Sunday, July 29, 2012

Las Vegas Summer League 2012 Awards

"It's just summer league.", said Geoff Petrie - Sacramento's Kings President of Basketball Operations. This was a couple years back in a brief conversation. His words should never be under-valued. NBA Summer League - while light years better in 2012 than it was in, say, 1988, is still largely made up of players who will NOT sniff an NBA roster. Nevertheless our love for basketball and curiosity for how players we've followed will fare in this organized setting is compelling enough for us to invest a significant amount of time in scouting the games. 

Each year of the Las Vegas Summer League - we do a "stat audit" after the dust has settled to see if what we thought we were seeing with the naked eye - matches what the numbers say. I justify the time and effort by simply wanting to be as informed as possible about all prospects. I continue to be a strong believer in being "data informed". When you can combine, serious observation (with note-taking), data, and a dash of common-sense - you become an educated scout. And sometimes the educated scout disagrees with the "herd". The "herd" in this instance is whatever was said, and repeated on "mass-media" websites such as NBA-TV,,, etc..., ...All you really need to know about what you are about to read is that we are not paid by any team, agent, or media outlet. We watched and took notes on games, and then followed up each day with a report on the most efficient players at each position. The final step of this evaluation was to review notes, and manually punch in the numbers for the 246 players that played at least 40 minutes. ...Our final thoughts - with all things considered are listed below. 

We thought Terrence Jones was terrific. 
Our MVP: Terrence Jones – Houston. …Jones averaged 18 points and eight rebounds on 50% FG, 76% FT, and 33% 3-pt. The Rockets were 4-1.  Jones’ efficiency was a ridiculously good .778 in five games. He started just two of the games.  He had more assists than turnovers, and finished third in points per minute, and fifth in rebounds per minute. 

Our First Team All Las Vegas Summer League:

PG: Josh Selby – Memphis. …Selby posted the highest efficiency rating (for those who played over 78 minutes) of the LVSL. He was officially named co-MVP (with Damian Lillard). Selby averaged 24 points per game on 55% FG, 89% FT. He made 27 threes on 64% 3-pt fg. I have a rule (for summer league or ANY league) that I can not choose a league most valuable player from a team with a losing record. Memphis went 2-3. 

SG: Damian Lillard – Portland. …Lillard averaged 26.5 points per game! He also had 5.3 assists, and four rebounds each contest. He showed the ability to play with a "pro's pace". He hit difficult shots with both hands while showing he understands how to run a team, and manage the clock. 

SF:  Adam Morrison – Clippers. …Morrison scored 20 points per game while snaring five rebounds each contest. He shot well: 55% FG, 61% 3-pt., 78% FT.  
PF: Malcolm Thomas – Bulls. …Thomas was a rebounding machine in Vegas. He averaged 12.4 boards to go with 11.4 points per game.  He shot 53% FG, and 78% FT.

C:  Donatas Motiejunas – Houston.  …Motiejunas scored 16 points and grabbed 7.8 rebounds per game. He shot 62% FG. The Rockets were 4-1.

Our Second Team All Las Vegas Summer League

PG: Dionte Christmas – Boston. …Christmas averaged 12 points, six rebounds, and four assists. His assist-to-turnover ratio was better than 3-to-1.  

Harris played smartly
SG: Terrel Harris – Miami. …Harris played ball at a high level in Las Vegas. He scored 15.5 ppg, and he was a thief – with 3.5 steals per game.  His assist-to-turnover ratio was over 4-to-1. He hit 17-19 free throws (89%). 

SF: Jordan Hamilton – Denver.  …Hamilton averaged 19.2 points, and 6.4 rebounds. He displayed playmaking skills with a 1.5-to-1 ast-to-turnover ratio.

PF: Markieff Morris – Phoenix. …Morris was a shade under “20 & 10”. He averaged 19.8 ppg, and 9.8 rpg in five games. He was 26 of 29 from the FT line (89.7%).  

C:  Bernard James – Dallas. James was as advertised defensively. He blocked 2.6 shots per game, and grabbed nine rebounds per game. He scored ten ppg – on 60% FG.  

Top five players per position by efficiency. …78 minutes played minimum.      

