RU blogger extraordinaire Mike Gansey and the D-League Select team headline today's Summer League action.
This is where the Vegas Summer League kicks into high gear, with seven games a day for the next three days, and six games a day after that. There's a lot of basketball going on, and even the most diehard watcher could be excused for starting to lose track of everything going on. (What I'm trying to say is, please excuse the mistakes I will inevitably make over the next week.)
The majority of these games will be shown on NBA TV (I know not all of them will be live, but I don't know if they'll be showing the non-live ones later or what), and those that don't have access to NBA TV can watch all of the Summer League games online for $14.95 either live or on demand. The "what to watch for" notes are after the jump (all times are Eastern).
4 p.m. - LA Lakers vs. New York Knicks
Lakers Free Agent to Watch: Ibrahim Jaaber
I haven't been super-impressed with Jaaber so far, but Scott has, so we'll make this a Schroeder Special. It's not that Jaaber's been particularly bad - he's looked decent running the offense (averaging six assists per game), and the defense is there, but he's also shooting less than 36 percent from the field, third-worst on the team. For someone who has struggled with his shot in the past, he'll likely have to improve there to show teams he won't be a liability on offense.
Knicks Free Agent to Watch: Carlos Powell
Powell had a disappointing game yesterday; while he had five rebounds and a few nice passes that led to either blow layups or fouls, he also shot 1-6 and turned the ball over three times, which is kind of a lot for a small forward in 24 minutes. Powell is a lot better than that, and at this point in his career he's kind of stuck in the training camp/D-League/Europe axis, so he'll need to bounce back to finally get over the line and onto an NBA bench.
6 p.m. - Sacramento Kings vs. Detroit Pistons
Kings Free Agent to Watch: Sylven Landesberg
I thought Landesberg had the talent to be drafted last month, but the second round was so crazy that several guys didn't get picked who probably should've. He wasn't a great shooter in college, but he's a good ball-handler for a shooting guard, has pretty good size and he generally plays smart. There are half a dozen or so guards on Sacramento's Summer League roster, but Landesberg is probably they best free agent they brought in. His game is not without questions, but players like that are pretty much what Summer League is about.
Pistons Free Agent to Watch: Mac Koshwal
Koshwal hasn't played a ton, but he's had one good game and one poor one, averaging out to four and a half points and six boards in 14 minutes a game so far. Moshwal's main issue is that he tries to do too much, and also fancies himself something of a wing player, even though his size makes him better suited to the low post. If he's alternating good and bad then he's due for another bad game, but if he keeps things simple he could build of of Saturday's fine performance.
6:30 p.m. - San Antonio Spurs vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
Spurs Free Agent to Watch: James Gist
Gist is still hanging around the Spurs organization after being drafted by them in 2008 but spending the last two seasons overseas. The book on Gist when he was drafted was that he was athletic and a decent help defender but inconsistent in man defense and in shooting. The Spurs brought Gist to Summer League last year and likely have been keeping tabs on him since, but for the rest of us this will be an opportunity to see how far along his game has (or hasn't) come. The Spurs already had several open roster spots before Richard Jefferson gifted them another one, so the opportunity for Gist could be there.
Timberwolves Free Agent to Watch: Patrick O'Bryant
Yes, that Patrick O'Bryant. As one of only two centers on the roster (last year's D-League call-up Greg Stiemsma being the other), O'Bryant figures to get a decent amount of playing time. I'm not expecting him to be all that great, and I doubt I'm alone in that, but I also haven't seen O'Bryant play in awhile, and I'm curious to see how motivated he is at this point in his career. Considering that the Spurs don't really have any notable big men themselves, O'Bryant either could do really well or remain a disappointment.
