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. 

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