Point Guards
Shooting Guards
Small Forwards
Power Forwards
Josh Selby .982
Terrel Harris .686
Terrence Jones .778
Malcolm Thomas .734
Donatas Motiejunas .740
Dionte Christmas .629
Coby Karl .655
Adam Morrison .607
Markieff Morris .712
Bernard James .702
Damian Lillard .626
Jordan Hamilton .579
Jimmy Butler .563
Samardo Samuels .692
Keith Benson .661
Dominique Jones .556
Jeremy Lamb .534
Tobias Harris .557
Ed Davis .650
Tyler Zeller .655
Aaron Miles .554
Kent Bazemore .524
Drew Viney .539
Denzel Bowles .630
John Henson .592

They did well with the minutes they were given. This is a list of the top seven efficiency ratings of those who played between 40-77 minutes.

Akognon: scoring machine!
Josh Akognon – SAC .982 (Akognon was a scoring machine in his 55 minutes. He scored 58 points and averaged 19 a game off the bench.)
Nolan Smith – POR .780
Luke Harangody – CLE .778
Klay Thompson – GSW .763
Talor Battle – LAC .671
Jarrid Famous – MIL .646
Dexter Pittman – MIA .645

They didn’t play wellThis is a list of the five lowest efficiency ratings of guys that played at least 78 minutes…

Marquis Teague – CHI .095
Ramone Moore – CHI .103
Antoine Wright – LAC .148
Darius Johnson-Odom – LAL .152
Chris Smith – NYK .165

Scorers …This a list of the top-eight in points per minute (78 minutes minimum).

Josh Selby – MEM .883 ppm
Damian Lillard – POR .809 ppm
Terrence Jones – HOU .722 ppm
Jeremy Lamb – HOU .685 ppm
Wes Johnson – MIN .683 ppm
Adam Morrison – LAC .667 ppm
Donatas Motiejunas – HOU .663 ppm
Markieff Morris – PHX .647 ppm

Rebounders …This is a list of the top-eight in rebounds per minute (78 minutes minimum).

Malcolm Thomas – CHI .446 rpm
Denzel Bowles – NO .407 rpm
Bernard James – DAL .344 rpm
Ed Davis – TOR .343 rpm
Terrence Jones – HOU .341 rpm
Eric Dawson – SA .333 rpm
Thomas Robinson – SAC .331 rpm
Samardo Samuels – CLE .327 rpm 

Karl was virtually mistake free.
Ball-Handlers / Decision Makers  …This is a list of the top-eight assist-to-turnover ratios (78 minutes minimum)

Coby Karl – MIN 7.5 to 1
Marcus Hubbard – LAC 7 to 1
Kemba Walker – CHA 5.8 to 1
Zoran Dragic – HOU 5 to 1
Terrel Harris – MIA 4.5 to 1
Aaron Miles – MIL 4 to 1
Jordan Taylor – ATL 3.5 to 1
Dionte Christmas – BOS 3.33 to 1

They get to the line! …This is a list of the top-eight in free throw attempts per minute (78 minutes minimum)

Derrick Williams - MIN .389
Ed Davis – TOR .292
Jimmer Fredette – SAC .278
Jimmy Butler – CHI .275
Thomas Robinson – SAC .264
Samardo Samuels – CLE .250
Norris Cole – MIA .242
Bradley Beal – WA .235

Rim Protectors / Defenders …This is a list of the top-eight in blocked shots per minute (78 minutes minimum)

Bernard James – DAL .10
Festus Ezeli – GSW .10
Keith Benson – ATL .09
Henry Sims – CHI .09
Hilton Armstrong – LAC .09
Bismack Biyombo – CHA .09
Kent Bazemore – GSW .09
Mitchell Watt – MEM .08

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day ten - Las Vegas Summer League

Mike Harris should be in the NBA
The most efficient player (that played 20 minutes or more) in the final day of the 2012 NBA Las Vegas Summer League, was Matt Janning. The 6'4" guard had 16 points, with three made three-point shots, and six rebounds in 22 minutes. ...The most efficient player on a winning team was Mike Harris who scored 22 points, grabbed 12 boards, and dished three assists. Readers of this space know that we have long been a believer that Harris should be a rotation player on a NBA roster. He is always efficient. Now 29 years-old, the 2009-10 NBA D-League MVP has no deal heading into 2012-13 NBA training camps. Here is a link to a recent story about Harris.  Harris finished his NCAA career as the all-time leader in scoring and rebounding at Rice University. 

