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NBA Vegas Summer League: Day 8 Preview

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Apologies for getting this up late today.  There have been some questions in the comments about why I haven't mentioned NBA players in either these previews or the monstars/nonstars review posts, so if I may just quickly address that: when it's not NBA draft/Summer League season, this site focuses on the D-League.  As such, Scott and I (mostly Scott) have a pretty good base of knowledge for those players who are here in Summer League trying to make a roster, and we're trying to impart some of that knowledge to you folks.  Much as Dante and Galante were somewhat enjoyable, their "I've never heard of this guy" comments were really annoying.  A lot of these free agents can play, and deserve a shot.

Second, there are a ton of great team-based blogs out there, both on SB Nation and elsewhere.  These folks have followed the teams every day for years, and have a better sense of, say, where Hassan Whiteside fits into the Kings' plans or whether Nick Young is being crowded out of the Wizards' rotation better than I do.  To bring those two points together, much as I enjoy watching John Wall, or Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton, I don't think yet another site saying "hey guess what, John Wall is really good" adds much to the conversation.  So instead, enjoy reading about Rod Benson, or Matt Janning, or Mike Gansey, or Larry Owens, with my compliments. 

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. - Detroit Pistons vs. New York Knicks

Pistons Free Agent to Watch: Elijah Millsap

Millsap, brother of the Utah Jazz's Paul, led UAB in scoring, rebounding and steals last year after transferring from Louisiana-Lafayette.  He then left school despite being a junior, because he's also 23.  He's a pretty good slasher and defender, though being listed as a "combo forward" at 6'6" is probably a bit generous and he'll likely have to become a full-time small forward to succeed in the NBA.  He's playing a fair amount for Detroit, averaging 20 minutes a game, and while he's rebounding at a decent clip he's shooting 40 percent, which is just okay.

Knicks Free Agent to Watch: Marcus Landry

After an okay-but-not-great Orlando Summer League, Landry had a rough first game in Vegas before breaking out on Wednesday, with 14 points on 5-9 shooting, including making two of his four three-pointers.  He's a decent shooter overall but a bit streaky, but he also could be attractive to teams looking for someone with NBA experience, as he played 17 games with the Knicks last season (assuming New York decides not to bring him back).

6 p.m. - Toronto Raptors vs. Sacramento Kings

Raptors Free Agent to Watch: Curtis Stinson

Oddly enough, I haven't talked about Stinson in Vegas yet.  He's been one of the best point guards in the D-League for the last few years, averaging close to a triple-double, though he's also been lucky to play with a lot of scorers who can help him get assists, and occasionally those near-triple doubles also contain turnovers.  Still, he had one excellent game in Orlando Summer League, with 14 points, seven assists, three steals and no fouls or turnovers, and he's capable of a similar performance here in Vegas.

Kings Free Agent to Watch: Connor Atchley

Atchley hasn't had the best Summer League, either here or in Orlando, but he's talented, and could break through if the Kings' roster players start taking a seat.  He's not the biggest post player around, nor does he have many post moves, but Atchley is a decent rebounder thanks to the energy he brings.  He also has a solid midrange shot, and another year of development could make him a good NBA bench option.

8 p.m. - Washington Wizards vs. New Orleans Hornets

Wizards Free Agent to Watch: Aaron Pettway

Pettway isn't getting a ton of minutes, but some, which is more than I expected.  He's not bad, as he's athletic and has good size for a center (6'11", 240), but the Wizards currently have a logjam in the frontcourt.  It's possible Pettway could see even more action today if Washington decides to ramp down JaVale McGee's minutes, and while he still has yet to score over three games, Pettway has been rebounding pretty well, and could excel against New Orleans' thin Summer League frontcourt.

Hornets Free Agent to Watch: Brian Cusworth

This is the second year Cusworth has played for the Hornets' Summer League team, and the second year that playing time has been limited.  He's been a decent scorer in college (Harvard) and in Europe, but his rebounding has slowly disappeared over the last few years.  The Hornets clearly either a.) are intrigued by Cusworth or b.) are friends with his agent, but whichever it is I'm guessing he goes back to Europe this year.

8:30 p.m. - Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Chicago Bulls

Cavaliers Free Agent to Watch: Nathan Jawai

I'm not the hugest fan of Jawai, and that's not a weight joke, but that has more to do with his attitude and seeming lack of interest in rebounding than it does his talent.  Even at his rather large size he's pretty nimble with good footwork on the offensive end.  Unfortunately, his rather large size means his stamina can be an issue, and he doesn't always get rebounding position because he's trailing the play.  And when he does have position he just kind of pushes off with his arms rather than use his body.  He also can get...let's call it "discouraged" if he doesn't get the ball in the post every now and then.  Regardless, Jawai's talent means he deserves at least another chance (he bounced around between three teams in two years and is now looking for a job) somewhere.

Bulls Free Agent to Watch: Jack McClinton

McClinton was a second round pick for the Spurs a year ago, then decided he'd rather go to training camp with Minnesota, who then failed to sign him.  Not really sure of the logic there on his end, as even if San Antonio let him go, he should've known that organization might've at least kept him around in Austin.  Regardless, he's back after a year in Turkey where he had a somewhat disappointing year.  He scored at a pretty decent clip, almost 16 points a game, but his shooting percentages were relatively weak.  I still like McClinton as a bench scorer, though, especially if he can get his efficiency back.

10 p.m. - Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

Memphis Grizzlies Free Agent to Watch: Chris McCray

I've already talked about McCray, but the Grizzlies have a limited number of free agents and I wanted to point out that has him listed as McRay McCray, which I think we all can agree is awesome.  Not as awesome as Steeve Ho You Fat, but still.  I'm not entirely sold on McCray as an NBA player, but his defense is likely good enough to hang there, and if he can pick his offense back up he could make himself worth a look.

Timberwolves Free Agent to Watch: Mo Charlo

More playing time for Mo Charlo, please.  He probably needs another year or so before he's ready to play in the NBA, but I mostly liked what I saw from him playing for the Reno Bighorns last year.  He's athletic, and he's a good rebounder and defender.  Unfortunately, his offense stinks out loud.  He also turns 27 next week (happy birthday, guy), so his odds of improving are limited.  It could happen, though.  And yes, I know I contradicted myself at least twice in this paragraph.

10:30 p.m. - Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat

Bucks Free Agent to Watch: Micah Downs

After going undrafted a year ago, Downs went to Summer League with the Suns and then played in Croatia and Belgium.  He's athletic, and has pretty good size for a small forward, though he probably could stand to add some muscle.  His offense is still a work in progress, and consistency has been a problem for him thus far (he was pretty bad last night for example), but he definitely has the physical tools he needs to succeed.

Heat Free Agent to Watch: Mickell Gladness

Gladness finally played on Wednesday after sitting out the first two, and I expect him to play again today as Miami's big men on the roster may get their playing time decreased to keep them healthy.  I'm not his biggest fan, but Gladness could do reasonably well in this setting.  He played center for Rio Grande Valley, though in his case that meant hanging out around the three-point line.  He'll have to do better than seven fouls and four turnovers, as he had on Wednesday.