Tuesday, July 29, 2014

2014 NBA Las Vegas Summer League Stat Audit

NBA Summer League has come a long way! In the mid 1980's, Summer League was made up of pros and amateurs. It was slightly organized; basically pick up games with little, to no, defense. Referees were local guys you would see calling high school games. The exposure level was minimal. Local public access television stations taped a game or two for viewing weeks later, and if an intern was on it, the old-school boxscore would make it's way into the local newspaper.  

Now, 26 of the 30 NBA teams show up in Las Vegas to play highly organized games with deep coaching staffs, refs who are being trained by the likes of Joey Crawford, and ALL the games are broadcast worldwide. An international array of scouts combine in the desert to evaluate players. 

True, Summer League is still largely made up of athletes who will not be on NBA rosters when late October rolls around. 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 observing with the naked eye matches what the numbers say. I justify the time and effort spent 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, NBA.com, ESPN.com, 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 all the numbers for the 239 players who played at least 40 minutes. (See that spreadsheet here

Our findings... 

The player that best combined efficiency with overall production: Donatas Motiejunas - Houston. ...Motiejunas showed that he CAN play center and provide enough offense to impact a game. He has court-sense and vision, and more importantly, he has size. Motiejunas is listed at 7'0" 221. He looks heavier than that to me now that he is carrying what I call "man-weight" ...He averaged 16.8 points (59% FG), and 8.1 rebounds per game. 

Moreland looked like an NBA BIG. 
The most efficient player on the team that won the championship (Sacramento) was Eric Moreland. The undrafted rookie free agent from Oregon State was lively, coming off of the Kings bench to provide instant energy and a defensive presence. Moreland blocked 16 shots in 115 minutes of play to easily lead the Las Vegas Summer League in blocked shots per minute. 

Hoop Obsession All NBA Las Vegas Summer League

First team: Ray McCallum - Kings, Glen Rice Jr. - Wizards, Otto Porter Jr. - Wizards, Josh Davis - Hornets, Donatas Motiejunas - Rockets 

Second team: Isaiah Canaan - Rockets, Tony Snell - Bulls, Austin Daye - Spurs, Quincy Acy - Kings, Gorgui Dieng - Wolves

Third team: Tyler Johnson - Heat, Tim Hardaway Jr. - Knicks, Tyler Honeycutt - Heat, Mike Muscala - Hawks, Bernard James - Mavs. 

Opinion Shifts

While Summer League allows us another look at players, it should always be kept in perspective. The sample size is small. Players are not going through the grind of an 82-game season. The entire Las Vegas competitive period lasts just eleven days. For most teams it was over in eight days. That said, ANY chance to further your "feel" for a player should be welcomed. It is hard to ignore the the shifts in opinion that a scout may have based on intently watching a player play for even as little as 150 minutes. 

So how did OUR opinion shift? Below are thoughts on players and how we changed our mind a bit on certain aspects of their game. 

Ray McCallum certainly gained an "uptick" in my brain. The Sacramento Kings backup point guard had his foot on the throttle and showed that he can be just dynamic enough as a scorer to give himself a chance in the NBA. He will HAVE TO bring that aggressive mentality to the NBA seasons ahead of him to properly complement the rest of his overall game. I never had a question about his ability to be a point guard and run a team. 

DeAndre Liggins was on the verge of being a NBA rotation player I thought (entering Vegas play). Now, I'm not so sure. Liggins is a terrific defender but every player of the floor has to show me enough ability to contribute offensively too. Liggins shot 38% FG in Vegas, and he had more turnovers than assists. ...Perhaps he was fatigued from having just played in Orlando. He did play ten games in 14 days in two cities. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't downgrade him. 

 Porter looked good in Vegas.
Otto Porter Jr. regained the promise he showed as a star at Georgetown. Porter is healthy and he was in shape for the Vegas tournament. It showed in his play. I am back to bullish on Porter. 

Josh Davis of San Diego State is better than I realized. Davis stood out for being active and making plays without having any plays run for him. He should absolutely be in the development plans of an NBA team. 

Tony Snell is bigger, stronger and better than he was as a rookie or as a college player. His growth impressed me. He showed that he can be more than just a stand-still jump shooter. Snell had a 2.33-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in Vegas and more importantly - he put the ball on the deck and earned free throw attempts. 

Tyler Johnson of Fresno State really impressed me. He is more athletic than I realized and his decision making and ability to score looked natural. Johnson is 6'4" 177 lbs. He outplayed Shabazz Napier badly on the Miami team. 

Three more guys who certainly gained traction in my mind: Shane Edwards, Justin Holiday, and Bryce Cotton. ...Edwards seemed to be in the right place at the right time all the time. He played within himself and feasted in transition. Last season, Edwards had a "cup of coffee" with the Cavs. He was waived after one ten-day contract. I think Edwards, at age 27, is a guy who is better than most of the 22 year-old "kids" who are being employed due to their potential. Edwards could probably have a positive impact on an NBA game due to his ability to contribute without having any plays run for him. ...Holiday was brilliant at times, showing that he now possesses enough consistency in his jump shot to warrant a further look. He has always been a high-level defender. He too is a guy that would complement any team that is filled with scorers. ...Cotton displayed the speed and quickness that good NBA guards have. He seemingly could get to any spot he wanted to. 

Defense matters

Aaron Craft was all over the floor!
We are always looking for players who can play defense effectively. Here are the players with the best defensive ratings at each position...

Best DEFRTG Centers: Ognjen Kuzmic 74.7, Rob Loe 82.2, Miles Plumlee 87, Rudy Gobert 87.8, Jordan Henriquez 89.7

Best DEFRTG Power Forwards: Thomas Robinson 80.8, Mitchell Watt 81.6, Anthony Bennett 82.2, Javon McCrea 85.6, Ivan Johnson 86.4 

Best DEFRTG Small Forwards: Rodney Carney 84, Eric Griffin 84.5, Christian Watford 84.9, Andrew Wiggins 86.8, C.J. Fair 88.7

Best DEFRTG Shooting Guards: Orlando Johnson 82.7, Rodney McGruder 85.4, Elijah Millsap 87, Justin Holiday 87.7, Ricky Ledo 89.2

Best DEFRTG Point Guards: Dee Bost - 83.5, Shane Larkin 87.4, Maalik Wayns 87.6, Matthew Dellavedova 88.3, Tim Frazier 89.4

The top five players in blocked shots per minute: Moreland, Travis Hyman - D League Select, Jerome Jordan - Lakers, Justin Hamilton - Miami, and Eric Griffin - Dallas.  

