After a one year lockout hiatus, the NBA held their Las Vegas Summer League from July 13-22 with 23 NBA teams and the D-League Select Team. I was there for all 10 days of games, and if you haven’t been there before, I recommend you make sure to get there next year. I was able to see each team at least three times, and for a few teams, was able to see all five of their games. Here is a review and my thoughts on each of the teams that were out there:
Atlanta Hawks (2-3)
The good news for Hawks’ fans is that 2012 first round pick John Jenkins did exactly what many people knew he was capable of doing. Jenkins showed he is a great spot-up shooter from long-range and with that, he does a great job drawing defenders out to the perimeter, creating space for others. However, while he can get defenders up in the air with a fantastic shot fake, he needs to be able to capitalize by making his next decision and movement much quicker. 2012 second round pick Mike Scott had some good moments as well during the week, but he was prone to mistakes when moving outside his comfort zone. Scott did a very good job hitting the mid-range jumper and posting up on smaller defenders, but when he tried to make plays himself, he was definitely out of his element. Free agent point guards Brad Wanamaker and Jordan Taylor both did an admirable job running the Hawks’ offense, though Wanamaker showed a better all-around feel for the game, and definitely showed enough to get a camp invite this fall. Former Hawks’ draft pick Keith Benson showed a much more mature game in the post than he did at the start of last season, and with a little more work in the D-League, he may earn himself a spot in the NBA soon. Rookie free agent John Shurna also showed a nice feel for the game, especially on the defensive end, but needs to be more aggressive if he wants to earn himself an NBA position.
Boston Celtics (3-2)
After a successful week in Orlando, the Boston Celtics’ summer league squad made their way out to Vegas and continued to impress. 2012 first round pick Jared Sullinger showed some very good promise, especially with his ability to take larger defenders off the dribble, as well as with rebounding. Even many of his issues with larger defenders in the post can be fixed with some adjustments, like not using wasted dribbles after he catches a past around the basket. As for the back “issue”, there was no sign of any issues while he played. Fellow 2012 first rounder Fab Melo did a very good job defending around the basket, and was a surprise in how well he ran the floor when the tempo picked up. 2012 Second Round pick Kris Joseph showed more than expected on both sides of the floor, but he still needs to work on not forcing his shots. Free agent guard Dionte Christmas earned himself a contract with his play over the last 2 weeks, and with good reason. Christmas showed excellent maturity in his decision-making on the floor and it was tough to find many who out-worked him. He is not a great shooter, but he goes hard to the basket and draws help defenders well. I had been looking forward to watching 2011 draft picks JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore in Las Vegas, but they were traded to Houston during the week as part of the Courtney Lee deal.
Charlotte Bobcats (4-1)
The Charlotte entry in the Vegas Summer League was one of the most-enjoyable this week, for many reasons. New head coach Mike Dunlap was on the sidelines leading the team, and the team looked like a group that people would associate with his hard-working style. 2012 first round pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist played only one game due to injury, and while the numbers were impressive (18 points, 8 rebounds), his game really was not. He did show some good defensive ability, but his offense at this point will not cut it in the NBA. The Bobcats’ two 2011 first round picks, Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo, both impressed me during the week. Walker showed that he is capable of handling both half-court and transition offenses, and his on-ball defense continues to improve. Biyombo is far from a polished NBA player, but I was glad to see that his footwork in the post is continuing to develop, and he may be a decent player in a few more years. Byron Mullens had some good moments during the week, but he still spends too much time taking bad jumpers on the offensive end. 2012 second round pick Jeff Taylor had a very good week, showing he is more than ready to handle playing significant minutes as a rookie.
Chicago Bulls (1-4)
Jimmy Butler was the big story this week for the Bulls, showing much improved offensive ability to go along with his already tough defense. Butler was able to knock down mid-range jumpers off the dribble and was also strong taking the ball to the rim. If he can start hitting his long-range jumper consistently, Butler could become a more integral part of the Bulls’ offense. Marquis Teague, on the other hand, did very little to show why Chicago would spend a first round pick on him. He handled the ball fairly well, but he can’t shoot, makes poor decisions, and didn’t defend well. Free agent forward Malcolm Thomas put up good numbers (11.4 ppg, 12.4 rpg), but nothing he did really impressed. He does play hard and has a good nose for the ball, but still lacks the polish to be an NBA player. Free agent guards Jermaine Taylor and Ramone Moore both had some good moments, but neither was consistent enough to earn a camp invite. Free agent forward Olek Czyz never stopped working out on the court, and plays much tougher than his size. He needs time to develop his offense to fit the speed of the NBA game, but he isn’t as far off as many may believe. Free agent center Henry Sims played well when he was working out of the high post, where his ability to pass and take men off the dribble could be highlighted, but he still needs to develop the toughness needed for the NBA post.