Our All NBA Summer League team for day ten in Vegas: PG: Talor Battle .913, Kammron Taylor .772. SG: Matt Janning, Doron Lamb .636, Antoine Wright .629. SF: Adam Morrison .931, Tobias Harris .857. PF: Mike Harris .965, Stephen Lasme .714, Deon Thompson .666. C: John Henson .666, Hilton Armstrong .600. 

Day nine - Las Vegas Summer League

Thomas' Saturday was beyond impressive. 
Malcolm Thomas had one of the best individual performances of the 2012 NBA Las Vegas Summer League, Saturday. The former San Diego State standout had 21 points (9-11 FG), 16 rebounds, and four assists  - all the while demonstrating his ability to get off the floor more quickly than his opponents. Thomas' efficiency rating for his 31 minutes of playing time was a truly incredible 1.25! His summer Bulls were winners over the Clippers 77-74. 

Our All-NBA Las Vegas Summer League Team for day nine: PG: Mardy Collins .740, Dionte Christmas .727, SG: Josh Selby .933, LaMarcus Reed III .826. SF: Wes Johnson .823, Jimmy Butler .764, Craig Brackins .750. PF: Malcolm Thomas 1.25, Deon Thompson .913, Markieff Morris .805. C: Bernard James .760, John Henson .675. 

Day eight Las Vegas Summer League

Harris was every bit as good as Selby Friday.
Part of the reason we do this analysis of each day of the 2012 NBA Las Vegas Summer League is to give exposure to players that played well but maybe were not highlighted by the mass media outlets. A prime example occurred Friday July 20th when the Miami Heat win was not among those televised by NBA-TV. By pure science (numbers), Terrel Harris' stellar game Friday was actually better than Josh Selby's. Both were incredible but only Selby was hyped - with his game among the four (of seven) that were televised. Harris scored 25 points on 8-10 FG, and a perfect 7-7 FT. He added five rebounds, and three steals for good measure in 30 minutes of playing time. That stat-line narrowly edged Selby's 32 point game (7-11 FG),  for the most efficient of the day. ...Also having an efficiently "perfect" day was Chris Daniels from the D-League Select team. In their win over Phoenix, Daniels poured in 20 points, with eight boards, and three blocked shots. He did so - off the bench in just 25 minutes. 

Our All Las Vegas Summer League team for day eight: PG: Cedric Jackson .863, Mardy Collins .807., SG: Terrel Harris 1.100, Josh Selby 1.030., Andre Emmett .960, Will Barton .870. SF: Luke Babbitt .760, Quincy Miller .608. PF: Deon Thompson .875, Malcolm Thomas .821. C: Chris Daniels 1.000, Bernard James .739. 

Day seven - Las Vegas Summer League

Karl: most efficient in day seven.
Coby Karl was the lone player to post an efficiency rating over 1.000 in day seven of the 2012 NBA Las Vegas Summer League. Karl went crazy from beyond the arc - hitting six of his seven three-point shots on the way to 18 points, four rebounds, two assists in 22 minutes. Not coincindentally - his team (Minnesota) won 78-65 over the summer Cavaliers. 

Our day-seven All-Las Vegas Summer League Team: PG: Damian Lillard .843, Kemba Walker .735. SG: Coby Karl 1.045, Elijah Millsap .652. SF: Jordan Hamilton .694, Adam Morrison .593. PF: Othello Hunter .800, Chris Wright .785, Samardo Samuels .700. C: Meyers Leonard .846, Bismack Biyombo .826, Tristan Thompson .700.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day six - Las Vegas Summer League

Brown was golden Wednesday.
Bobby Brown was the king of the stage in the play from Wednesday July 18th at the NBA Las Vegas Summer League. The 27 year-old combo-guard nailed 17 points with five rebounds, and six assists in just 20 minutes of playing time in Toronto's victory over the Sacramento Kings summer entry. Brown was the lone player in seven Wednesday games that had an efficiency rating of 1.000 (considered perfect). 

Our All-NBA Vegas Summer League Team for day six: PG: Bobby Brown 1.000, Ben Uzoh .700. SG: Jerome Dyson .904, John Jenkins .733. SF: Adam Morrison .741, Marcus Hubbard .739, Jimmy Butler .684, Tobias Harris .666. PF: Eric Dawson  .633, Mike Scott .615. C: Bernard James .769., Keith Benson .650. 

