owners will probably want to roll the dice on him. He’s the total package and just needs to learn and get better with his left. Shouldn’t be long.
Gary Harris - Umm, why did this guy go 19th in the draft again? Harris is potentially the best shooting guard in this class and he looked the part with a 33-point debut. He shot 10-of-17 from the field with six boards, two assists, seven fouls, two steals, four turnovers and five 3-pointers.
The tough part here is that he’s really in a tight spot for minutes. He’ll have to play behind Arron Afflalo and Randy Foye, so he’s really going to have to put his foot on the gas to even get in the rotation. If he keeps it rolling, maybe that changes. His ability to get to the rim certainly makes it possible.
Otto Porter - Ah, so this is the Otto Porter we were supposed to get. In his 28 minutes on Saturday, Porter shot 11-of-16 from the field for 25 points with seven boards, three assists, three turnovers and one 3-pointer. The Wizards were running their offense through him and the official scorers may have even short-changed Otto on a couple dimes. He has a lot of skill at small forward, which is why the Wizards grabbed him at three in the draft last year. However, his injuries were just too much for him and he never got his season on track.
A big story from Saturday night was the Wizards stealing Paul Pierce away from the Nets on a two-year, $11 million deal. You’d think Pierce’s minutes are around 24 this season, so there should be some playing time for Porter. Martell Webster has a back injury and will play some shooting guard behind Bradley Beal, so that leaves potentially 26 minutes for Otto. He’s worth keeping an eye on for his multiple-category production.
T.J. Warren - I love his game. Warren terrorized the Warriors on defense and caused defensive breakdowns throughout the afternoon, finishing with 22 points, four boards, one steal one block and one turnover. He shot 10-of-16 from the field and his shot chart probably looked a lot like Tyreke Evans'.
The bad news is that the Suns re-signed P.J. Tucker, so minutes will be tough to come by for Warren. He’s not on the radar in standards just yet. We’ll keep an eye on him.
Rudy Gobert - Rudy was the man last night. He was much better on offense and he can still be an elite rebounder, grabbing some highly contested boards. He did most of his damage on the offense glass with six O-boards, finishing with 11 points, nine boards, one assist, one steal and two blocks.
The Jazz are going to be a disaster on defense this season. Trey Burke can’t cover guards taller than 6’4” and Rodney Hood looks like a bit of a defensive liability. That means they’ll need some rim protection.
If you saw Enes Kanter last year, you know he’s not capable of doing that. I think Gobert takes away some of Kanter’s minutes this season. Still, you can draft Gobert in standard leagues because of his woeful foul shooting.
Rodney Hood - He had a horrible game, making just 1-of-10 from the deep for nine points, eight boards, one assist and three turnovers. Although, it’s clear he’s going to be a big factor in their offense and was their primary catch-and-shoot guy. He’s a big wing at 6’8” and has a nice-looking stroke. I think he makes an impact this season in fantasy leagues. Plus, no Marvin Williams helps his chances immensely.
Zach LaVine - He was just as fast as he was at UCLA, showcasing a wonderful first step and great leaping ability. The Wolves played him at shooting guard quite a bit and he actually was better in that role than Dante Exum. That is a bit of a clue of how the Wolves may use him. He’ll likely come off the bench and spell both Kevin Martin and Ricky Rubio.
If the Wolves deal Kevin Martin -- they really want to -- LaVine could emerge as a late-round pick in some deeper formats.
Adreian Payne - His shooting line is tough to swallow at 5-of-15 from the field on his way to 12 points, seven boards, one assist and four turnovers. Payne was taking a lot of jumpers and was still able to bang on the glass for the time I saw him out there. He’s a bit buried on the depth chart and would need Paul Millsap or Al Horford to miss time in order to get double-digit minutes in his rookie season.
Thomas Robinson - When he plays against weaker talent, T-Rob looks like star. He scored 19 points with seven boards, one assist, one steal and one block. His rebounding and presence in transition continue to be his best assets and he’s seemed to embrace that as the best part of his game. It would be nice for him to be more well-rounded, but he’ll be a solid backup big with how he’s playing now.
Jordan McRae - He looked great with 20 points, three rebounds, one assist, two steals, two blocks and two 3-pointers. He’ll have a tough time leapfrogging K.J. McDaniels, who sat out with an ankle injury. Just keep an eye on McRae for now.
Tony Snell - He owns summer league and scored 27 points on just 14 shots. The Bulls still have Mike Dunleavy, who is probably a better fit. Interestingly, Snell shot 5-of-7 from deep. If he really becomes a great shooter, that will help his case for minutes.
Justin Holiday - He scored two points on Friday and 29 on Saturday. OK then.
Trey Burke - There wasn’t a player who had a worse summer league than Trey Burke last year. The U of M product shot an unfathomable 24 percent from the field in Orlando, which foreshadowed his 38.0 percent from the field during the regular season.
Burke looked really lost yet again on Saturday night. He had just 11 points, four boards, four assists, three turnovers, one 3-pointer and three turnovers on 4-of-12 shooting in 30 minutes. The Jazz offense was in disarray when he was out there and it has a lot to do with his inability to score. He’s just too small right now and his perimeter game isn’t strong enough. That has made it really tough to even beat guys off the dribble, which probably isn’t even the worst part of his game. Burke shot just 49 percent at the rim and 35 percent on his other in-the-paint shots. Yuck.
I think he’s going to lose his job at some point this year. When the Jazz are 30 games back, it’ll be time to hand over the keys to Exum.
Tyler Ennis - He’s basically like Trey Burke without a left hand. Throughout the game, Ennis was going to his right and it caused him to take some extremely tough shots. He also couldn’t defend, pass or really do anything. The Suns have to be regretting drafting him after getting Isaiah Thomas on the cheap.
Delonte West - He scored four points with one assist, three turnovers and no wet willies.