It's the NBA's offseason but you couldn't tell if you spoke to people who follow the NBA. The Las Vegas Summer League had some of the most buzz in sports with guys like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Dante Exum and Julius Randle playing. However, its a 2013 second round pick who is garnering all of the bright lights in Vegas this summer and his name is Glen Rice Jr.
Rice has been on the NBA's radar ever since he took a full scholarship to play at Georgia Tech University, however, the road has been more rocky that anyone could have guessed. He played three seasons at the school before finally being kicked off of the team following an incident an Atlanta nightclub. Unfortunately his career at the school will mostly be remembered for the off-court issues and multiple suspensions levied on Rice, but he did average 13.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in 21 games for GT his junior year.
After finishing out his academic year at GT, Rice decided to head to the NBA D-League and ended up playing the 2012/13 season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He appeared in 42 games, starting 25 of them, and posted averages of 13.0 points and 6.2 rebounds during the regular season.But It was the playoffs and D-League Finals that really propelled the swingman back onto the NBA landscape.
The Rio Grande Valley Vipers ended up winning the NBADL Championship that year and Rice led the way in the playoffs with 25.0 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists. What's more, he took home the D-League Finals MVP trophy to boot.
That playoff performance was enough for the Washington Wizards to trade up (they traded picks 38 and 54 to the Philadelphia 76ers) to the 35th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, so that they could select the intriguing youngster. Although Rice probably felt like he showed enough in the D-League the season before, he split his rookie season between The Association and the D-League.
Rice played in 19 games for the Iowa Energy of the NBADL posting 17.2 points and 6.2 rebounds on 46.4 percent shooting. Those games came during two assignments to the D-League and when he was up on the Wizards' team, he played 11 games while averaging only 9.9 minutes per game on the season. Quite uneventful, but that to be expected, as the Wizards boasted a playoff roster with Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster all ahead of Rice on the depth chart.
Fast forward to this summer and the current Las Vegas Summer League and Rice has been a revelation on the offensive end of the ball. He's leading the LVSL in scoring at 25.0 points and is leading the Wizards with 7.8 rebounds as well. It's not wise to go crazy over summer league production but clearly Rice is ready to play a role for the Wizards this season. He has been shooting a lot to acquire his points but he's also been very efficient shooting 47% from the floor, 36% from deep and 73% from the free throw line.
The charity stripe line has been key for Rice, because he's been very aggressive and he's been rewarded for those efforts with 10.7 free throw attempts per game (64 total FTAs) so far during summer league. While he can shoot from outside as well, Rice has had a great balance this summer with 36 three point attempts (made 13) and 60 two point attempts (made 32).
Rice performed so well that Sunday the Las Vegas Summer League announced that he has been named Most Valuable Player for the offseason session.