Aaron Craft was such a pest and is so relentless on defense that we truly believe he should be in the NBA specifically for special situations. If the opposing point guard is going off, sick Craft on him. He made the game virtually impossible for Dennis Shroder, one of the quickest young guards in the NBA. Craft's "plus/minus" was +34 in five games. His spirit, spunk, and energy would be welcome at practice every day too. 

The nitty gritty

The most efficient player overall was Justin Hamilton. However he only played 85 minutes. Nevertheless, Hamilton has improved tremendously since his LSU days. I don't see why he couldn't get some minutes in the NBA. 

The top five players in efficiency per-minute (80 mins. minimum): Hamilton, Rudy Gobert - Utah, Bernard James - Dallas, Glen Rice Jr. - Washington, and Keith Benson - Clippers. 

Whiteside has unteachable aspects to his game.
The best scorer per minute was Tim Hardaway Jr. of the Knicks. Hardaway is ultra-aggressive offensively. He scored 114 points (43 %FG, 38% 3-pt. FG, and 82% FT) in 133 minutes in Vegas play. 

The players with the top-five "points per minute" rates: Hardaway Jr., Glen Rice Jr. - Wizards, Jordan McRae - Sixers, T.J. Warren - Suns, Marshon Brooks - Kings. 

The player with the highest "rebounds per minute" rate: Hassan Whiteside - Toronto. ...Whiteside had 30 rebounds in 51 minutes. Yikers! Whiteside played well in China last season. Perhaps he will find his way back into the NBA. He's always been efficient. 

The top five players in rebounds per minute: Whiteside, Eric Moreland - Sac, Jerelle Benimon - Denver, Rudy Gobert - Utah, and JaMychal Green - San Antonio. 

The player with the highest "assist per minute" rate: Langston Hall - Miami. ...Hall dished eleven assists in 44 minutes. 

The top-five players in assists per-minute: Hall, Russ Smith - Pelicans, Chris Wright (Georgetown) - Nuggets, Lazeric Jones - Bulls, Roberto Nelson - Hornets. 

The player that attempted the most free throws per minute was DeQuan Jones of the Pelicans. ...The top-five in FTA per minute: Jones, Rice Jr., McRae, Andrew Wiggins - Cleveland, and Thomas Robinson of Portland.

The player with the best assist-to-turnover ratio (over 80 minutes played): Stephen Holt - Atlanta. Holt, from Saint Mary's, posted a 5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in 119 minutes. ...The top-five in assist-to-turnover ratio: Holt, Bryce Cotton - San Antonio, Marcus Denmon - San Antonio, Lazeric Jones - Chicago, and Tyler Johnson - Miami. 

They did well with the minutes they were given... Here are the top seven players in efficiency per-minute who played between 40 to 79 minutes total: Hassan Whiteside .725, Shane Edwards .689, Trey Thompkins .653, James Ennis .578, Ronald Roberts Jr. .536, Jackie Carmichael .514, Josh Howard .510. 

What about the lottery picks? 

Nine of the 14, 2014 NBA Draft, lottery picks were on display in Las Vegas. Here is a brief synopsis of their respective efficiency and what we saw...

Warren gets buckets
T.J. Warren - Phoenix. EFR .613 ...He can score, score, score. And that's all he wants to do. He had one assist in 124 minutes of playing time. Warren has a mid-range game ready for the NBA, and in transition he was brilliant. 

Doug McDermott - Chicago. EFR .565 ...McDermott looked good. He played at NBA speed and knocked down free throws like Rick Berry or Mark Price. McDermott hit 22 of 23 foul shots (95% FT!). 

Jabari Parker - Milwaukee. EFR .427 ...Parker has fantastic ability with the ball in his hands. He will likely improve his efficiency if he gets into NBA shape. He is going to be a tough matchup for any defender. 

Zach LaVine - Minnesota. EFR .366 ...LaVine's ceiling is so high it is incredible to ponder how good he can become. He is not there yet. But he left no doubt about his special athletic gifts. It says here that LaVine, in hindsight, should have been selected much higher than 13th. 

Noah Vonleh - Charlotte. EFR .342 ...Vonleh displayed his good footwork in the low post and his outstanding reach that allows him to be effective around the hoop. While he was not efficient, it is nothing to worry about. 

Andrew Wiggins - Cleveland. EFR .342 ...Wiggins ceiling is unlimited. His step-back jumper is unguardable. We would expect him to find a way very soon to be efficient overall even if he was not in Las Vegas. His defense in Vegas was better than I expected it to be. 

Julius Randle - Lakers. EFR .330 ...Randle had some good moments. He also looked out of shape (by NBA standards). His decision making was suspect (six assists, 13 turnovers), and he only shot 41% FG. 

Nik Stauskas - Kings. EFR .272 ...Stauskas shot the three-ball very well (47%) but was not particularly productive for the over 200 minutes he played. 

Dante Exum - Jazz. EFR .180. ...Exum really struggled in Las Vegas. He was nowhere near the athlete that some had billed him to be. I was open-minded on Exum because the last time I saw him actually play in a game was the 2013 Hoop Summit. He was very good in that ONE game. In Las Vegas, Exum shot 30% FG, 18% 3-pt FG, and 64% FT in 133 minutes played. It is safe to say his shot is broken. 

It was not their week

They did not play well... A list of the 12 lowest (worst) efficiency ratings for players who played over 80 mins: Deonte Burton .030, Shabazz Napier .120, Scottie Wilbeken .126, Gilbert Brown .145, Matt Janning .153, Brandon Davies .156, Dante Exum .180, Lamar Patterson .191, James Michael McAdoo .200, Scott Suggs .202, Marcus Denmon .222, DeAndre Liggins .224. 