Cleveland Cavaliers (3-2)
Cleveland’s week got off to a bad start with the news that Kyrie Irving had broken his hand. While Irving was not expected to play much in Las Vegas, it was still disappointing news. Things only got worse when 2012 first round pick Dion Waiters took the court. The 4th overall pick showed very little in three games other than that he likes to force his way into the lane and take a lot of shots. There has been talk of injury and conditioning issues, so I will just leave it there. The Cavs’ other 2012 first round pick, Tyler Zeller, was much more impressive, showing the ability to finish in a variety of ways, while rebounding and playing tough defense on the other end of the floor. An in-shape Samardo Samuels was also a highlight for Cleveland during the week. While his defensive ability is still lacking, he showed improved footwork and shooting ability. 2011 first round pick Tristan Thompson also played well in limited minutes. His athletic ability is unquestioned, but he also appeared to play much stronger and tougher than expected. Free agent guards Donald Sloan and DJ Kennedy put up impressive efforts, playing tough defense and doing what they needed to try and keep the offense moving.
Dallas Mavericks (4-1)
The play of Dallas’ two second round picks, Jae Crowder and Bernard James, made this a successful week. Crowder played superbly on both sides of the ball, and though he still needs to become a more consistent shooter, he finds ways to make things happen. James showed the maturity and toughness he is known for, but was also playing very well in transition, which was a pleasant surprise. 2012 first round pick Jared Cunningham did not play, but former first round pick, Dominique Jones did and that was far from pleasant. I saw every one of Dallas’ games in Las Vegas and Jones did nothing to merit being named a Summer League all-star. He is a volume shooter who hasn’t improved in a few seasons. He isn’t bad in transition, but I don’t see his time in the league lasting much longer unless he makes a serious leap soon. I was actually more impressed by how D-League veteran Justin Dentmon ran the team and guarded the ball. Rookie free agent Drew Gordon had some good movements, but he never seemed to get in the flow of the offense.
Denver Nuggets (1-4)
Though the Nuggets left Vegas with only one win, from what I watched, there seemed to be a lot of good that came out of the week. Second year player Jordan Hamilton showed a lot more maturity to his game during the week, including a more complete effort on the offensive end. He still needs to work on becoming a more efficient scorer, as well as a better perimeter defender, but he certainly looks a lot better than he did coming into the league. 2012 first round pick Evan Fournier has a very polished smoothness to his game. Unfortunately, he accomplishes very little easily. He needs to become much quicker with his decisions on offense, and learn how to defend much more athletic players on the perimeter. Kenneth Faried played in three games, and he did what he does well – getting up and down the floor in transition and using his athleticism to get to missed shots. Skill-wise, there has been a slight improvement, but he is still far from what I would call a good basketball player. Luckily, Denver’s offense doesn’t require more from him. 2012 second round pick Quincy Miller played much more aggressive than I have ever seen him, and if he stays healthy, his best days are still ahead of him. I was impressed with the point guard combo of Derwin Kitchen and Demonte Harper. Both played tough defense, and Kitchen did a very good job keeping the offense moving.
Golden State Warriors (5-0)
There wasn’t much to complain about the Warriors’ time in Las Vegas. Klay Thompson played in a pair of games and showed why he is one of the league’s top rookies last season. He hit 10 out of 14 three-pointers attempted in the two games, and will pair well with 2012 first round pick Harrison Barnes, who also had an impressive week in Las Vegas. Barnes showed why he may be one of the best pure scorers in this past draft class, with the ability to score in a variety of ways, including hitting the mid-range jumper off the dribble and posting up smaller defenders. Barnes also did a good job guarding quicker players on the perimeter. A pair of Warriors’ second round picks, Charles Jenkins (2011) and Draymond Green (2012), also had very good weeks. Jenkins did a very good job getting into the lane and drawing contact, which translated into easy points (27-28 from free throw line.) Green did exactly what you would expect him to do; he rebounded well, set solid screens and played tough defense. The revelation of the week was rookie free agent Kent Bazemore. Bazemore, who lived up to his reputation as a very good defender, also earned himself a contract by hitting open jumpers and facilitating the offense. The Warriors’ other 2012 first round pick, Festus Ezeli, showed he can be a physical player, but needs to continue to develop some finesse to his offensive game. Ezeli still showed more than Jeremy Tyler, who is still a few years away from being a decent NBA role player.