Day five - Las Vegas Summer League

Shavlik Randolph starred on day five.
He is 28 years-old, one of the oldest summer league players, but Shavlik Randolph proved that his "advanced age" was not a deterrent in the summer Wizards win Tuesday July 17th at the NBA Las Vegas Summer League. Randolph scored 16 points (7-11 FG), and grabbed 15 rebounds in just 21 minutes. The seven foot, power forward / center, was one of two players to post a Tuesday efficiency rating of 1.00 (perfect) or better. Joining Randolph as a star on day five was Memphis' second-year guard Josh Selby. In a losing effort, Selby exploded for 35 points in 32 minutes. 

Our All Las Vegas Summer League Team for day five: PG: Nolan Smith .815, Darius Morris .807. SG: Josh Selby 1.00, Jeremy Lamb .647. SF: Chris Copeland .826, Kawhi Leonard .727. PF: Markieff Morris .969, Terrence Jones .933, Othello Hunter .800. C: Shavlik Randolph 1.14, Donatas Motiejunas .962, Paulo Prestes .869. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day four - Las Vegas Summer League

Day four star, Tyler Zeller.
Cleveland center, Tyler Zeller was the star of stars in action from Monday July 16th at the NBA Las Vegas Summer League. The seven footer from North Carolina scored 19 points, while grabbing sven rebounds, complemented by two steals and two blocked shots. Zeller's efficiency rating was a "perfect" 1.000 for his 25 minutes of playing time. 

Also noteworthy was the complete dereliction of the Los Angeles Lakers summer team. They lost by 50 points to Miami. 

Our day four Las Vegas NBA All-Summer League Team: PG: Norris Cole .920, Bobby Brown .720. SG: Jerry Smith .846, Jimmer Fredette .821. SF: Drew Viney .913, Royce White .814. Tobias Harris .720. PF: Samardo Samuels .857, Terrence Jones .727, Jarrid Famous .727. C: Tyler Zeller 1.000, Donatas Motiejunas .800. 

Day three - Las Vegas Summer League

Markieff was the best in day
Markieff Morris was the most efficient player (that played at least 20 minutes) in the, Sunday July 15th, Las Vegas NBA Summer league action. The Suns big-man posted a .785 efficiency rating, scoring 21 points while grabbing nine rebounds and blocking two shots in just 28 minutes. The Phoenix summer squad smushed the Knicks by 25 points. Andre Emmett also deserves a shout for his play in the D-League Select team's victory over the summer Wizards. Emmett, a star for the Reno Bighorns in 2011-12, scored 17 points while dishing four assists.

Our All-Summer league Team for day three: PG: Diante Garrett .769, Cory Joseph .677. SG: Andre Emmett .739, Dominique Jones .676, Jordan Hamilton .629. SF: Marcus Landry .650, Luke Babbitt .643. PF: Markieff Morris .785, Eric Dawson .766, Ed Davis .629. C: Keith Benson .666, Bernard James .633.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Day two. Las Vegas Summer League

Tony Wroten wrecked shop in day two.
Tony Wroten and Josh Akognon were the standout performers in Day two of the 2012 NBA Las Vegas Summer League. Both posted efficiency ratings above 1.000 for the day. Wroten scored 19 points, with eight rebounds, six assists, and two steals in the Summer Grizzlies win over the Knicks. Meanwhile, Akognon came off the Sacramento bench to score 25 points on 10-16 FG. 

Our day two,All Vegas Summer League Team: PG: Tony Wroten 1.04, Charles Jenkins .709. SG: Josh Akognon 1.04, Josh Selby .680, Jeremy Lamb .558, Matt Janning .533. SF: Tony Mitchell .600, Draymond Green .500. PF: Terrence Jones .809, Jan Vesely .619. C: Festus Ezeli .695, Robert Sacre .484.

Day one - Las Vegas Summer League

Racing duties delayed us one week from tracking the daily efficiency of players in the NBA Las Vegas Summer League. We will attempt to catch up by looking back.  

Klay was the best on
Friday the 13th. 
The 2012 LVSL started last Friday, July 13th. Three players played games with efficiency "better than perfect" - which is any rating over 1.000. Topping the charts was Golden State guard Klay Thompson who went nutso with 24 points (9-13 FG, six threes), six rebounds, and four assists in just 23 minutes. The Summer Warriors throttled the Lakers entry 90-50. ...In the Rockets win - Donatas Motiejunas scored 25 points (11-13 FG), and grabbed nine boards in his 25 minutes. ...Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the second overall pick in the 2012 draft showed his multidimensional game in Charlotte's victory over Sacramento. "MKG" had 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and four steals in 22 minutes. 