The All-Ole' Team. These players posted poor to downright worrisome defensive ratings: Abdul Gaddy 120.9, Josh Carter 119.7, Dwight Buycks 119.5, Malcolm Lee 119.3, Jordan Morgan 117.8, Darington Hobson 116, Quincy Miller 115.8, Carlon Brown 115.4, Brady Heslip 114.9, Patric Young 114, Cameron Ayers 113.8, Courtney Fells 113.5. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Triple OT! Rice Jr. fries Spurs on NBA Las Vegas Summer League day nine.

Glen Rice Jr. has attitude.
The most entertaining game we saw in the 2014 NBA Summer league took place Saturday as the Washington Wizards outlasted the San Antonio Spurs 95-94 in triple overtime. Glen Rice Jr. was the star of stars Saturday with 36 points (11-21 FG, 6-10 3-pt. FG, 8-13 FT), eleven rebounds, and four steals in 36 minutes. Rice is a cocky kid that seems on the verge of a technical foul at any moment. He is ultra aggressive offensively. 

Most efficient power forward on a winning team: Daniel Theis, Washington. ...Theis is a 6'9" athlete from Germany. Saturday he scored ten points (4-6 FG, 2-2 FT), snared eight boards, and blocked five shots in 22 minutes. Theis impressed us throughout summer league play with his quick jumping ability. He is just 22 years old. He went undrafted in 2013. 

Most efficient center on a winning team: Donatas Motiejunas, Houston. ...Motiejunas continued his strong Vegas play Saturday by scoring 19 points (6-10 FG, 2-2 3-pt. FG, 5-9 FT) and grabbing 13 rebounds in the Rockets 78-71 victory over Atlanta. 

Most efficient small forward on a winning team: Otto Porter, Washington. ...Porter impressed us during Las Vegas Summer league Play each time he took to the court. He is now in NBA shape and it showed in his performance. Porter has fantastic basketball instincts. He makes the correct pass, or he can hurt opponents with his ability to score. Saturday, Porter scored 27 points (10-22 FG, 2-5 3-pt. FG, 5-7 FT), pulled in five rebounds, and had three assists in 35 minutes. ...While the Wizards losing Trevor Ariza is a big blow, the addition of Paul Pierce, and the promise of Porter being healthy and ready, should ease the impact (of Ariza's departure). 

Most efficient point guard on a winning team: Ray McCallum, Sacramento. ...McCallum scored five points, had five rebounds, and four assists with zero turnovers in 22 minutes Saturday. The Kings beat the Bulls easily 80-61. McCallum is as steady as they come. 

Seven more stars: 

Jeff Ayres - San Antonio. ...Ayres has a simple game. He rebounds, and defends and he doesn't take bad shots. Saturday he had eight points (3-6 FG, 2-2 FT), and 14 rebounds in 28 minutes. 

Cleanthony Early - New York. ...Early scored 15 points (6-11 FG, 0-1 3-pt. FG, 3-4 FT) and retrieved ten rebounds in the Knicks 82-79 loss to Charlotte. Early was the 34th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. 

Austin Daye - San Antonio. ...Daye, as an established NBA veteran, was simply more skilled than most of his opponents during Summer League. Saturday, Daye scored 27 points (8-18 FG, 1-4 3-pt. FG, 10-12 FT), grabbed seven boards and blocked two shots in 38 minutes. 

Shane Larkin - New York. ...Larkin is so speedy! He gets to pretty much any spot he wants to on the court due to his great quickness, and ball-handling ability. Larkin scored 16 points, added seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals Saturday, playing as the starting point guard for the Knicks summer team.  

Ben McLemore - Sacramento. ...McLemore was efficient Saturday in the Kings win. He scored eleven points (4-7 FG, 1-2 3-pt. FG, 2-2 FT), and helped on the glass with four rebounds. More importantly, Ben dished three assists with only two turnovers in 23 minutes. 

Mike Muscala - Atlanta. ...Muscala scored 16 points (6-12 FG, 0-1 3-pt. FG, 4-5 FT) and grabbed seven rebounds in 26 minutes. 

Casey Prather - Atlanta. ...Prather is a guy NBA teams should be looking at to develop. He has NBA athleticism and strength at the TWO. Saturday, he scored 13 points (4-9 FG, 0-3 3-pt. FG, 5-5 FT) and added five rebounds in 23 minutes. Prather can defend well. The three point shot from NBA distance is something he may be able to develop. 

Notes: Three players (who played at least 20 minutes) posted "negative" efficiency ratings Saturday: Trevor Releford (out of shape), Billy Baron, and Austin Freeman. ...Doug McDermott did not play Saturday. He was being rested by Chicago due to a sore left foot. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Las Vegas NBA Summer League. Stanford's Powell is day eight star.

Powell played well Friday.
Friday was a day full of consolation bracket games in the 2014 NBA Las Vegas Summer League. In general, we felt like the intensity was down, and coaches were giving looks to deep bench players. The most efficient player on a winning team was Dwight Powell of Cleveland. The Cavs beat the Heat 95-90 behind Powell's 15 points (4-7 FG, 7-7 FT) and nine rebounds in 24 minutes. 

Most efficient small forward on a winning team: Eric Griffin, Dallas. ...Readers of our basketball writings and TWEETS know that we thought Griffin was good enough out of Campbell University in 2012 to make the NBA. After tours of Italy, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela, it finally happened for him with the Mavs' this week signing him to a contract (non-guaranteed) for the 2014-15 season. Friday Griffin was excellent, scoring 20 points (9-13 FG, 1-2 3-pt. FG, 1-2 FT) and blocking three shots in 27 minutes in Dallas' 88-62 romp over the Suns.

Most efficient shooting guard on a winning team: Ricky Ledo, Dallas. ...Ledo scored 15 points (6-13 FG, 1-5 3-pt. FG, 2-3 FT) with nine assists, four rebounds, and two steals in 26 minutes. Ledo was the 43rd pick of the 2013 NBA Draft. He is 21 years old. 

Most efficient center on a winning team: Rudy Gobert, Utah. ...Gobert likely needs a bit more seasoning but he is getting close to being a rotation player in the NBA in our estimation. Friday he scored eleven points (4-7 FG, 3-4 FT), grabbed 15 rebounds, and blocked two shots in 28 minutes. Utah beat Portland 75-73. 

