- Kyle Anderson
was one of the bigger steals of the draft and landed in a near-perfect spot with the Spurs. Slo Mo didn’t steal the show or anything for the Spurs at Las Vegas with his 8.0 points per game, but he showed his multi-dimensional game with 3.0 boards, 2.0 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.5 blocks, 0.7 triples and just 1.2 turnovers per game. I think we all know it’s going to be a few seasons before we see Anderson put up numbers.
One of the most energetic players at Vegas was Bryce Cotton
. The 6’1” guard was attacking and was all over the floor on both ends. He probably won’t be making the team, but he’ll be fun to watch in the D-League, if you’re into that kind of stuff.
was pretty good for the Spurs. He could have averaged 50 points per game in summer league and we’d still dismiss him because we’ve seen this movie before.
- Bruno! Just about the entire NBA world, myself included, had no idea who Bruno Caboclo
was when he was drafted at 20 last month. General manager Masai Ujiri
reportedly promised Bruno that he was going to draft him and he kept true to his word. Not to sound creepy, but I watched Ujiri from the sidelines and you could see his eyes were glued on Bruno.
He really showed a lot of promise in his first showing. Of course, his 7’7” wingspan headlines his assets, but did have some skill. Caboclo was used as a corner trey guy, in the post and was putting the ball on the floor. The Brazilian probably won’t be given much opportunity off the bat with the Raptors expected to count on Terrence Ross
a bit more and also have James Johnson
in the mix. It’ll likely take a few years.
led the 2013 summer league in scoring and he ranked sixth this time around. He added 4.3 assists and 0.8 steals per game on 46.3 percent from the field. Unfortunately, Buycks has been waived by the Raptors. Sad face.
- The Jazz were probably my favorite team to watch. The obvious attraction was mystery man Dante Exum
. Taking stats out of the equation, it was easy to see why. Exum is a freak. His length gives him the potential to be a plus defender, he beat plenty of guys off the dribble, he gets off the floor extremely quickly for rebounds and on shots/alley-oops, and his stroke isn’t as much of a project as you’d expect.
On paper, the Aussie didn’t wow anyone with his stats at 7.2 points, 2.6 boards, 2.8 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.2 blocks, 3.0 turnovers and 0.6 triples. He was obviously surprised by the size, speed and skill of the NBA-type players, which we all knew was going to be a big huge hurdle for him. Based on some of the reports of his action before summer league, Exum was thrashing his opponents at the rim. That didn’t happen in summer league and the physicality hurt him in his first big appearance.
I love his potential and I really think he has the tools to be a superstar. Exum also said he likes to run the pick-and-roll more than any other play, which should help his chances considering the type of bigs around him. I’d rank him outside the top 10 among rookies in re-draft leagues.
A player I would put in the top 10 would be Rodney Hood
. He has a tremendous basketball IQ and watching him float around the 3-point line was a lot of fun. Perhaps no game was more fun to watch while I was in Vegas than Hood’s 29-point, 11-of-16 shooting effort vs. the Bucks. In the early part of the event, it was almost all catch-and-shoot attempts from Hood, but he really added some diversity to his game as the week went along. He’s 6’8” and was getting plenty of shots closer to the rim with one- and two-dribble drives.
Thankfully, the Jazz let Richard Jefferson
and Marvin Williams
walk. That means, Hood has a great chance to start at small forward. It’s still unclear if new coach Quin Snyder
will want to start Alec Burks
or not, which is huge for how the rotation will play out. If he does bring him off the bench, Hood is probably the favorite to start. Fantasy owners should be keeping an eye on him.
The Jazz had a lot of people nod in approval with their 27th pick of Rudy Gobert
last summer. We all knew he wasn’t going to be ready off the bat with all those arms and legs, but he took a major leap this summer. Gobert ranked first in field goal percentage among players with double-digit total shots at 73.1 percent to go with averages of 11.8 points, 9.8 boards and 2.5 blocks in just 23.8 minutes. The rebounding numbers were probably his biggest area of improvement with his timing on blocks coming in at a close second.
He still has his work cut out for him on offense and a majority of his buckets came right at the rim. That’s OK, though. If he’s going to have a breakout, he’ll have to improve at the charity stripe. I think it’s pretty clear the Jazz are going to use him at center this season, which means it’s time to be bearish on Enes Kanter
. If Gobert starts hot in October, he’ll be a worth a late-round flier, especially in leagues without free throw percentage.
didn’t have a positive showing in summer league yet again. He shot just 24 percent from the field last summer, and just marginally improved to 30.4 percent in 2014 summer league. Burke really can’t shake anyone from the outside and can’t shoot over anyone at basically an even six-feet tall. He’s still not even a great passer with just 4.0 dimes per game, Heck, even Tre Kelley
of the D-League team had more assists per game at 5.2. Burke was the favorite for Rookie of the Year around this time of year in 2013 and he’s probably not even considered in the top 10 of 2013’s weak draft class. If Exum doesn’t take over at the point this season, it’ll likely be next year. No thanks.
had a decent showing and he could make the team as an emergency shooting guard. Clark said he’d like to play point guard, but that’s not going to happen with Burke and Exum ahead of him.