Our All-Summer League Team for Day One (efficiency rating for the day follows each name): PG: Kemba Walker .772, Brad Wanamaker .652. SG: Klay Thompson 1.34, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 1.09, John Jenkins .840, Jeremy Lamb .653. SF: Harrison Barnes .760, Chandler Parsons .692. PF: Terrence Jones .800, Chris Singleton .709. C: Donatas Motiejunas 1.28, Ed Davis .875. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Rebooting the 2007 NBA Draft

Durant should have gone first. 
It continues to amaze me that the major media outlets insist their NBA writers give grades to teams the day - or week after the NBA Draft. It is just ridiculous. In the name of what is right - please stop it. 

What we have done each year instead is to review the draft that happened five years ago. By now you can give grades (if you want to. I don't.) and come up with a data-driven, common sense, idea of what the order should have actually been. But even five years later - it is not easy. 

Players are STILL evolving. If you judged Brandan Wright, even after his first four seasons in the NBA at Golden State, and in New Jersey - you would not rate him where you might rate him today after an efficient, healthy, productive season in Dallas. Clearly, Wright is ascending. The same can be said for Tiago Splitter, who by efficiency (per minute) ranked eighth at Center in 2011-12. 

The 2007 NBA Draft has produced three All-Stars to date. Without question - if we re-drafted today, the number one pick would be Kevin Durant (2) * we will put in parenthesis the number where the player was actually selected in 2007. There was a healthy debate at the time about whether or not Greg Oden or Durant should go first. It seems doubtful that Nostradamus could have foreseen all of Oden's injury problems. Five years later - Oden is a free agent trying to come back from multiple surgeries. In hindsight, the second pick should have probably been Al Horford (3). Although Marc Gasol has been an All-Star, we will give the third choice nod to Joakim Noah (9). Pau's "little" brother Marc goes fourth in this re-do. In hindsight - the Marc Gasol pick, 48th overall, in the second round - was the "steal of the draft". 

The order is certainly debatable. I had a hard time deciphering the differences in potential vs. accomplishment for selections five through 13. Keeping in mind that this draft reboot is as if we are drafting today - with the unknown future still ahead, I would gamble a bit on Splitter (28) as my fifth pick. With the same rationale, that I'm sure has many of you readers thinking I am nuts, I would reach for Wright (8) sixth.  

Spencer Hawes (10) would be the seventh pick, followed by Jared Dudley (22), Aaron Afflalo (27), Mike Conley (4), Rodney Stuckey (15), Wilson Chandler (23) and Ramon Sessions (56). The last pick of the lottery in the 2007 re-do is Thaddeus Young (12). 

Depending on who is drafting - the order would likely find Nick Young higher than 15th - but that is where he falls in this re-draft. Carl Landry (31) goes next. Corey Brewer appears to be improving still after a slow start to his NBA career. He was the seventh selection in 2007 on the heels of winning back-to-back NCAA titles. Looking in the rear-view mirror, he should have probably fallen ten spots further to 17th. 

Jason Smith (20), Rudy Fernandez (24), and Aaron Brooks (26) complete the top-20 in our re-draft. This is the time where even with all his injuries, Greg Oden would come off the board. He is the 21st pick in this re-draft on the slim hopes that he can one day return to the NBA and contribute. 

We are into thin-ice and marginal guys now. Coaches love Dominic McGuire (47) so we will swing for him 22nd, followed by Marco Belinelli (18), Josh McRoberts (37), "Big Baby" Glen Davis (35), Daequan Cook (21), and Yi Jianlian (6). 

Jeff Green (5) who sat out last season with heart issues will go 28th in this re-do. Aaron Gray (49) is the next to-last first round pick, and we close it out with Al Thornton 30th. Thornton is till trying to find his way in the league. He is proof that even the most hyper-athletic players, on the wing, can and will struggle if they do not have a reliable jump-shot. 

Sean Williams, and Julian Wright are both still battling to find a stable home in the NBA. They would be the first two-picks of the second round, and after that - there is a wasteland. The highest drafted player in 2007 that was not picked in our re-do was Acie Law. He was picked eleventh. Four other guys in the 2007 first round that were not chosen in the re-draft are: Javaris Crittenton, Morris Almond, Alondo Tucker, and Petteri Koponen.