Most efficient point guard on a winning team: D.J. Kennedy, Minnesota. ...Kennedy came off the bench for the Timberwolves and scored eight points 2-5 FG, 2-3 3-pt. FG, 2-2 FT), with five rebounds, and seven assists (one turnover) in 30 minutes. The T-Wolves beat New Orleans 97-78. Kennedy spent 2013-14 in France and Israel after playing the prior season in the D League. He's worth keeping an eye on due to his excellent size (6'6") as a ball handling guard.

Seven more stars:

Chris Wright (Dayton) - Milwaukee. ...It was great to see Chris Wright showing that he can knock down free throws. He hit 8-9 FT in Milwaukee's 79-74 win over Golden State. Wright, historically has been sketchy at the foul line, a real bugaboo in his intensely active game.Wright closed his Las Vegas Summer league run with 16 points, eight boards, and three blocked shots in 27 minutes. Over the entire five games, Wright made 14 of his 16 free throw attempts (87%). 

Xavier Gibson - Lakers. ...The BIG 6'11" center from Florida St. scored 13 points (5-7 FG, 3-4 FT), grabbed four rebounds and blocked two shots in 20 minutes. Gibson is out of shape by NBA standards but does provide a presence in the paint. 

Brady Heslip - Minnesota. ...Heslip can shoot the ball! He scored 15 points (5-8, 2-2 3-pt. FG) in 20 minutes Friday. The former Baylor guard is limited defensively by his lack of size. His DEFRTG of 107.9 (career) prohibits us from seeing an NBA future for him. Personally, I enjoy his game. He has a high hoops I.Q., and if you leave him open - the ball is going in the hole. 

Tyler Johnson - Miami. ...Johnson had another productive, eye-opening game Friday. Well, maybe it was eye-opening to others. We are now firmly aware of who Tyler Johnson is. He scored 20 points (6-11 FG, 1-2 3-pt. FG, 7-7 FT), with three assists (one turnover) in 28 minutes. We will re-state AGAIN that this kid should be in ANY NBA team's long term development plans. In our opinion, Johnson is closer to being ready to play in the NBA than one of the lottery picks of 2014 is. 

Devin Ebanks - D League Select. ...Ebanks scored 23 points (6-17 FG, 2-5 3-pt. FG., 9-11 FT), and snatched 15 rebounds in 35 minutes to lead the D-League "Selectors" (that is a deejay term... maybe I'm the only one who gets it?) past the Philadelphia 76'ers 91-87 in a game that required overtime. 

Jamelle Hagins - Philadelphia. ...Hagins scored ten points (5-9 FG), and pulled 13 rebounds in 25 minutes off the Philly bench Friday. 

Jabari Parker - Milwaukee. ...Parker had a "breakout" game Friday with 20 points (8-15 FG, 4-6 FT) and 15 boards in 30 minutes. His offensive ability is truly special in our opinion. You just don't see guys with his combination of size and ball-skills that often. He can take BIG's off the dribble, and he overpowers most wings. ...Parker is not in NBA condition. His huffing and puffing led to taking a few plays off on defense. That cannot happen in the NBA with consistency if Milwaukee wants to win some games. Hopefully Parker's diet and body will be a non-issue going forward but for that to occur Parker will have to do hard work and change some habits.  

Notes: Jerelle Benimon was just outside our top-12 cutoff line but he deserves a shout out for his excellent play for Denver. Benimon had 17 points, 15 rebounds, and four assists in 35 minutes. ...In negative efficiency territory was Portland's Bobby Brown. What does a "negative" efficiency line look like? How about two points (1-9 FG, 0-2 3-pt. FG, 0-0 FT), no boards, six assists (three turnovers), no steals, and no blocks in 23 minutes? Yuck. ...NBA-TV had NBA legendary referee Joey Crawford on for an extended in-game interview. In our opinion, the league should do that more often. It allowed NBA fans to hear, and see "Joey" in a different light. 

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.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Kevin Jones oustanding on Las Vegas Summer League day six.

Jones has face-up game. 
The D-League Select Team boasted the most efficient player on a winning team during play Wednesday at the NBA Las Vegas Summer League. Kevin Jones was that man. He came off the bench to score 19 points (8-11 FG, 2-2 3-pt. FG, 1-1 FT), and grab six rebounds in 21 minutes. The D League "Selectors" (as well call them) beat the Denver Nuggets summer squad 87-75. Jones, 24, is limited athletically but he can shoot face up shots as a BIG. 

Most efficient center on a winning team: Kyrylo Fesenko, Minnesota. ...Fesenko got loose for 17 points (7-9 FG, 3-6 FT), eight boards, and two blocked shots.  The 27 year-old Ukrainian has been out of the NBA since October 2012. 

Most efficient small forward on a winning team: Kyle Anderson, San Antonio. ...Anderson only played 20 minutes in the Spurs 100-71 blowout win over Milwaukee. Anderson scored 14 points (4-9 FG, 2-4 3-pt, FG, 4-4 FT) to go with three rebounds, and two assists. Anderson was the 30th and last player taken in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft. 

Most efficient shooting guard on a winning team: Shabazz Muhammad, Minnesota. ...Muhammad scored 16 points (4-12 FG, 8-9 FT), grabbed nine rebounds, and had two steals in the Timberwolves 86-77 victory over Phoenix. Muhammad was the 14th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft out of UCLA. 

Most efficient point guard on a winning team: Tyler Johnson, Miami. ...The truth is, the most efficient point guard on a winning team was just "solid". It was a poor day for PG efficiency Wednesday. Johnson scored eight points (4-7 FG), dished five assists and did so without a turnover in 27 minutes. As previously stated, we think ALL NBA teams should be considering Tyler Johnson as a player for development. He has good size, NBA athleticism, and he has shown enough of a feel for the game in summer league play (both Orlando and Las Vegas), to warrant a long look. 

Seven more stars

Keith Benson - Clippers. ...The most efficient player overall Wednesday was Keith Benson. He came off the Clippers bench to score 18 points (7-8 FG 4-4 FT), pull six rebounds, and block four shots in 21 minutes. Benson played most recently in Belarus. He was the 48th overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft. In our opinion, Benson is better right now at age 25 than some BIGs presently employed in the NBA. 

