The Las Vegas Summer League tips off today, and I couldn’t be more ready to watch new players. I have an active streak of watching at least 1 half of every game, and let me tell ya, I think I’ve seen enough of these 10 teams. Also, the first game today tips at 8am which really sucks for the Pistons (2-2) and Heat (2-2), and may also be detrimental to my streak – I’ll make it for the second half.
At 12pm ET, the Rockets play the Thunder in the Orlando Summer League Championship game and the winning team gets… well most of the players get cut, and two or so players from each team make the actual rosters. The NBA is a heartless business. Anyways, here’s my wrap-up of yesterday’s games.
Pacers (2-2) 79 Jazz (2-2) 73 – “Burke… Struggles Again”
Just one day removed from receiving a kindergarten-style timeout, Trey Burke was back in the lineup for the Jazz yesterday. But not long after an encouraging left-handed finish early in the first quarter, again, Burke struggled. He finished with an inefficient 8 points on 3-15 from the field, and 0-5 from three. Yikes – this is getting a little awkward for the Jazz. Although I don’t see Raul Neto as a serious contender for Burke’s job, it wouldn’t be the most ridiculous scenario if they battled for minutes in camp. Jamaal Tinsley, Earl Watson and Mo Williams were on the Jazz last season and are still unsigned… Utah may want to resign at least one – at the very least to help Burke’s and Neto’s transition into the league.
On the plus side for the Jazz, Rudy Gobert had another nice game with 11 points 8 rebounds and 3 blocks. After holding Mason Plumlee to 4 points yesterday, Gobert held the other brother, Miles, to just 6. It’s fair to say that despite a small sample size, Gobert owns the Plumlees. In ten years, we shall revisit this statement.
For the Pacers, Solomon Hill had another steady performance, shooting 4-9 from the field – all of his makes, threes. Other than Plumlee and Orlando Johnson, (12 points 4 assists), Solomon Hill might be the only other guy to make the Pacers regular season roster.
Pistons (2-2) 78 Heat (2-2) 77 – “Drummond’s 23 Shots & Stephen’s 4 Three Pointers”
Before rolling his ankle late in the 4th quarter, Peyton Siva earned himself a spot on an NBA roster. He stuffed the stat sheet with 9 points 9 assists and 7 steals, and gained the respect of his teammates – especially Drummond – who raved about Siva in his interview after the game.
As for the game, it had a fun finish. Down 77-76, Tony Mitchell (7 points 9 rebounds) flushed down the game-winning hoop with 1.7 seconds on the clock, on a seemingly broken play that began with a partially blocked floater off a Korie Lucious drive. Other notable performers were Andre Drummond who finished with 23 points 18 rebounds (Orlando SL Record) and 2 big-boy blocks, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who had a quiet 15 points on 3-7 from the field and 8-10 from the line.
As for the Heat – I cannot tell you why, but I can tell you that D.J. Stephens attempted 4 three-pointers in today’s game (to provide context; he took only 44 threes in three seasons at Memphis). Needless to say, he missed all four, but ended with an entertaining 6 points, 4 rebounds and 2 video game style blocks. He may be playing the wrong sport, but it’s fair to say that I was far more entertained when he was in the game than when he wasn’t. That counts for something. #SignD.J.
Rockets (4-0) 92 Nets (0-4) 76 – “Tyshawn & Terrence”
The only two players I cared to watch closely in this game were second year guys, Tyshawn Taylor and Terrence Jones, as each of their roles will expand in the upcoming season for their respective teams.
With the departure of C.J. Watson, the Nets are leaving their backup point guard duties to the fragile-kneed (if you are squeamish, do not watch), Shaun Livingston and the erratic, Tyshawn Taylor (15 points 7 assists 4 turnovers). At times Taylor’s quickness is his best attribute, but other times it can be his achilles heal. Taylor’s and Livingston’s job will be to simply minimize the drop-off when starter, Deron Williams, is on the bench, and the Nets are hoping this tandem will be sufficient. Taylor has been scoring at a decent clip (16.8 PPG), but like most Summer League point guards, he needs to take better care of the ball (5.7 TPG).
For the Rockets, Terrence Jones had another encouraging performance with 16 points on 6-13 from the field, and 2-6 from three. Again, he’s looking comfortable handling the ball and breaking down his defender, and has improved his shooting touch from mid and long range. Ultimately, Jones is beginning to look more like his ceiling, Lamar Odom (pre-Kardashian), and less like his basement, Jerome Moiso. Educated Celtics fans know all about the Jerome Moiso basement.
Magic (2-2) 90 76ers 89 (0-4) – “Victor(y) Oladipo”
In his penultimate performance of the 2013 Orlando Summer League, Victor Oladipo stole the show. He put up 24 points 6 assists and 3 steals, and capped off his dominant performance with a step-back 2 point game-winning jumper over Michael Carter-Williams (11 points 9 assists 8 turnovers). In the battle of the two lottery picks, it was clear who won this one. Not MCW.
Andrew Nicholson added 23 for the Magic, while Arnett Moultrie led the Sixers with 23 points and 12 boards. Mo Harkless and James Southerland also added 15 points for the Magic and 76ers, respectively.