Houston Rockets (4-1)
The focus for the Rockets was on a slew of first round draft picks from the past two years. 2011 first round picks Marcus Morris and Donatas Motiejunas were on display, as well as 2012 picks Jeremy Lamb, Royce White, and Terrence Jones. For many people, this was the first look at Motiejunas, and I am sure he impressed many. He is a very good spot-up perimeter shooter, but he is nowhere near strong enough to play around the basket against normal NBA players. Also, with some improvement, he could become an average defender, but he wasn’t even close in Vegas. Morris was disappointing in his three appearances, not showing the toughness or scoring ability around the basket that he should. Lamb showed he has the skills to be a good NBA scorer, especially from mid-range, but he really needs to work on his shot selection. There was a lot of talk about White during the week, due to some spectacular passes he made. However, I’m not sure why people tend to ignore that he has very poor decision-making skills. For every spectacular pass he made, there were two he shouldn’t have even tried. There is no doubt he is talented on the offensive end, but he is far from being ready to be an efficient player in the Houston offense. Jones had the same issues that dogged him in college. When he tries, he is a very good, especially scoring around the basket and hitting the boards. The issue is that his effort isn’t near consistent enough that I would trust him for long stretches of time on the court. Chandler Parsons made one appearance at Summer League, and you can already see how much his playing time last season helped him to grow as a player, especially in his aggressiveness on offense. Free agent rookie Scott Machado did what was expected – he was very good in transition, getting to the basket or finding open teammates; also, he was not so good in the half-court, trying to force plays that weren’t there. If he wants a spot in the NBA, he really needs to become much better at running a half-court offense. Zoran Dragic, unfortunately, is nowhere near as talented as his brother and will likely only be remembered for a hard foul which ended Nolan Smith’s Summer League. Courtney Fortson made some decent plays, but I would be surprised if he isn’t back in the D-League again for significant time.
Los Angeles Clippers (2-3)
The Clippers’ Summer League journey was highlighted by a free agent trying to make his own journey back to the NBA – Adam Morrison. Morrison looked like a tougher version of the scoring machine he was in college, hitting shots from all areas and angles (20 ppg, 55% FG, 62% 3FG). He is still not a great defender, but if a team needs a scorer off the bench, they can do a lot worse than a confident Morrison. Eric Bledsoe did a good job getting back to his point guard roots, getting the ball to the hot hand and taking on some scoring if needed. Talor Battle also did an admirable job as a scoring point guard when needed, and showed the ability to get his shot off at his size. Hilton Armstrong and Marcus Hubbard both played tough around the basket, and with Gary McGhee, helped the Clippers on the boards. While they didn’t get a lot of time, both Mickey McConnell and Cameron Moore filled their roles well and continue to improve.
Los Angeles Lakers (1-4)
One of the lowlights of the Vegas Summer League was this mess of a team that the Lakers fielded. A lot of the problems could be directed at Darius Morris. The ball spent way too much time in his hands, which often ended in a bad shot, for an attempt to force the ball to the basket or a teammate. Add to that some sub-par defense, and I will be surprised if Morris sees any significant time in the NBA soon. Christian Eyenga provided some spectacular plays with his athleticism, but unless he gets some open space on the floor, you aren’t going to get much out of him. The two 2012 Lakers’ second round picks showed some promise during the week. Darius Johnson-Odom didn’t really play well on the offensive end, but he played the tough on-ball defense that we expect from him. Robert Sacre also did what he does well, playing tough defense in the post, and being able to score from 8 to 10 feet in. He still needs to work on becoming quicker on both ends, but he still has the ability to be a solid bench player down the line. Andrew Goudelock didn’t have a good shooting week, but a lot of that fell on the point guards, who couldn’t get him the ball in good spots. It was a surprise to see former UCLA Bruin Reeves Nelson out there, but it was clear to see he was overmatched. If you were hoping to read anything about Julian Khazzouh here, he was big and can hit a wide-open shot; that’s about all.