Elijah Millsap - Philadelphia. ...Millsap was used as a reserve shooting guard Wednesday, injecting energy into a 85-63 Sixers rout of the Lakers summer team. Millsap had SEVEN steals on the day, combined with 19 points (5-7 FG, 9-12 FT) in 24 minutes. ...Millsap is 26 years old. 

Gal Mekel - Dallas. ...Mekel poured in 17 points (5-7 FG, 1-2 3-pt. FG, 6-9 FT), grabbed five boards, and had six assists (two turnovers) in 29 minutes. His Dallas team lost to Charlotte 82-81 on a Roberto Nelson buzzer beater. 

Drew Gordon - Philadelphia. ...Gordon scored eight points (4-9 FG) and gathered ten rebounds in just 20 minutes Wednesday. Gordon most recently played professionally in Italy. 

T.J. Warren - Phoenix. ...Warren can flat-out score. Wednesday he went for 26 points (11-18 FG, 4-6 FT) in 29 minutes. Warren was the 14th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft after wining ACC Player of the Year honors at N.C. State. 

Donatas Motiejunas - Houston. ...Motiejunas is playing center now. He scored 18 points (7-10 FG, 1-3 3-pt. FG, 3-5 FT) and pulled in seven boards in 25 minutes. Houston beat Toronto 93-77. ...Certainly there is a HUGE gap between Summer League competition at the FIVE, and real NBA competition at center. That said, Motiejunas has looked good. He scores near the hoop using either hand well, and he also displays a feel for the game with his vision and passing ability. He is a unique player. 

Gorgui Dieng - Minnesota. ...Dieng scored 13 points (6-13 FG, 1-2 FT) and grabbed 19 rebounds in 35 minutes. Dieng came on strong at the end of his rookie season. He finished the 2013-14 NBA regular season as the 16th ranked center in efficiency per minute. We think he should be starting full-time somewhere. 

Notes: ...It was a kick to watch veteran legendary NBA referee Joey Crawford be 'kissed-up to" by virtually every NBA person that passed his way. Crawford was seated on an asile, jotting notes on future NBA refs as they worked the game. ...Three players were in "negative" efficiency territory Wednesday: Ricky Ledo, Kendall Marshall, and Brandon Davies. This is the second time in the Vegas Summer League that Davies has had a "minus" efficiency rating. That is not good. ...We watched Aaron Craft give Dennis Schroder fits Wednesday in the Hawks / Warriors game. Atlanta won 68-65 but Craft almost brought the Warriors to a come-from-behind win with his inspirational play off the bench. Craft is beyond tenacious on defense. He is downright pesky. He challenges every motion of his opponent. He makes plays that do not show up in the boxscore (such as pressuring the opposing PG into a pass to his center who promptly, palms the ball and commits a turnover). I think NBA teams should seriously consider Craft, if for nothing else, specific defensive assignments when an opposing point guard is "getting off". 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tuesday's best at NBA Las Vegas Summer League

"E" was worthy of an entourage Tuesday. 
Erik Murphy was the most efficient player on a winning team during play Tuesday in the NBA Las Vegas Summer league. The Utah Jazz BIG from Florida scored 17 points (7-13 FG, 1-3 3-pt. FG, 2-2 FT), grabbed nine rebounds, and blocked three shots in Utah's 87-69 victory over Denver. Murphy spent last season on the Chicago Bulls as their 2013 second round pick. He was waived by Chicago and claimed by Utah. 

Most efficient small forward on a winning team: T.J. Warren, Phoenix. ...I am a fan of Warren's game. He scores easily, and seeing him play with better teammates (than he had at N.C. State) only makes him more impressive. Tuesday, Warren scored 28 points (12-22 FG, 0-3 3-pt. FG, 4-5 FT), and hauled in eleven boards in 32 minutes. Phoenix beat Philadelphia 97-88.   

Most efficient shooting guard on a winning team: C.J. McCollum, Portland. ...McCollum scored 28 points in 29 minutes Tuesday in Portland's 91-76 win over Atlanta. McCollum shot 10-16 FG, 6-9 3-pt. FG, and 2-2 FT. 

Most efficient center on a winning team: Donatas Motiejunas, Houston. ...Motiejunas scored 15 points (6-8 FG, 1-2 3-pt. FG, 2-2 FT) and had five rebounds in 20 minutes, in Houston's 83-60 rout of the Clippers. Motiejunas is still just 23 years old. 

Most efficient point guard on a winning team: Tyler Ennis, Phoenix. ...Ennis, the 18th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft scored just four points Tuesday, but he contributed eight rebounds, and five assists, with three steals in 23 minutes. 

Seven more stars: 

Tyler Johnson - Miami. ...The undrafted rookie from Fresno State continued to open eyes Tuesday, coming off the Miami bench to score 17 points (6-9 FG, 5-6 FT), snare eight boards, and swipe three steals in 25 minutes. The Heat lost 85-83 to Washington. Johnson has NBA athleticism and good size for a point guard. 

James Nunnally - Miami. ...Nunnally shot the ball incredibly well Tuesday. He scored 22 points (7-9 FG, 4-5 3-pt. FG, 4-4 FT) and had five rebounds after switching summer teams. He was originally slated to play for Dallas but they were showcasing Ricky Ledo and Nunnally did not play a single minute for them on opening day or in the next game. ...Our take on Nunnally has not changed. He knows how to play, and he can make shots as a TWO guard. He carries himself like a ten-year NBA vet. 

Lance Thomas - Chicago. ...Thomas scored 13 points (6-7 FG, 1-1 FT) and had six rebounds in 20 minutes as the starting power forward for the summer Bulls. Thomas (Duke) is now 26 years old. He's been playing in China. The Bulls beat Minnesota 107-73. 

Doug McDermott - Chicago. ...McDermott, the eleventh overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, was strong again on Tuesday. He scored 20 points (7-13 FG, 4-7 3-pt. FG, 2-2 FT), dished six assists, and added five rebounds in 26 minutes. 

