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Las Vegas Summer League Day 2: Studs, Duds
Posted By Alex Kennedy On July 15, 2012 @ 12:28 pm In All,NBA Summer League | No Comments
The Las Vegas Summer League is full of surprises. In this environment, you never know which players are going to shine and which players are going to struggle. Sometimes, the biggest games come from reserves weren’t expected to do anything and some of the worst games come from big-name players who were labeled as studs just 24 hours earlier. Here’s a look at the studs and duds from Saturday:
Tony Wroten, Memphis Grizzlies – Wroten was everywhere on day two, making plays all over the court and filling the stat sheet. The 25th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft came off of the bench and contributed 19 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals in 24 minutes. There were a lot of questions about Wroten’s shot and ability to run an offense, but he looked excellent in the Grizzlies’ first game. If he can continue to play at this level and erase the concerns that caused him to slip on draft night, Wroten may end up playing a role for Memphis during his rookie season.
Jeremy Lamb, Houston Rockets – There’s no question that Lamb can score the ball. With Donatas Motijunas, Royce White and Marcus Morris struggling to get going on offense, Lamb took over for the Houston Rockets. He finished with 26 points on 8-15 shooting. While Houston lost to the Washington Wizards by six points, it was Lamb’s excellent outing that kept the Rockets in the game.
Josh Akognon, Sacramento Kings – After not playing during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers, Akognon checked into the game and put on a show. The rookie guard finished with 25 points on 10-16 shooting from the field, and was a big reason the Kings were able to get the win. With Jimmer and Fredette and Thomas Robinson struggling to find their shot on day two, Akognon was exactly what Sacramento needed off of the bench. He’ll likely see more time in game three and it’ll be interesting to see if he can follow up his surprise performance with another big game.
Charles Jenkins, Golden State Warriors – After struggling to find his shot on day one, Jenkins led the Warriors to a 21-point victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday. He finished with 24 points on 9-12 shooting and he also chipped in two assists and three steals. Golden State is arguably the most talented team in Las Vegas because they feature so many players that can take over the game from Klay Thompson to Harrison Barnes to Jenkins. Thompson led the way on day one, but it was Jenkins’ turn to put on a show on day two.
Josh Selby, Memphis Grizzlies – Selby was excellent on day two, scoring the ball at will and putting his teammates in position to score. He finished with 20 points on 7-11 shooting and he formed a great one-two punch with Tony Wroten in Memphis’ backcourt. Selby did a great job of getting the Grizzlies out in transition, which led to easy baskets for himself and his teammates. In the past, Selby would try to do too much in these games and make poor decisions. However, that wasn’t the case on Saturday. He made the right play more often than not and let the game come to him. Overall, it was a very efficient and impressive performance for Selby.
Robert Sacre, Los Angeles Lakers – The 60th overall pick in the draft recorded a double-double against the Sacramento Kings, finishing with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Sacre has been making an impact down low, using his size and athleticism to cause problems for the opposition. While he still has plenty of room to improve, particularly his post moves and footwork, he’s the epitome of a hustle player. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to help the Lakers win games and he has emerged as a vocal leader for the team. Sacre is the kind of player you want to have around your team and he was able to make an impact on day two.
Donatas Motiejunas, Houston Rockets – One day after being named the top stud, Motiejunas struggled to contribute against the Washington Wizards. He finished the game with one point on 0-5 shooting from the field. Motiejunas also had four turnovers and four fouls. The Wizards completely took him out of the game, making him a non-factor in 22 minutes, which is disappointing for the Rockets since he showed so much promise in the team’s first game. In game three, it’ll be interesting to see which Motiejunas shows up. Will it be the star who had 25 points and nine rebounds on day one or the non-factor who had one point and four rebounds yesterday?
Chinemelu Elonu, Los Angeles Lakers – While Elonu was able to contribute six points on 3-6 shooting and grab eight rebounds, he was simply outmatched on the defensive end. He struggled to slow down the opposition so he resorted to hacking anyone and everyone who entered the paint. Elonu finished with 11 fouls in 22 minutes, which means he would have almost fouled out twice if this were a real NBA game. Elonu needs to limit his fouls going forward because it gave the Sacramento Kings plenty of easy points from the charity stripe. He also needs to limit his turnovers in game three.
Zoran Dragic, Houston Rockets – It wasn’t a good afternoon for Dragic. Not only did he struggle offensively, finishing with four points on 1-8 shooting from the field, he also picked up six fouls in 26 minutes. He had his shot blocked three times and couldn’t get going. With Chandler Parsons sitting out, this was an opportunity for Dragic to take on a bigger role, but he struggled on day two.
Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets – Kenneth Faried wasn’t awful on day two. For most players, a 10-point, eight-rebound and three-block performance would be very good. However, Faried is one of the best players competing in the Las Vegas Summer League so he’s held to a higher standard than some of his journeymen peers. Faried shot 4-15 from the field on Saturday afternoon and didn’t dominate the game like he’s capable of doing. The Nuggets want to see him and Jordan Hamilton take over and lead the team. That didn’t happen on Saturday, which is a big reason that Denver lost to the Golden State Warriors by 19 points. Faried wasn’t bad, but he needs to do more going forward.
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors – Green struggled on the offensive end, scoring just 6 points and missing four of the five shots he attempted. He also picked up seven fouls in 24 minutes, which is something that he’ll have to improve going forward. Green deserves credit for continuing to contribute even when his shot wasn’t falling. He grabbed six rebounds and had four steals so he wasn’t a non-factor. Green is also one of the most charismatic players in Las Vegas, constantly cheering on his teammates and lightening the mood with a joke or impromptu dance. This was a bad day for him, but he should be able to bounce back in the Warriors’ third game.
New York Knicks – The Knicks simply don’t have much talent on their roster and that was evident in their embarrassing loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday afternoon. The Grizzlies dominated the game from the opening tip and were able to rest their starters late. Outside of James White, who decided to play with the Summer League team after signing with the Knicks last week, there may not be another NBA player on New York’s roster. On day two, even White struggled to contribute, finishing with four points on 1-4 shooting from the field. While the Knicks had players like J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Baron Davis representing them in the stands, they didn’t have much talent representing them on the court. The Knicks need someone to step up for them in game two.
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