Las Vegas Summer League Day 9: Studs, Duds
On a day when there was no Damian Lillard, no Meyers Leonard, and no Norris Cole, Austin Rivers, or Eric Bledsoe, you’d expect the competition at the Las Vegas Summer League to get a little dreary. That really wasn’t the case on Saturday, though, as a ton of the remaining big names had pretty solid outings in those guys’ places.
At the same time, the “duds” for today were few and far between, at least in terms of the guys with any sort of expectations. A few are listed below because, let’s face it, there always some duds, but the studs definitely outweighed them today. In general, basketball looked about as good as it has all week, probably due to the fact that teams are building some chemistry just in time to be done with it all.
In any event, here are the studs and duds from Day 9 of the Las Vegas Summer League:
Will Barton, Portland Trail Blazers – With both Damian Lillard and Meyers Leonard taking the last game of the week off, Barton was thrust into a situation in which he was given the opportunity to shine, and shine he did. He played all 40 minutes of the game and scored 27 points on 10-for-17 shooting from the field, including 4-for-8 from three. Barton has been strong all week (the Portland Summer League team in general has been the most entertaining to watch by a mile), and this last performance vaults him into the spotlight as an early favorite to be the second-round steal of the 2012 draft.
Xavier Henry, New Orleans Hornets – Lottery pick Austin Rivers sat out his second straight game, paving the way for Henry to light it up for 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists against the Warriors. Henry is one of the more experienced and talented players here, so his performance isn’t all that surprising, particularly with Rivers out.
Jae Crowder, Dallas Mavericks – Other than the fact that Crowder looks almost exactly like Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Fareid, Crowder’s claim to fame here in Vegas has been standing out in a crowd of mediocre players. He’s physically more developed than many of these guys, and that’s probably why it was so easy to drop 21 points and 6 rebounds in an overtime win over the Spurs. He would’ve gotten even more love had he sunk a missed shot at the end of regulation to win the game. Still, he looked like one of the more seasoned rookies here all week.
Cory Joseph, San Antonio Spurs – Joseph rebounded from a hard day yesterday by putting up 18 points, 5 assists, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals in the overtime loss to Dallas. Not many Spurs have really stood out this week (other than Kawhi Leonard), but Joseph has probably shown more flashes than anybody else on that roster. He’s got some talent, but hasn’t been consistent with it.
Malcolm Thomas, Chicago Bulls – Thomas has had a double-double in each of his first four Summer League games, though tonight was probably his best overall showing yet. He finished the game with 21 points and16 rebounds, and is actually leading the entire Summer League in rebounds per game. He seems like a sure thing to get a camp invite from the Bulls, and guaranteed NBA money might be someone where in his near future, too.
Wes Johnson, Minnesota Timberwolves – While Johnson had a hard time knocking down shots during the season, Summer League defenses are quite a bit less frustrating, which is probably why he scored 28 points against the D-League Select team on Saturday night. Yes, it’s the D-League, but that’s still the highest point total for the day.
Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns – Despite his 4 turnovers, Morris looked great in a win over Memphis to wrap up Phoenix’s Summer League schedule. On 10-for-17 shooting from the floor, Morris scored 25 points, but he also hauled in a game-high 11 rebounds. Both of those outputs were Morris’s best of the week.
Josh Selby, Memphis Grizzlies – Selby has been one of the top players here all week, and he had a stupendous game once again, posting 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists in the loss to the Suns. There’s not a whole lot new to say about Selby, because we’ve been saying the same things every time he steps on the Thomas & Mack floor.
Austin Freeman, New Orleans Hornets – Freeman, the preseason Big East Conference Player of the Year for Georgetown in 2010, did not look like any player of any year on Saturday, posting only 6 points on 2-for-10 shooting in 31 minutes. Freeman played in Italy last year, and with output like that it’s going to be difficult to break onto an NBA roster.
James Anderson, San Antonio Spurs – You’d expect one of the few actual NBA players on the Spurs’ Summer League roster to put up a more dominant effort than 13 points on 3-for-11 shooting, but Anderson definitely struggled on Saturday. His 5 turnovers in the overtime loss to the Mavs didn’t help his cause much, either.
Demetri McCamey, Chicago Bulls – The former University of Illinois standout spent way too much time dribbling the ball outside of the three-point line, and that slowing down of the offense didn’t do any good for him or his team. In about 13 minutes of play, the shooting guard didn’t score any points and missed both of his shots. Both of those shots, by the way, were threes.
Sunday is the final day of Summer League, so stay plugged in and enjoy what little summer hoops remain before we enter the lull before preseason. There’s lot of talent here, and many of these kids will end up on NBA rosters next season. Check the “studs” from the last several days if you’re curious as to who those guys are.