NBA Summer League: Day 5
Player of the Day:
Noah Vonleh, Portland — He is stepping into some big shoes, though size does not seem to be much of an issue for Vonleh. He has the frame of a legit PF and has been asserting himself quite well in his first two Summer League contests with the Blazers. While the Blazers did come up short on Tuesday, Vonleh kept them in the game, finishing with 20 points (6-10 FG, 1-2 3PT, 7-8 FT) and 8 rebounds. He had a couple of monster throw downs and overall has made life much easier for the Blazers since his arrival after Game 1. His rookie year was definitely a struggle, but he still has considerable upside and seems to be a player that fans in Rip City should have some hope for going into this season.
Jarrid Famous, Washington — Famous has been a journeyman pro player since finishing up at South Florida but has been a presence for the Wizards Summer League team. After two consecutive double-doubles coming in losses, he helped Washington to their first win in Vegas with 16 points and 9 rebounds in only 20 minutes of play. He has really shown great effort on the offensive glass, managing to assert his will on games without really having much of the offense run through him. This could be someone the Wizards or someone else give a chance to make the roster come training camp.
Justise Winslow, Miami — After being one of the standouts of Orlando’s Summer League, Winslow is off to a rocky start in Vegas. While he played only 11 minutes, he looked a tad out of control at times, finishing with 5 points on 5 shots and 3 rebounds in a blowout loss to Boston. He is a great energy player who at times has had a rough time finishing at the hoop, as his lack of an intermediate game gives the defense a cushion to adjust. He still seems like a very promising player, with top-notch athleticism to go along with rare strength for a player his age, it just was a bit of a letdown after he looked so poised in Florida.
Maurice Ndour, New York/Scottie Wilbekin, Philadelphia: The Jahlil Okafor/Kristaps Porzingis showdown quietly turned into significant games for a couple of guys fighting for roster spots. Wilbekin finished with 26 points, including three crucial FT’s to send the game in to OT. The reason they were covering his shot so tightly is that he was 6-8 from 3 on the game, bringing a shooting threat the team could desperately use in Summer League. Ndour is an undrafted PF by way of Senegal who played collegiately at Ohio. More of a role player before this game, he was very active in finishing with 23 points and 6 rebounds to eventually put the Knicks over the top in this close 84-81 contest.
Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia: The bigman was a force offensively as usual, finishing with 18 points and 6 rebounds. He may have had the better game than Porzingis, though the Latvian had a crucial block on Okafor down the stretch. Okafor shot 8-18 FG and 2-7 FT, while being blocked 5 times on the game and of course, being forced to sit during crunch time due to his FT woes. Overall he is looking good, though there is still some major room for improvement.
Kristaps Porzingis, New York: He generally will not be going up players as big and strong as Okafor, but Porzingis had a decent showing in his own right. He finished with 9 points to go with 3 rebounds/assists/blocks. While he still needs work on his body, he is not afraid of contact and his shooting stroke has been quite evident. He did finish the game with 7 fouls, including a potentially game costing foul on Scottie Wilbekin that ended up putting the game in OT. It will be a learning experience, but the Knicks seem to have a very high upside prospect to work with at the very least.
Trey Lyles, Utah: Lyles ball skills are great and he had a couple of nice drives to the hoop. Even so, he has a lot of things to work on before getting consistent NBA minutes. He forced up numerous contested shots from long range (0-5 3PT) and was caught out of position for some costly baskets. He always seemed to be more comfortable on the perimeter than with rolling to the basket or going to the post. For a player with his size and skill level, he needs to become more assertive/aggressive closer to the hoop.
Devin Booker, Phoenix: Bouncing back from a very roungh game, Booker did his best work in catch-and-shoot scenarios and has to have one of the nicest strokes of any player entering the league this season. He finished with 18 points and 6 rebounds, he moved quite well without the ball, though was definitely much less effective off of the dribble. He also has great size considering he is still just 18-years old and is a very promising floor stretcher for Phoenix.