8 p.m. - Dallas Mavericks vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Mavericks Free Agent to Watch: Jeremy Lin
While not the quickest guy on the court (and certainly not with Beaubois out there), Lin isn't slow by any means and has a good first step for getting into the lane. He's also an efficient scorer, and uses his size well on both ends. During his first game, there were different sequences where he was able to shield the ball from his defender and get a layup plus a foul, and on the other end use his height and timing to block a perimeter shot and cause a shotclock violation. Lin is impressing folks this week.
Bucks Free Agent to Watch: John Bryant
I'm not sure how much playing time Bryant will get, with Larry Sanders and Tiny Gallon also here, but Bryant was one of the better centers in the D-League, with a nice offensive game and underrated defense. He also was the best rebounder in the country coming out of Santa Clara, but had some conditioning issues that meant he didn't get much NBA attention. He improved in that area a bit, but I don't know what he looks like these days with a few months' layoff (I'd assume still better, but you never know). He's pretty skilled overall, and if someone like Dexter PIttman could get drafted, Bryant could at least find himself in training camp somewhere with a good showing in Vegas.
8:30 p.m. - Phoenix Suns vs. D-League Select
Suns Free Agent to Watch: Shaun Pruitt
The Suns are giving big minutes to their roster players (which makes sense), and other than Zabian Dowdell, Pruitt has played the best out of their free agent group. He showed some nice post moves and good rebounding in game two. Phoenix likely doesn't have room for him on the roster, but with a few more good performances Pruitt could work his way into a training camp invitation somewhere.
D-League Player to Watch: Larry Owens
Owens was perhaps the most underrated player in the D-League last season (if that word means anything anymore), and is very versatile. He's also transitioning to the wing after playing power forward for the Tulsa 66ers, so it will be interesting to see how he plays further outside of the post. I have a D-League roster preview coming up later today, so I don't want to spoil too much, but Owens is a very good passer, a decent shooter and rebounder, and is probably more athletic than he gets credit for. Prepare to be impressed, people.
10 p.m. - Washington Wizards vs. LA Clippers
Wizards Free Agent to Watch: Raymar Morgan
Morgan went undrafted this year after spending four years at Michigan State, although a few of those years were spent battling illness an injury (maybe I should've written "because" instead of "although" there). He's known as a slasher who can defend and rebound, and in the Wizards' first game he finished with eight points and seven boards in 29 minutes. Nick Young will be playing in this game, likely sliding Cartier Martin over to the starting SF position and moving Morgan to the bench, but I'm intrigued to see if a repeat performance (or the reserve version of a repeat performance) is in the offing.
Clippers Free Agent to Watch: Trey Johnson
The Clippers didn't bring many guards to Summer League, so Johnson should get a fair amount of playing time. He was an athletic slasher and scorer in the D-League two years ago before heading overseas before coming back to the D-League mid-season with the desire to become a point guard. I'm not really sure where that desire came from, but he was pretty good at it, averaging seven assists per game. He also had some outstanding performances, including (especially?) his second game back in the D-League when he had 20 assists to just two turnovers in 42 minutes. Overall the turnovers were a little on the high side, but those were likely growing pains that may disappear as he gets more reps handling the ball.
10:30 p.m. - Memphis Grizzlies vs. Atlanta Hawks
Grizziles Free Agent to Watch: Jeff Adrien
Adrien played in Orlando for the Magic, and played well. He didn't have the best shooting percentage, but he found ways to score and got to the free throw line pretty often and rebounded well. His best game was his first, when he had 13 points and 10 boards in 21 minutes against the Pacers' team. The Grizzlies are pretty stacked with roster players, so Adrien may not get much playing time, but he'll likely do well when given a chance.
Hawks Free Agent to Watch: James Augustine
Normally I'd pick Trey Gilder here, but like Adrien, Augustine played well for the in the Orlando Summer League, and now he has a chance to build on that success. He does good work in the post and is decently athletic with good size. The scoring wasn't always there for Augustine in Orlando, though he had 20 points against Charlotte's team, and the rebounding was pretty consistent. He'll be competing with several guys for playing time in Vegas, but he did well in that same situation last week.