One disappointing item came on Tuesday evening with the Jazz trading away Malcolm Thomas
to the Cavs. He was very good in Vegas and I really think he could have made the team. If/when he gets waived, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Jazz give him a look again.
- Glen Rice Jr.
was named the MVP of Las Vegas Summer League with his event-leading 25.0 points per game. On top of that, he had an effective field goal percentage of 53.6 to go with averages of 7.8 boards, 2.3 assists, 2.5 steals, 0.5 blocks and 2.2 triples. Beast.
It was on, you guys. He was getting to the rim, hitting jumpers and getting clean looks from deep coming off screens and on catch-and-shoot chances. Rice was also very busy and productive in isolation in an effort to get his own shot. He obviously deserved the MVP award.
Rice put up that same 25.0 points per game in the D-League back in 2012-13, but he couldn’t parlay that with anything decent in his rookie season. In his 11 games, he shot just 29.7 percent from the field for 2.9 points, 1.8 boards, 0.6 assists and 0.5 triples. He did get one start, but that didn’t go too well with a 3-of-9 shooting line for seven points in 29 minutes.
Everything clicked for him in six games and we really can’t draw any positive conclusions yet. The Wizards are much more likely to give him minutes this time around with Trevor Ariza
out of town and Martell Webster
likely to miss time with a back injury. Don’t fall for the bait, though. He’s not worth a pick in most leagues.
However, Otto Porter
has a legitimate chance to get minutes in the 20s this upcoming season. He really gained a lot of confidence on the offensive side, especially in the mid-range/jumper department. Porter shot just 23.8 percent on jumpers in his rookie season, which seems like a misprint after his summer league. The Georgetown product did almost all of his work with jumpers, making a total of 48.4 percent from the field on his way to averages of 19.0 points, 5.8 boards, 1.8 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.3 blocks and 1.2 triples in 31.8 minutes.
Moving forward, the Wizards aren’t likely going to be counting on Paul Pierce
for a heavy load. He’s a ball-dominant guy, which isn’t going work because that would require an overhaul of their John Wall
-run O. Secondly, his minutes fell to 33.4 per game in 2012-13 to 28.0 last year, so he could drop to around 26 with the Wizards. Porter will really need to get his catch-and-shoot game at its peak to help his case for minutes. Considering Otto can fill it up almost everywhere based on his sophomore averages of 16.2 points, 7.5 boards, 2.7 dimes, 1.8 steals, 0.9 blocks and 1.4 triples as well as the aforementioned summer-league showing, he’s a possible target late in drafts.
Lastly, I just have to say what a great time I had in Vegas. Obviously, the NBA world getting to know more about the rookies was fantastic, but there were so many other cool things. I actually won some money gambling, enjoyed some great meals, got to spend a night on the town with my girlfriend, and even checked out a concert of one of my favorite groups when Jurassic 5 played at The Cosmopolitan.
The other cool part was just getting to know the other basketball writers. We got together a 5-on-5, full-court pickup game on Sunday night and Tony Jones,
a few others and I ran the table at 5-0. I’ll admit that Chris Haynes
, who played some college ball, can still tear it up and was probably the best players with a media credential. I also really enjoyed talking basketball with Tony, Chris, Jody Genessy
, Mike Trudell
, J. Michael, Michael Lee, Trey Kerby
, J.E. Skeets
, James Herbert
, Holly McKenzie
, Kurt Helin
, Jason Jones
, Sean Cunningham
, James Ham
, Jon Santiago
, Matt Tynan
, Keith Pompey
, Gery Woelfel
, Paul Coro
, Brett Polakoff
, Rick Fox
, Kenny Ducey
, Dane Young
, Kyle McKeown
, Kevin Ding
and Dan Woike.
All those guys (and the one gal) are worthwhile follows on Twitter (links attacked to their names).
Last but not least, I actually got to meet Aaron Bruski
for the first time. He and I have spent literally thousands of hours on the phone and messaging each other, but we never met face to face until Vegas. I can’t even begin to tell you guys how awesome that was, so I’m not going to even try. Bru is the man.
Enjoy the offseason!