Memphis Grizzlies (2-3)
Josh Selby got a large amount of attention, and rightfully so. For a week in Las Vegas, Selby started to show some of the promise that caused people to overhype him high school. He was able to hit his jumper from all ranges, and if someone came out to guard him, he went right by him. He played good on-ball defense, though he still tends to gamble too much, and was very good in transition. 2012 first round pick Tony Wroten was exactly what was expected, a spectacular play or two sprinkled in a mass of bad decisions and even worse shooting. Matt Janning also played as many have come to expect, mixing in a good jumper with some tough plays. I was impressed with how Deon Thompson played over the week, using his toughness to rebound and defend around the rim, while also showing the ability to step out and hit 10-15 jumpers. Jeremy Pargo ran the point well in limited action, while the same can’t be said for Jerome Randle. Mitchell Watt looked good playing the role of an athletic big man, hitting the offensive boards and getting up and down the floor well. I would have liked to see Cam Tatum and Terrence Henry get more of a chance to show what they could do, but they looked ok in limited minutes.
Miami Heat (3-2)
The Heat fielded a mediocre Summer League squad, but there were still some highlights to their time in Las Vegas. Probably the most impressive player for the week was big man Dexter Pittman, who used his size and skill well to overmatch most other big men he went up against. If he can get his fitness level to the right place, he could be a viable back-up big for the World Champions. Terrel Harris played some of the best defense I saw in Vegas, and he was able to convert it to offense on many occasions. He also showed a good shooting stroke from the perimeter. Norris Cole continues to underwhelm me. He does a lot of things ok, but nothing that good. Drew Viney did an admirable job doing the little things – setting screens, hitting the boards, playing tough defense – which helped the Heat win a few games. Role players Trey Gilder, Damian Saunders and Mickell Gladness didn’t contribute much during the week.
Milwaukee Bucks (4-1)
Milwaukee was another team that impressed in a variety of ways during their Vegas stint. The most promising thing to come out of Summer League was the play of 2011 first round pick Tobias Harris and 2012 first round pick John Henson. At times, Harris was able to impose his will on opposing defenses, beating them with a good combination of speed and strength. He also played well on the defensive end, and showed a good ability to rebound and get out in transition. Henson showed more to his offensive game than he did in college, stretching the defense with mid to long range jumpers, while also showing good footwork and nice touch around the basket. He also showed the defensive ability people expected, altering shots and making things difficult for anyone who came into the lane. Big man Jarrid Famous played very well, defending the post and hitting the boards. Second round pick Doron Lamb was ok, making some plays on the offensive end, but it is never a good sign when someone who is known for their shooting ability has trouble hitting past 10 feet. I was very impressed by the way both Aaron Miles and Stefon Hannah handled point guard duties for the Bucks, with both able to add some scoring when the opportunity arose. Former first round pick Larry Sanders didn’t particularly show that much, and was clearly eclipsed by Henson during the week. While Olu Ashaolu didn’t contribute that much on either end, I love the energy he plays with when he gets the chance.
Minnesota Timberwolves (4-1)
It was a somewhat encouraging week for the Timberwolves, with 2010 first round pick Wes Johnson playing well, but 2011 first rounder Derrick Williams still struggling at times. Johnson was able to score in a variety of ways, including a decent 9 three-pointers hit. Williams is still struggling to adjust playing offense from the perimeter, but he did show some improvement, and he played some good defense all week. Coby Karl played a very nice all-around game for the Wolves, showing versatility and the ability to make plays for teammates. Luke Sikma is decent rebounder and defender, and showed some toughness around the basket. Second round pick Robbie Hummel didn’t get much of an opportunity to show what he is capable of, and he never really got in the groove on offense when he was in. He will have a long road ahead of him to make the team this fall. Hopefully, Las Vegas was the last we will hear of Paulo Prestes, who ate up a chunk of minutes and showed very little, which is more than I can say for Lior Eliyahu. The NBA game is not for everyone. A large group of free agent guards had some decent showings, especially on the offensive end, including Corey Fisher, Kammron Taylor, and Zabian Dowdell. Mike Harris was a pleasant surprise, showing versatility on both ends of the floor.