Mike Muscala - Atlanta. ...Muscala is too skilled a player to be denied. He scored 13 points (5-8 FG, 1-2 3-pt. FG, 2-2 FT), and had seven rebounds in 25 minutes. 

David Wear - Chicago. ...Wear scored 15 points (6-7 FG, 2-3 3-pt. FG, 1-1 FT) and added three steals in 21 minutes. 

Malcolm Thomas - Utah. ...Thomas scored 14 points (7-11 FG), had ten rebounds, three assists, and two blocked shots in 25 minutes. 

Notes: Five players were EXCELLENT Tuesday but not in our Top 12 above: Miles Plumlee, Khem Birch, Thomas Robinson, Cameron Bairstow, and Jordan McRae. It was revealed following the Portland game that Robinson had suffered a torn ligament in his thumb. He is out for the rest of the games. ...Four players managed to have "negative" efficiency ratings for their respective Tuesday games. Among them was Rodney Hood, who one day prior was our Hoop Obsession MVP of the Day as the player with the highest efficiency rating on a winning team. The other three in negative territory included some "big names": Shabazz Napier, Quincy Miller, and Amath M'Baye. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hood all good Monday at NBA Las Vegas Summer League

Hood was good.
Rodney Hood, the 23rd player selected in the 2014 NBA Draft, was the most efficient player on a winning team during Monday action at the Las Vegas Summer League. The 6'8" 215 lb. small forward from Duke led Utah to a 87-71 win over Philadelphia. Hood hit seven three point shots! He scored 29 points (11-16 FG, 7-10 3-pt. FG), had five rebounds, and two steals in 28 minutes. 

Most efficient center on a winning team: Rudy Gobert, Utah. ...Gobert was good in per-minute efficiency despite limited playing time in Utah as a rookie in 2013-14. Monday, Gobert did what he does; he changed shots, and he blocked five shots. He didn't miss in six field goal attempts on his way to 13 points. He added nine rebounds in his 23 minutes. 

Most efficient power forward on a winning team: Shane Edwards, Cleveland. ...Edwards came off the Cavs bench to score 14 points and grab eleven rebounds in 22 minutes. The Cavs beat the Sixers 86-77. Edwards went to the free throw line 13 times, and made 12. 

Most efficient shooting guard on a winning team: Tim Hardaway Jr., Knicks. ...Hardaway Jr. continued to be among the best players in Vegas Monday. He scored 17 points, pulled in four rebounds, had three assists, and three steals in 25 minutes. The Knicks defeated the Charlotte Hornets 95-72. 

Most efficient point guard on a winning team: Lorenzo Brown, Clippers. ...Brown scored 22 points (7-13 FG, 2-4 3-pt. FG, 6-6 FT), and dished four assists in 27 minutes. The Clippers beat Miami 91-85. 

Seven more stars

Amath M'Baye - Clippers. ...The former Oklahoma player who we always thought had a high ceiling is starting to reach some of those heights. M'Baye scored 27 points (9-15 FG, 2-4 3-pt. FG, 7-8 FT), grabbed four boards and had two steals Monday. 

Jeremy Tyler - Knicks. ...Tyler scored 18 points (8-12 FG, 3-3 FT), with eight rebounds and three assists in 28 minutes in the Knicks W. 

Langston Galloway - Knicks. ...Galloway came off the New York bench and scored 17 points (7-10 FG, 1-2 3-pt. FG, 2-2 FT) in 20 minutes. That is efficient!

Darius Morris - Spurs. ...Proof that players DO improve was evident in the play of Darius Morris. The 23 year-old point guard that has already played for and been passed on by four NBA teams (Lakers, Clippers, Sixers, Grizzlies), scored 19 points (7-12 FG, 1-1 3-pt. FG, 4-4 FT), grabbed four rebounds, and handed out four assists in 30 minutes. The Spurs beat the Pelicans 88-86. 

Quincy Acy - Kings. ...Acy scored 14 points (4-7 FG, 6-7 FT), and had seven rebounds in Sacramento's 89-75 win over the D League Select team. Acy started at center (he is a power forward, in reality) and played 26 minutes. 

Austin Daye - Spurs. ...Daye is now 26 years old, and I still feel like the basketball world is waiting for "more" from him. Monday Daye was excellent. He scored 18 points (5-12 FG, 2-5 3-PT. FG, 6-7 FT), grabbed eleven boards, and dished five assists in the Spurs win. 

Devin Ebanks - D League Select. ...Ebanks was the best player on the D-League Select team Monday. He scored 22 points (8-15 FG, 1-3 3-pt. FG, 5-5 FT), and snared six boards in 24 minutes. 

Notes: Several players had days worthy of mention who did not make our "top 12" above. Among them: Courtney Fells (brilliant for second day in a row), Scott Suggs, Ricky Ledo, and Eric Moreland. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Cherry stars on Day Three in Vegas

Cherry represented Oakland well Sunday
Will Cherry was the most efficient player on a winning team Sunday, during the third day of play, in the NBA Las Vegas Summer League. The Cavs reserve point guard exploded for 21 points (9-13 FG, 3-5 3-pt. FG), with seven rebounds, and four assists (zero turnovers) in just 23 minutes. His Cleveland summer league team beat the San Antonio Spurs summer squad 82-70. Cherry, 23, is 6'1", 165 lbs, from Oakland, CA. He attended University of Montana and was draft eligible in 2013.

Most efficient small forward on a winning team: Doug McDermott, Chicago. ...McDermott 'broke out' in his second game of summer league with 31 points (7-12 FG, 5-9 3-pt. FG, 12-12 FT) in 27 minutes. The Bulls unearthed the Nuggets 103-76.

Most efficient shooting guard on a winning team: Courtney Fells, New Orleans. ...Fells, a 27 year-old "power-guard", came off the bench for the Pelicans Sunday. He scored 25 points (9-13 FG, 4-6 3-pt. FG, 3-3 FT), and had two steals in New Orleans 90-73 beatdown of the Lakers.

Most efficient power forward on a winning team: Anthony Bennett, Cleveland. ...Bennett, the first selection in the 2013 NBA Draft, was excellent Sunday. He scored 13 points (5-8 FG, 1-3 3-pt. FG, 2-3 FT), and grabbed 14 rebounds in the Cavs W.

