So...we're officially past the halfway point with this Summer League thing. It both feels like it just started and like it's been going on forever. Orlando probably had something to do with it. I had a pretty interesting conversation (well, sort of) on Twitter that got to the heart of what Summer League should be about. I've talked about this before, but there are several competing goals that teams have: see how their new draft picks look on the court with other NBA players, help young NBA players continue to develop, and see if any D-League guys or "Europe" guys can fill in the back of the roster. Is it worth playing your second-year center 35 minutes if he's generally having an awful game and you have undrafted free agents or D-League guys you could look at? Or do that center's struggles mean that he needs more on-court development, and as such should stay out there and lean from his mistakes? I'm not completely sure of what the answer is, but looking at the box scores and seeing so many DNPs makes me go back to the question of whether Summer League is worth it for players who don't already have NBA contracts. If you play a lot and play well, like Kasib Powell did in Orlando, then sure you could say that was a good decision. But too often guys end up sitting on the bench for the entire game, unable to show what they can do while that second-year center shoots 20 percent from the field and an undrafted free agent plays five uneventful minutes. And because teams are playing either every day or every other day, there aren't really any practices to show what a player can do. Perhaps the solution is for the D-League to field several Select teams, thus ensuring that guys get playing time in which they can show they can hang with NBA players.
By the way, if these recaps have seemed shorter the last few days, it's because a.) A lot of these teams have relatively few D-League guys (hence the Select team, I guess), and b.) Not a lot of guys have been playing well, D-League or otherwise. There are players who I expected to have been talking about a lot, but because I'm trying to avoid harping on poor performances (ahem, Blake Ahearn) I'm left with little to focus on. If this keeps up I'm going to have a hardedrtime writing a "which non-NBA players did well in Vegas" post than I did with Orlando. Unless of course I just talk about the Select team, which beat another NBA squad yesterday. Hit the jump for the recap of that one and the rest.
D-League Select 105, Sacramento Kings 89
The D-League team was actually down by seven at the half, but they dominated the second half, including a 31-14 fourth quarter. And hey, I can actually tell you who played well in this one! Othyus Jeffers, Othyus Jeffers, Othyus Jeffers. (That wasn't meant to be a Clarence Carter reference, but feel free to make it one if you wish.) Jeffers again led the D-Leaguers with 21 points on 7-12 shooting and a perfect day from the free-throw line, plus seven rebounds and two steals. I'll be really, really surprised if he spends all of next season in the D-League; a call-up (or an outright signing) should be soon in coming for this guy. This was the first game where Trey Johnson played well without caveat, and he shot 8-10 for 20 points and added a pair of rebounds. Gary Forbes has been playing pretty well, both in Vegas and in Orlando, and yesterday he had 17 points on 11 shots and four rebounds. Coleman Collins shot 100 percent on the day, shooting 3-3 from the field and 4-4 from the line.Kurt Looby took zero field goals, which is probably for the best, but I'll take six rebounds and three blocks in less than 15 minutes any day (though I could do without the six fouls). Curtis Stinson has started both official games at PG, and he's been solid enough, but Walker Russell has been really impressive generally
Jason Thompson had a fairly solid game, with 31 points on 23 shots and 10 rebounds, but also nine fouls. Marcus Landry has played relatively well, and yesterday he had 10 points on 4-6 shooting, though he didn't do much else. Tyreke Evans is a very good rebounder for his position, but the shooting still isn't there. He cut down on his turnovers, though. Did I mention that the D-League team beat another NBA squad, this one also featuring several first-round picks
Nick Young came down to earth a little bit, scoring only 17 points, but it came on 12 shots and he also had three steals. Andray Blatche's numbers looked good again, 27 points on 21 shots, 15 rebounds (eight offensive), three assists and two steals, but he didn't look great doing it. He was exhorting his teammates to make harder cuts on offense, but he had his share of boneheaded plays as well. If you expect me to say another Wizard had a good game, I can't. Those three assists were a team high. JaVale McGee finished with eight rebounds and five blocks, but he also shot 3-12 and by all accounts looked pretty terrible overall.
Sonny Weems bounced back from a poor game to score 17 points on 15 shots and grab 11 boards. Richard Hendrix had a nice, solid game, with 10 points on 4-6 shooting and six rebounds in 19 minutes. CJ Giles also played fairly well, with 10 points on seven shots and seven rebounds, though he also had seven fouls. Ronald Dupree saw his first extended action and finished with 11 points on 4-9 shooting along with three rebounds, three assists and a block
Chase Budinger Summer League Jersey Retirement Watch: Budinger had an excellent 17 points on eight shots thanks to going 2-2 from behind the arc and 3-3 from the free-throw line. Maarty Leunen also had a fairly efficient day, with 14 points on eight shots, along with five rebounds and four assists. Jerryd Bayless had 13 points on 10 shots and six rebounds, though he also had only two assists and six turnovers. James White shot 3-4 but more importantly did a good job of getting to the free-throw line, and ended up with 16 points on four shots. Four turnovers, though. Pooh Jeter finished with 15 points on 11 shots and had a game-high six assists and only one turnover. Rod Benson only played a little over three minutes, but he had two rebounds in that time.
Not too much interesting about this one. Joe Alexander's shooting has been improving gradually, and he had 18 points on 16 shots yesterday with five rebounds and three blocks, and Brandon Jennings had 14 points on 10 shots with nine assists, but neither of those are really noteworthy. Taj Gibson has rebounded the ball well so far, and he had eight against the Bucks, but he also had 10 fouls. DeMarcus Nelson has been shooting the ball and rebounding fairly well, and he shot 6-12 with six rebounds yesterday, but he's not getting to the free throw line much and his overall efficiency is suffering (more with Nelson later today). My former college chum Linton Johnson (not really, but we were at Tulane at the same time) played just under five and a half minutes, but he had three rebounds in that time which isn't bad
DeMar DeRozan continues to impress, with 20 points on 16 shots, and only two fouls and a single turnover. Quincy Douby's also played fairly well, and he scored 16 points on 12 shots, though he also shot 1-5 on his three-pointers. Earl Clark can rebound, I'll tell you that, with 12 rebounds in just over 27 minutes, though he also had five rebounds and needed 12 shots to get 13 points. Smush Parker has pretty much disappeared since the first game against the Lakers. Coincidence? Paul Davis was injured and had to be taken out of the gym on a stretcher, so hopefully he's okay. He always stuck me as a guy who'd do alright in the D-League
This game was all about Austin Daye and DaJuan Summers. Daye had 27 points on 17 shots and 13 rebounds despite being what one person on Twitter called "all arms and legs." Summers finished with 26 points on 21 shots and eight rebounds. Jonas Jerebko was less efficient shooting-wise, but he had 12 rebounds, and he's generally been solid in that area. Toney Douglas has been racking up the assists so far, and he had 10 yesterday, but his shooting has been pretty terrible. Saer Sene played only nine minutes, but he had three rebounds and two blocks in that time. David Noel, Ron Howard, Patrick Ewing Jr. and Dwayne Jones all got DNPs. Booooooo. Just for that I stuck this recap at the bottom.