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A Look Back at Vegas Summer League: Part 1

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Nik Caner-Medley, seen here playing for <a href="">Cajasol Sevilla</a> in Spain, played some pretty good ball in Vegas.
Nik Caner-Medley, seen here playing for Cajasol Sevilla in Spain, played some pretty good ball in Vegas.

I had a nice, long intro for this but then it disappeared into the internet, much to your delight I'm sure.  Basically, I'm going to take a look at some noteworthy performances from Vegas Summer League that came from "non-NBA" players, just as I did for the Orlando league.  I split them up into two groups, D-League players and non-D-Leaguers, and I'm going to start with the latter.  These are players who have been over in Europe or are otherwise not under any NBA contract, and who played in the Summer League to show teams that they deserve a spot.  I focused on players who had appeared in at least three games, so if there's a player you thought did well and you don't see him here, that may be why not.  A look at six notable non-NBA, non-D-League players from Vegas Summer League after the jump.

Nikoloz Tskitishvili (7'0" F, New York Knicks) - There may have been no bigger reclamation project being attempted in Vegas than Skita's career.  He did pretty well, too, making 43 percent of his three-pointers (and he shot a fair amount of them), and he averaged a solid nine rebounds per 48 minutes.  He also, somewhat surprisingly to me, tied for the team lead in total blocks with eight.  Summer League isn't the best place to showcase one's defense, and I didn't see the games so I have no idea how that looked, but there is room for optimism here, and there certainly are players with similar profiles currently in the NBA.

Warren Carter (6'9" F, New York Knicks) - In my breakdown of the Knicks' roster I noted that Carter was a backup for three years in college before becoming a decent scorer and rebounder in Europe, and it's that latter ability that really shone through in Vegas.  True, Carter made 55 percent of his field goals, but he didn't score a whole lot.  He led the team in rebounds on a per-minute basis, though, with 14.4 per 48 minutes.  He also had only four turnovers total, and didn't get into too much foul trouble.  He'd be an interesting player to put on Mike D'Antoni's bench, especially if David Lee leaves.

Pooh Jeter (5'11" G, Portland Trail Blazers) - For some reason I think I may be the only one on this, but I thought Jeter played really well in Vegas.  His shot wasn't overwhelming and his rebounding is almost non-existent, but he did a great job running the point for Portland.  He had six more total assists than Jerryd Bayless in about six fewer minutes of playing time, and he had less than half as many turnovers.  Just over nine assists per 48 minutes is nothing to laugh at, especially if it's from a bench guy.  Of course, we were here last year, too (or at least Jeter was).  This is what DraftExpress had to say about his 2008 Summer League performance: Jeter is generously listed at 5'11" and lacks the ideal size for an NBA point guard, but does just about everything well on the court, and could potentially make an NBA roster.

Nik Caner-Medley (6'8" F, Los Angeles Clippers) - This one's also a bit of a surprise, at least to me.  Not that Caner-Medley isn't talented, I had just assumed it wouldn't actually manifest itself, for some reason.  Instead, Caner-Medley played the second-most minutes on the Clippers roster and started all five games.  He also made a full 50 percent of his field goals and shot 94.4 percent from the free-throw line.  He also rebounded the ball fairly well, averaging 13.4 per 48 minutes.  The Clippers seem to be clearing the frontcourt more than adding to it, but based on his Vegas performance, Caner-Medley could be a decent pickup for another team looking for a fifth forward.

Andre Owens (6'4" G, Detroit Pistons) - "he's a pretty efficient scorer overall, though not always consistent."  Those words turned out to be a bit of an understatement.  Not in the efficiency department, but in terms of consistency.  Owens scored only seven points total in Vegas, and all of them came from the free-throw line.  Owens is listed here because he was second on the Pistons with 16 total assists in 64 and a half minutes over four games.  That comes out to a solid 12 assists per 48 minute average.  He also averaged nine rebounds on a per-minute basis.  Just as impressively, he only had two turnovers.  The Pistons have been looking for a backup point guard for almost an entire season now, and perhaps Owens could help them out there.

David Harrison (7'0" C, Cleveland Cavaliers) - I have to say, this one surprised me a bit.  Harrison only attempted 10 field goals in five games, so it's not like he's an offensive juggernaut (though he made eight of them).  Like Carter, it's Harrison's rebounding that stood out.  Harrison grabbed 22 rebounds in 82 minutes of action, which works out to 13 rebounds per 48 minutes, a solid number.  He's also apparently a member of the Sarcastic Clapping Family of Southhampton (sorry, the video/audio quality is pretty bad).  Harrison got busted for marijuana towards the end of his time with the Pacers and he was never all that consistent to begin with, but the talent is still there, and a team looking for some help on the boards could do worse.