NBA Summer League: Day 9
Player of the Day:
TJ Warren, Phoenix: I’m sure most fans were hoping to see a Doug McDermott vs. TJ Warren showdown here, but unfortunately the Bulls chose to sit Doug for what turned out to be their last game. While it was a close game for a while, Warren went into his bag of tricks to put it out of reach and lead the Suns into the semifinals. He finished with 31 points on an array of floaters, leaners and jumpers. The 2nd year wing is still seen as a tad one-dimensional, though he contributed 6 rebounds as well, 4 of them on the offensive end. The amazing thing with Warren is he has yet to score a single three-point attempt here, yet remains absolutely deadly from just about anywhere inside the line. He has shot over 50% FG in every Summer League game so far and there has yet to be a team that has really found a way to slow him down.
Glenn Robinson III, Atlanta: After a rough performance in the previous game against Denver, Robinson scored 23 points on 12 shots to help Atlanta to a win over Dallas. Atlanta has taken much to the form of their NBA team, with numerous solid performers without having true “star” players. GR3 is a fantastic athlete who got to the basket in this one while also managing to make 3-4 from three. Much like Warren, one would like to see him contribute a bit more in other areas. At this point, he has physical tools and athleticism that merit a gamble, as he fights for a spot on an NBA roster.
Kyle Anderson, San Antonio: He has been one of Vegas’ most consistent performers and led the Spurs charge into the semis with 21 points and 5 rebounds. While his athleticism will never blow you away, he uses his size and change of speed to affect the game. With “positionless” basketball becoming all the rage in the NBA, Anderson is a player who truly brings an all-around skill level that has shown a lot of value for the Spurs this summer. It will be interesting to see if this carries on to more minutes in a crowded rotation, though it very well could in the future.
Justin Anderson, Dallas: Anderson had his second consecutive 23 point outing, ending his time here averaging 17.5 ppg. He also carried over the impressing long range shooting that catapulted him up draft boards, from an athletic defensive utility player, to a potential All-American during his junior season at Virginia. In a game that saw well below average performances from frontcourt mates Dwight Powell and Jeremy Tyler, Anderson kept his composure and gave a valiant effort for Dallas. He has been one of the most mature performers here and seems like a player the Mavericks will really be happy to have in their locker-room.
Bobby Portis, Chicago: Even though the Bulls came up short against the Suns, Bobby Portis clawed tooth and nail during what eventually was his final outing in Summer League. Taking Doug McDermott’s place as the go-to scorer, Portis finished with 25 points on 8-18 FG and 9-9 from the line. He also attacked the glass with reckless abandon, as he finished with 15 rebounds (6 offensive). The Bulls frontcourt is still obviously quite crowded at this point in time, though it seems that they went with the best player available in Portis. With their salary cap situation more than likely requiring them to lose one of their big men in due time, Portis has shown enough ability to soften the blow considerably.
Victor Rudd, New Orleans: The Pelicans just refuse to lose in Vegas as Rudd hammered the nail into the coffin in this one. Shortly after a huge three-pointer by Kevon Looney put the Warriors up 85-84, Rudd knifed through Looney and David Kravish for a monster dunk that put the Pelicans up for good. While this spot could have easily gone to the Warriors Dominique Sutton (who finished with an impressive 23 points and 7 rebounds), Rudd looked to be in good shape and did some crucial things to help the Pelicans to a 5-0 record. Rudd finished with 22 points and 5 rebounds, with a huge boost of energy when the team needed it the most.
Devin Booker, Phoenix: Is it not sort of amazing that the Suns are the only non-playoff team that was in the Summer League quarterfinals? Something to be said for organization’s level of importance. Booker has been a consistent contributor in every game besides the team’s lone loss to the Rockets; putting up 13 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists to help Phoenix further buck the trend. As mentioned in an earlier write-up, he is best in catch-and-shoot scenarios, still struggling when forced to shoot off of the bounce. He also has looked really confident and intensely mature given that he is will not turn 19 until close to the end of October. He should provide the Suns some major help stretching the floor, as they are reaping the benefits of this right now as well.
Terry Rozier, Boston: There was no “Biggest Disappointment” today, as it was hard to be truly disappointed in any quarterfinals performance. If there had been one, it more than likely would have gone to Rozier. He was 1-11 until he made a fantastic jump back three-pointer to tie the game. Though an incredible buzzer-beating floater by Shannon Scott still took some of the wind out of his sails, Rozier still did prove that he could hit some big shots. He did so in the previous game against Portland and while the one here might have been a double dribble, he still managed to make it when it mattered. Still, one would like to see a bit more consistency, as he was a streaky shooter in college and had a couple of games in Vegas that definitely were lacking in efficiency from the field.