Most efficient center on a winning team: Eric Moreland, Sacramento. ...Moreland came off the bench for the Kings and provided much needed energy in their 72-65 win over the Charlotte Hornets. Moreland scored four points, had nine rebounds, and blocked four shots in 21 minutes. While Moreland does not possess the strength (224 lbs.) that NBA centers need, he does have a standing reach of 9'2"(same standing reach as Tyson Chandler, Marcin Gortat, and Al Jefferson) ...so it is not a 'reach' for Moreland to be viewed as a center. Moreland is 22 years old. He went undrafted (2014) out of Oregon State.

Seven more stars

Seth Curry - Phoenix. ...Seth Curry was brilliant Sunday. He was 7-9 from the field, 5-7 from beyond the arc, and 7-7 from them free throw line en route to 26 points in 22 minutes. His Suns squad was victorious over Milwaukee 93-82. 

Trey Thompkins - Lakers. ...Thompkins scored 18 points (7-9 FG, 2-2 3-pt. FG, 2-2 FT) and snared five boards in just 20 minutes. 

Quincy Miller - Denver. ...For the second day in a row Miller made our daily Hoop Obsession list of the 12 best players. Miller had 26 points (11-20 FG, 3-7 3-pt. FG, 1-2 FT), eight rebounds, and three assists in 32 minutes. 

Mike Muscala - Atlanta. ...The skilled BIG was very good Sunday despite a 94-92 Hawks double overtime loss to the D-League Select Team. Muscala scored 15 points (4-8 FG, 0-3 3-pt. FG, 7-7 FT), grabbed 15 rebounds and dished three assists in 31 minutes. 

Austin Freeman - Chicago. ...Freeman knocked down four three point shots in the Bulls win. He finished with 14 points (5-7 FG, 4-6 3-pt. FG) off the bench in just 22 minutes. 

Lazeric "Zeek" Jones - Chicago. ...Jones, a former UCLA guard, started at the point for Chicago Sunday, and responded with 12 points (5-8 FG, 2-2 3-pt. FG), four rebounds, and five assists in a very efficient 20 minutes. 

Glen Rice Jr. - Washington. ...Rice continued his strong summer play with 22 points (7-14 FG, 4-8 3-pt. FG, 4-7 FT), six boards, three steals, and three assists in 31 minutes Sunday. His Wizards beat the Timberwolves 67-61. Rice is stuck behind Bradley Beal on the Wizards depth chart. On many other teams, Rice could be a guy that plays a more prominent role. Don't be surprised if NBA teams in need of an upgrade in their backcourt come to the Wizards looking to steal Rice Jr. while he is still relatively under-exposed. 

Notes: Portland's entire starting five scored in double figures as they beat Houston 75-67. ...After a great opening day - T.J. Warren (Phoenix) was held to just seven minutes of playing time due to being injured. He was the victim of an errant elbow to his right eye. Warren required four stitches, and did not play in the final 20 minutes of the game as a precaution. ...Alex Len was ruled out for the remainder of Summer League after suffering a broken finger. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Justin Hamilton stars on day two in Vegas.

Justin Hamilton's improvement is remarkable.
Justin Hamilton was the most efficient player on a winning team during day two action at the NBA Las Vegas Summer League. The Miami Heat center scored 21 points (9-12 FG, 1-1 3-pt. FG, 2-4 FT), grabbed seven rebounds, and blocked five shots in a 92-81 victory over the Houston Rockets. Hamilton has been excellent in summer play, starring as well in the Orlando league which was recently completed. 

Most efficient shooting guard on a winning team: Justin Holiday, Golden State. ...Justin Holiday was brilliant in Golden State's 74-72 win over Phoenix. Holiday, known as a lock-down defender, showed that he CAN also provide enough offense to be a rotation player in the NBA. Holiday scored 29 points (9-15 FG, 2-5 3-pt FG, 9-9 FT), tallied 13 rebounds, and blocked two shots in 32 minutes. With NBA teams seeking two-way players, Justin Holiday, now 25 years-old, should be a guy every NBA team should be looking at. In particular, he would be a GREAT fit on the Sacramento Kings.

Most efficient small forward on a winning team: Otto Porter, Washington. ...The third pick in the 2013 NBA Draft had a rookie year to forget but Saturday he looked like the guy Washington Wizards fans hope he can be. Porter scored 25 points (11-16 FG, 1-3 3 pt. FG, 2-3 FT), and had seven rebounds in the Wizards 90-74 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

Most efficient point guard on a winning team: Erik Green, Denver. ...Green went for 17 points (7-11 FG, 2-4 3-pt. FG, 1-2 FT), six rebounds, and four assists (with zero turnovers) in 27 minutes.

Most efficient power forward on a winning team: Will Thomas, Denver. ...Thomas was "big man on campus" for George Mason back in 2007. The 28 year-old, 6'7" forward scored seven points (3-4 FG, 1-1 FT), and snared eight rebounds in 26 minutes. Thomas' "plus-minus" for the contest was plus 35. Denver smacked the Toronto summer team 110-82.

Seven more stars

James has been in charge in Vegas.
Bernard James - Dallas. ...Two games, two days, and James has been as good as any BIG in the Las Vegas Summer League. Saturday "The Sarge" scored 21 points (6-9 FG, 9-11 FT), grabbed seven rebounds, and added three steals. His Dallas squad beat Minnesota 93-85. 

Quincy Miller - Denver. ...Miller scored 23 points (5-9 FG, 4-5 3-pt. FG, 9-11 FT), and blocked four shots in 30 minutes. 

Gary Harris - Denver. ...Harris, the 19th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, out of Michigan St., was excellent Saturday in the Nuggets victory. The rookie scored 33 points (10-17 FG, 5-10 3-pt. FG, 8-9 FT), and added six rebounds. The game was a blowout but Harris showed the ability to move without the ball, make shots, and do the expected things of a shooting guard in the NBA. He was impressive. 

Warren scores in his sleep.
T.J. Warren - Phoenix. ...Warren is a natural born scorer at 6'8" 215 lbs. He may not be knocking down the deep ball yet, but his knack for getting buckets is sure to help the Suns. He was the 14th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Warren scored 22 points (10-14 FG, 2-2 FT) Saturday. 

