Saturday, July 19, 2014

NBA Las Vegas Summer League day seven. Motiejunas the center of attention.

Legit center = Motiejunas.
Donatas Motiejunas was the most efficient player on a winning team during the seventh day of play at the 2014 NBA Las Vegas Summer League. In a wildly entertaining 96-90 victory for Houston over Cleveland, Motiejunas went to work against smaller defenders. He scored 21 points (8-11 FG, 5-7 FT) and grabbed eleven rebounds in 26 minutes. Motiejunas is 23 years old. He was the 20th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. His body has really changed over the years since we first saw him at the 2009 Hoop Summit. He now legitimately looks the part of an NBA BIG at 7'0" 225 lbs.

Most efficient shooting guard on a winning team: Ben McLemore, Kings. ...Ben McLemore surely benefited from being guarded by an opposing backcourt of Shabazz Muhammad, and Brady Heslip, but nevertheless, Mclemore was excellent Thursday. McLemore scored 22 points (7-11 FG, 2-4 3-pt. FG., 6-6 FT), had six boards, and four assists (three turnovers) in 31 minutes. Sacramento beat Minnesota 100-86. McLemore has an athletic advantage over most TWO guards in the NBA. Harnessing that speed, quickness and leaping ability, into a wise decision making shooting guard that achieves, is what the Kings hope to accomplish. On Thurday, McLemore slowed his game down, made more "simple" plays and was rewarded with an efficient game and more importantly, a W.

Most efficient power forward on a winning team: Josh Davis, Charlotte. ...The undrafted rookie from San Diego State has boundless energy. He came off the bench to score 14 points (4-6 FG, 6-10 FT) and haul in 12 rebounds in just 25 minutes. Charlotte beat New Orleans 104-75. Davis' activity and energy stand out in any game he plays in. His shooting is sketchy but his upside is high due to his "nose for the ball". We again re-state that we think Josh Davis should be on all radar screens of NBA teams as a guy worth taking the time to develop.

Most efficient point guard on a winning team: Isaiah Canaan - Houston. ...Canaan put on a show Thursday, high-stepping his way to 28 points (10-16 FG, 4-8 3-pt. FG, 4-4 FT) in 31 minutes. Did he do traditional point guard things? No. But he also only had one turnover (two assists) while scoring at will. Why pass the ball when Cleveland had no rim protector to stop Canaan's drives?

Most efficient small forward on a winning team: Tony Snell - Chicago. ...Snell scored 18 points, grabbed seven rebounds, dimed three assists, and blocked three shots in 33 minutes. He looks much stronger in year two as an NBA player. He has obviously worked hard to gain weight in his upper body. Snell, now 22 years-old, was impressive to me Thursday, showing signs of being more than just a guy who shoots three point shots. His Bulls team beat Philadelphia 79-68.

Seven more stars

Cameron Bairstow - Chicago. ...Bairstow "lived" at the free throw line Thursday. He scored 18 points (3-7 FG, 1-1 3-pt. FG., 11-13 FT), and pulled eight rebounds in 22 minutes.

Jordan McRae - Philadelphia. ...McRae put on a shooting clinic, scoring 25 points (7-8 FG, 1-2 3-pt. FG, 10-10 FT) in 27 minutes.

Brock Motum - Utah. ...Motum came off the Jazz bench to score 14 points (6-8 FG, 2-3 FT) and grab eight rebounds in 22 minutes. The former Washington State star played in Italy last season. Utah lost to San Antonio 86-77.

Bryce Cotton - San Antonio. ...The speedy Cotton scored eleven points (4-6 FG, 1-1 3-pt. FG, 2-2 FT), had five rebounds and three assists in 22 minutes. Cotton went undrafted in 2014 despite starring at Providence.

Rodney Hood - Utah. ...The good Hood showed up Thursday. We say that because his output has varied wildly from game-to-game. Hood was good enough to be our most efficient player on a winning team earlier in the week. He followed that great game with a "negative" efficiency game the next time out. On Thursday, Hood scored 19 points (7-11 FG, 1-3 3-pt. FG., 4-4 FT) and had five boards in 29 minutes.

Shabazz Muhammad - Minnesota. ...Muhammad is a scorer. He tallied 24 points (7-13 FG, 1-1 3-pt. FG, 9-11 FT) in 26 minutes. He REALLY needs to work on paying more attention to detail on defense, and sharing the ball on offense.

Quincy Acy - Sacramento. ...Acy was allowed to play power forward Thursday (due to addition of Alex Oriakhi to team as center), and he rewarded the Kings with a stellar game. Acy scored 15 points (7-11 FG, 1-2 3-pt. FG, 0-0 FT) to go with seven rebounds, and two steals in 28 minutes.

Notes: ...Four players played well enough (on most days) to make our top-12 above, but found themselves just behind the cutoff line: Trevor Releford, Shane Larkin, Ray McCallum, and Jeff Ayres. ...Thursday's games produced five players who played at least 20 minutes but somehow managed to have negative efficiency ratings: DeQuan Jones, Dante Exum, Scott Suggs, Deonte Burton, and Scottie Wilbekin. ...Wilbekin is so active defensively, that we can overlook a bad day on offense but for Utah fans it has to be disturbing that their prized pick, Dante Exum has struggled so badly. He is NOT the supremely special athlete that he was billed as. ESPNU went as far as showing video of Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan as comparisons to Exum's game during the NBA Draft Combine coverage. PLEASE. While we are not writing off Exum after a poor showing in a summer league game, we are saying that our gut is very worried for the Utah franchise that they made a colossal blunder on draft day 2014, selecting the Aussie guard with the 5th pick.


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