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NBA Summer League: The Must-Sign List
Posted By Tommy Beer On July 26, 2013 @ 12:00 pm In Main Page,NBA Summer League | No Comments
The NBA Summer League in Las Vegas is viewed by many fans as the first opportunity to see the NBA’s top draft picks each summer. For these former college stars, who have already inked guaranteed contracts worth millions, it is a chance to work on their game and enjoyably showcase their skills.
However, the vast majority of the players on summer league rosters arrive in Las Vegas with far more pressure on their shoulders. Most of these athletes are fighting for their professional lives. Latching on with an NBA team may be a long shot, but they will have the eyes of incalculable number of scouts, agents and coaches – all in one convenient location. This presents an incredible opportunity to prove their worth and earn a rare, but extremely coveted, NBA contract.
In the days following the festivities in Las Vegas, we have already seen one summer league star turn his NBA dream into a reality. Ian Clark, who was named MVP of the championship game on Monday night, had inked a deal with the Utah Jazz 48 hours later.
Listed below are a handful of other players who performed extremely well in Vegas and are hoping to parlay that success into a contract offer from an NBA organization or, at the very least, an invite to a training camp.
Jack Cooley: Cooley put up solid numbers during a stellar career at Notre Dame. As a senior, he averaged a double-double (13.1 points and 10.1 rebounds) for the Fighting Irish, but was viewed as an undersized center in the NBA, which hurt his stock and resulted in him failing to get selected in the 2013 NBA Draft. Cooley was looking to show he could overcome these perceived shortcomings in Las Vegas, and absolutely did just that. Playing for the Memphis Grizzlies, Cooley was without question one of the best big men all week long, outplaying many more highly-touted prospects and high draft picks. Over the course of six games, he averaged 15.0 points (on 52.7 percent shooting), 9.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. His strong showing raised the eyes of talent evaluators across the NBA, and in a league starving for quality bigs, it’s safe to assume Cooley will field a few offers before training camps start next month.
Andrew Goudelock: Goudelock was selected in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, and had shown intermittent flashes of promise during his two seasons in L.A. including an impressive performance for the undermanned Lakers during the 2013 postseason. However, the Lakers decided to let him walk and Goudelock played for the Chicago Bulls entry in Las Vegas this summer. Goudelock displayed the scoring prowess and deft shooting touch that initially earned him a place in the NBA out of college – averaging a stout 19 points per game in Vegas, while shooting a scorching 52.2 percent from three-point territory. Having again proven that he belongs in the league, it would be surprising if Goudelock isn’t on an NBA roster by opening night.
Malcolm Thomas: After appearing in a handful of games for the Chicago Bulls during the 2012-13 regular season, Thomas started three contests for Chicago during summer league action and was a beast on the boards each time out. He averaged a league-high 15 rebounds per contest, and pulled down a Las Vegas Summer League record 22 rebounds (including a whopping 10 offensive boards) in a win over the Denver Nuggets. However, the Bulls decided to waive Thomas the day after the league came to a close. Bulls general manager Gar Forman later claimed he would consider bringing Thomas back at some point, as Chicago still has one open roster spot. The question is, will another organization scoop up Thomas before the Bulls get a chance to bring him back into the fold?
Jackie Carmichael: Many pundits predicted Carmichael would be selected in the second round of the draft back in June, but he ended up going undrafted. However, the rugged and experienced (23 years old) big man was able to turn heads in Vegas and may secure a spot in the NBA despite the draft day disappointment. It is often tough for power forwards and centers to produce consistently in summer league action, as the play is frequently controlled by guards who dominate the ball, and Carmichael was sometimes ineffective on the offensive end. However, when featured, he showed flashes of great potential, as evidenced by his 23-point explosion against the Los Angeles Clippers. He also made the most of his opportunities, converting over 61 percent of his field goal attempts in Vegas. He also did a solid job protecting the paint, blocking a game-high seven shots in a game against the Golden State Warriors.
Josh Akognon: Listed at just 5’11, the diminutive guard bounced around the Chinese Basketball Association and D-League while also appearing in three games for the Dallas Mavericks. Playing alongside the more heralded Gel Mekel in Vegas, Akognon more than held his own during Dallas’ six summer league contests. Akognon scored at least 16 points and hit at least three shots from beyond the arc in five of the Mavs’ six games. Still, due to a salary cap crunch, the Mavs were forced to waive him this week. However, it has been reported that the Memphis Grizzlies placed a waiver claim to secure his services.
Jeremy Tyler: Tyler’s raw ability is hard to miss. Solidly built at 6’10 and 260 pounds, Tyler is also a fluid athlete with quick feet and good hands. But at just 22 years of age, he hasn’t been able to put it all together yet. He has enjoyed brief cups of coffee with both the Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors, but wasn’t able to make a lasting impression. However, he played well for the New York Knicks in Vegas and may have found an NBA home, as the Knicks (who currently have three open roster spots) officially offered him a camp invite upon the conclusion of summer league play. Tyler averaged 12.8 points and 6.4 boards, but more important than the stats was the energy he brought to the proceedings every time he stepped on the floor. If he can learn to harness that intensity positively (i.e. not yelling at the refs and getting overly physical with opponents), the Knicks may have found a budding young big man.
Tony Taylor: Taylor spent last season in the D-League, as a point guard for the Tulsa 66′ers. In Vegas, he was playing point for the Miami HEAT, and he was steady and solid as the facilitator of the Miami offense. One of his better performances came against his home town team, as the native New Yorker helped lead Miami to a 113-66 thrashing of the Knicks. He followed that up with an 11-point effort in the HEAT’s next game. Taylor will be looking to parlay his summer success into an NBA training camp invite this Fall.
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