While top-picks Ben McLemore, Otto Porter and Cody Zeller all struggled to stand out in their debuts, other Summer Leaguers have already excited their GMs. Here are 6 players who’ve made some noise in their 2013 Vegas Summer League debuts.
Austin Rivers – New Orleans Pelicans
After having statistically one of the worst rookie seasons ever, Austin Rivers came to play in Friday’s Vegas SL opener against the Knicks. He dropped 24 points on 8-15 from the field, and also added 7 rebounds and 6 assists. No one needed a reputation-saving first game like this more than Rivers. The only problem for Rivers now is that he’ll be be fighting for minutes and shots against 4 other players on his own team – Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, Jrue Holiday and Brian Roberts.
Jeffery Taylor – Charlotte Bobcats
The Swedish-born second-year guard out of Vanderbilt, Jeffery Taylor, had 24 of his team’s 68 points and threw down a monstrous dunk on hopeless big man, Aron Baynes. Taylor could swipe some minutes from the vastly overpaid, Ben Gordon (13.2 million in 2013-14), and make a nice contribution for the Bobcats this upcoming season.
Deshaun Thomas – San Antonio Spurs
In an earlier post, I wrote how Deshaun Thomas would be the steal of the draft (58th overall). After Thomas scored 18 points on 7-13 from the field in his opening game, I haven’t changed my opinion. He shot the ball well (2-4 from three), took it strong to the hoop, and played serviceable defense. His future success in the NBA shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Spurs, one again, look like they found great value late in the draft.
Reggie Bullock – Los Angeles Clippers
Reggie Bullock showed a silky shooting touch that will fit in perfectly with the roster that the Clippers are trying to build around cornerstones, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Bullock finished with 18 points on 8-15 from the field in his Vegas SL debut, and blocked 3 shots. Bullock is a player who’s game translates perfectly to the NBA. UNC seems to churn these guys out – Danny Green comes to mind.
C.J. McCollum – Portland Trail Blazers
C.J. McCollum, the small-school star from Lehigh who’s drawn similarities to future-teammate Damian Lillard, played very well in his SL debut by scoring 22 points on 9-19 from the floor. He should learn quickly under Lillard, and see the floor immediately for the Blazers – possibly in a small lineup alongside Lillard.
Andrew Goudelock – Chicago Bulls
The former MVP of the NBDL, Andrew Goudelock, looks like he’ll get a contract somewhere even if it’s not with the Bulls. In his first game in Vegas, Goudelock put up 26 points on an efficient 9-15. Goudelock has always been able to shoot the ball, but at just 6’3”, is a tough sell for most teams on the defensive end. As the week continues, we’ll see if he can continue to open up some eyes as a future scoring weapon off the bench.
- NBA Summer League 2013: First Impressions from Day 1 of Action (bleacherreport.com)
- Las Vegas Summer League: 10 snapshot evaluations from the first two days (nba.si.com)