RJ Hunter, Boston: Hunter did his best to try and help the Celtics advance, as he put up 22 points and 5 rebounds in 24 minutes off of the bench. Shooting only 31.6% FG in Vegas before this game, his 7-14 in this one helped move that up to 36.5%. Everyone knows that Hunter has some radical range on his jump shot; it will just be about getting open and moving without the ball. This will mean adding weight and be more prepared for the physical play the NBA has to offer. The excuse for his poor percentages his last year at Georgia State was more focus from the defense, but he had better be ready for teams that will have scouting reports telling their guards not to give him any room.
Kevon Looney, Golden State: Starting in place of the go-to player for the Warriors Summer League team, James Michael McAdoo, Looney put up a 13-11 double-double. Rebounding is something that translates and Looney has a great feel for attacking the glass. He still only shot 6-17 for the game and lacks any real go-to moves or the ability to take advantage of his size in the post. He also has not been moving particularly well and it may be that the hip that caused him to drop could be causing him issues. He is a worthwhile gamble for the Warriors, as they will have the ability to take time to work with him, as there are not a lot of players who have his combination of ball skills and length. It just appears that he will need to work on some of that skill development before we really see it at the NBA level.
Jordan Mickey, Boston: While the talk may have centered mostly around the Celtics two first round selections, Mickey was probably the most consistent Celtic rookie in Las Vegas. Finishing with double figure rebound totals in the Celtics previous four contests, he ended the summer with 18 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks in the quarterfinal loss to the Spurs. His final averages were 13.6 ppg, 9.6 rpg and 2.6 bpg in 30 mpg. The two things he did best at LSU were rebound and block shots, both translating here. He also was able to find some success offensively, with his length and energy making up for lack of traditional size at the 4.
Seth Curry was stifled at times during the 1st half, as Aaron Craft gave him next to no room to breathe. As the game progressed, he was able to find ways to score and finished with 24 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists to go along with 4 steals. There has been very little containment of Curry here and he is most definitely in the running to bring home the Summer League MVP. Just when Stephen had a dream season, Seth is having an incredible Summer League that is likely to land him closer to his dream of a spot on a NBA roster.
Former Houston Cougar Jonathan Simmons has really turned some heads out here, including those of the Spurs management, who signed him to a two-year deal. He is a versatile guard who provides great effort, solid athleticism and defensive intensity. He had 19 points to help the Spurs past the Celtics and has averaged 15.4 ppg, 3.2 apg and 1.6 spg in Vegas.
James Young saved his best game for last, as he had 16, 9 and 3 in the buzzer-beating loss to San Antonio. Even so, he only shot 5-14 FG, including 2-7 3PT. With his athleticism and physical attributes, it is a shame that he seems to rely so heavily on his long-range shot. Young shot 27.4% FG and 24.4% 3PT in his five games here, doing little to instill confidence from the Celtics fan base.
The starting wing combo for Atlanta are not the most “traditional” NBA level athletes, yet have been effective and have brought something to both sides of the court. Terran Petteway has a really nice shooting stroke and was really zoned in against Dallas, finishing with 19 points on 8-11 FG (3-6 3PT). His decision-making is still a tad erratic, as he also had 7 TO’s, but he has had a quietly solid Summer League. His running mate for the most part has been Lamar Patterson, who uses some clever footwork and strength to get to the basket, while he also can contribute on the defensive glass and as a distributor. Patterson’s 16 points in the quarterfinals came on only 7 FG attempts, as he also chipped in with 4 rebounds and 5 assists.
While Doug McDermott and Bobby Portis got most of the press for the Bulls, Ramon Galloway and Diante Garrett were both key contributors who really helped them advance this far. Galloway finished the Suns game with 16, 6 and 6, with Garrett adding 11, 4 and 5. Both showed an ability to find the open man, with Galloway providing outside shooting and Garrett able to do some things to penetrate the defense. Not sure either ends up with Chicago, just both were worthy of some acclaim for their time here.
Two other key players for the only remaining undefeated team in Vegas are Larry Drew and Fuquan Edwin. Drew II has the ball on a string for the most part and is averaging a Vegas leading 7.8 apg. His ability to penetrate and kick to Curry has made them an absolutely lethal backcourt combination in this setting. Edwin really runs the floor well, has been nice off of the cut and has even provided the occasional long-range shot. He had 19 points in their win over Golden State and has been giving them some great energy off of the bench.