Chris Wright (Georgetown) - Denver. ...The point guard scored six points, dished eight assists, and had three steals in 21 efficient minutes off the bench. 

Eric Griffin - Dallas. ...Griffin scored 17 points (6-8 FG, 1-3 3-pt. FG, 4-5 FT) off the bench in Dallas' win. He also blocked two shots. We continue to strongly believe that Eric Griffin is good enough to be a rotation player on an NBA team.

Gorgui Dieng - Minnesota. ...Dieng scored 12 points (4-6 FG, 4-6 FT), and had ten rebounds and two blocked shots in 29 minutes.

Notes: Several players were very efficient who did not make our "top 12" above. Among them: Glen Rice Jr. scored 22 points, getting to the free throw line 16 times! ...Tyler Honeycutt came off the Miami bench to score 16 points in Miami's win. ...Sean Kilpatrick's 20 points were key to Philadelphia's 74-70 win over Utah. ...Tony Snell was aggressive in scoring 27 points in 32 minutes. His Bulls team beat the Clippers summer team 86-70. ...Quite possibly the worst summer league National Anthem was "performed" before the start of the 5 PM game in the Cox Pavilion. The very Vegas looking duo of singer and violin player butchered the Star Spangled Banner badly enough to earn a chorus of boos from the fans. ...Players who were as bad as the anthem performers included: Delonte West, Brandon Davies, and Alan Crabbe. All three posted efficiency ratings in negative territory, suggesting their teams would have been better without them.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Las Vegas NBA Summer League day one. Shurna stars.

Shurna sure can shoot!
John Shurna was the most efficient player on a winning team on day one of the 2014 Las Vegas NBA Summer League. The former Northwestern star 'went off' from three point land, hitting six deep shots en route to 21 points (6-9 FG, 5-8 3-pt FG, 4-5 FT). Shurna also had three steals and two blocked shots in 24 minutes off the Toronto bench. The Raptors beat the Lakers summer squad 88-78. To learn more about Shurna - read our 2012 Draft capsule on him.

Most efficient center on a winning team: Cole Aldrich, New York. ...Aldrich scored nine points, blocked three shots and grabbed 15 rebounds in 31 minutes. His Knicks summer team beat Dallas 84-76.

Most efficient point guard on a winning team: T.J. Bray, Toronto. ...Bray came off the bench to score a dozen points (3-3 3-pt. FG, 3-4 FT), and snare three steals in 22 minutes. The 22 year-old is fresh out of the Ivy League where he starred at Princeton.

Most efficient small forward on a winning team: Josh Howard, New Orleans. ...The 34 year-old veteran, trying to make a comeback to the NBA after having his career derailed by ACL surgeries, posted 14 points (4-6 FG, 1-1 3-pt. FG, 5-5 FT), and dished three assists in the Pelicans win. The New Orleans summer team came from behind to beat the D-League Select Team 83-81. Howard played 22 minutes.

Most efficient shooting guard on a winning team: Tim Hardaway Jr., New York. ...Hardaway scored a point a minute in the Knicks win. He had 25 points (6-15 FG, 3-10 3-pt. FG, 10-12 FT) in 25 minutes of playing time. He added five rebounds.

Seven more stars: 

Davis balled Friday.
Josh Davis - Charlotte. ...The undrafted 6'8" rookie forward from San Diego State came off the Hornets bench to score 14 points, and snatch 16 rebounds in 29 minutes. Davis, 23 years old, had the highest efficiency per minute on day one of Las Vegas Summer League play (among players who played at least 20 minutes.) Unfortunately for Davis, his Charlotte summer team was beaten soundly by Golden State 70-58. 

Bernard James - Dallas. ..."The Sarge", Bernard James, was among the few bright spots for the Mavs in their loss to New York. James scored 15 points (7-9 FG, 1-1 FT), grabbed ten boards, and blocked four shots in 29 minutes. 

Nemanja Nedovic - Golden State. ...Nedovic led the Warriors team in scoring as the starting point guard. He tallied 17 points (4-6 FG, 2-3 3-pt FG, 7-11 FT), and added five rebounds in 24 minutes.  

Russ Smith - New Orleans. ...Smith scored 20 points (8-17 FG, 1-6 3-pt FG, 3-7 FT) to lead New Orleans in scoring. While Smith's shooting was nothing to 'write home about', he contributed mightily in other areas with nine rebounds, five assists, and three steals. He did have six turnovers as a big negative in his 27 minutes of high energy action. 

Devin Ebanks - D League Select. ...Ebanks scored 15 points (6-14 FG, 1-3 3-pt FG, 2-3 FT), and had 13 rebounds in 29 minutes. Ebanks is now 24 years old. He still could be a guy worthy of a roster spot on an NBA team in our opinion. 

Acy is a PF, not a Center.
Quincy Acy - Sacramento. ...Acy was the brightest spot for the Kings in their 85-69 loss to San Antonio. "Q" scored 14 points (5-8 FG, 2-3 3-pt FG, 2-2 FT), and grabbed seven rebounds in 28 minutes as the starting Center Friday for the Kings summer team. He is a natural power forward as we see it. After a four year career at Baylor, and two NBA seasons for two teams, Acy seems like he's been "around forever". The truth is that Acy is just 23 years old; younger than some "rookies", and certainly not beyond improving.

Mitchell Watt - Golden State. ...Watt scored eight points (4-6 FG), and added six rebounds, and four blocked shots in 21 minutes. Watt, 24, played in the Israeli Super League last year. 

Notes: ...The Cox Pavilion was used to house the Cavs/Bucks game. WHY? We have no idea. The more accommodating Thomas & Mack Center should have been an obvious choice to play a game featuring the two top picks in the NBA Draft. The result was a dangerous overflow in the smaller Cox gym that made virtually all in attendance a bit uncomfortable. The game that received the most hype on the day was won by Cleveland 70-68. ...A handful of players were so terribly inefficient Friday, that their teams may have been better off playing 4 on 5. Among those with the usually rare, negative efficiency rating: Noah Vonleh, Ben McLemore, and Chris Goulding. ...The Las Vegas Hilton is taking bets on Summer League games.