New Orleans Hornets (1-4)
There was some obvious disappointment from many people that Anthony Davis was added to the Olympic team and was not going to play in Las Vegas, including the NBA who seemed to schedule the Hornets’ games all in primetime. The Hornets’ other first round pick, Austin Rivers, was ineffective for two games before sitting out the last three with an injury. Rivers was trying too hard to force the action on the offensive end, which led to some really poor shot selection. Another former Duke Blue Devil, Lance Thomas, was a bright spot for the Hornets in Las Vegas. Thomas seemed to always outwork everyone around him for rebounds and loose balls which led to some good scoring opportunities for him. He also showed some toughness on the defensive end, often guarding much stronger players. Xavier Henry is another player who hasn’t seemed to find the right role at the NBA level. Every time he touched the ball, he looked like he was trying to make plays to impress someone, but rarely succeeded. Free agent point guard Brian Roberts wasn’t much of a distributor or playmaker, but he does have some decent scoring ability for his size. 2012 second round pick Darius Miller played hard, but offered very little on either end of the floor. Denzel Bowles played some tough defense and worked hard on the boards, but his inability to finish well around the basket really hampered him. I would have liked to have seen Jerome Dyson and Austin Freeman get more playing time, especially both are good scorers who need to get into the flow of the game.
New York Knicks (0-5)
The Knicks’ Summer League entry actually made the Lakers look good by comparison. I will start by saying that Jerome Jordan looked good in the two games he played. He ran the floor well, went strong after the ball, and was able to finish around the basket. I also enjoyed watching Art Parakhouski, who seemed to be doing all of the hard work while the rest of the team took bad shots. Free agent rookie Wesley Witherspoon had some good outings, and at times, you could see just how poorly used he was at Memphis. Chris Copeland was very tough to watch. Any time he touched the ball, he would either launch a shot immediately, or put his head down and try to force his way to the basket. Other than that, he offered little else to the Knicks. James White showed that he is good at dunking in transition, but again, not sure why the Knicks signed him. Ahmad Nivins was good when he used his strength around the basket, but too often he tried to play on the perimeter, and his shot was just not falling.
Phoenix Suns (2-3)
Though the record may not have reflected it, I believe that Phoenix had a successful Summer League. Markieff Morris had a nice all-around week, scoring in a variety of ways, hitting the boards hard, and showing some energy on the defensive side. His perimeter shot is still inconsistent, but he will continue to improve. 2012 first round pick Kendall Marshall sat out the first game, but once he took the court, he showed why he is the best true point guard prospect in years. His court vision is outstanding and it didn’t take him long to get acclimated to his new teammates. When given the opportunity, he showed that he can get to the basket well, but he will need to continue to develop his jumper to round out his offensive game. On the defensive end, he showed that while he may not have the quickness of many guards, he makes adjustments well and I don’t think it will take him long to bring those adjustments to the NBA. The rotation included four free agent forwards, DeShawn Sims, PJ Tucker, Marcus Landry and Charles Garcia. Sims and Landry showed that they can find ways to score, especially working around the baseline, but it was the awkward toughness of Tucker that seemed to impress Phoenix, who recently signed him to a deal. The guard rotation included some shooters in Matt Gatens and Erving Walker, but Diante Garrett impressed me with his control and patience when on the floor.
Portland Trail Blazers (4-1)
The Blazers had the most talked about player all week in co-MVP Damian Lillard. While Lillard showed that he is a high quality scorer, he still has a long way to go with his decision-making and defense at the NBA level. I will be very curious to see how he handles not being the focal point of the offense when he is on the floor come next season. Until an injury in his second game of the week, I was actually more impressed by Nolan Smith, who was being more aggressive with an NBA season under his belt, and showed that it is possible to score plenty of points without forcing the action. 2012 draft picks Meyers Leonard and Will Barton showed that they both have plenty of upside, but neither is ready to be major contributor soon. Leonard’s energy levels seemed to fluctuate throughout the game, and he relies more on athleticism than skill at this point. The same can be said for Barton, who is very good when he has some space to make a move, but an average defender should have no problem stopping him right now. 2010 first round pick Luke Babbitt had some good moments during the week, but he hasn’t really improved much since coming into the league. Free agent rookie point guard Dee Bost seemed to improve as the week went on and he looked to be a much better defender than he was in college. Ekene Ibekwe and Marcus Lewis handled themselves well on the defensive end in their limited minutes during the week.
Sacramento Kings (2-3)
The focus of the week for the Kings was on Jimmer Fredette, but it appeared to be the same old thing with him on the court – lots of bad shots, poor defense, and questionable decision-making. 2012 first round draft pick Thomas Robinson also had some rough patches during the week, forcing plays and bad shots, and having a lot of trouble handling many post players on the defensive end. He did much better when he let things happen in the flow of the game, working the boards and getting out in transition. Rookie free agent Tony Mitchell impressed with his athleticism and ability to finish in a variety of ways, and free agent Josh Akognon showed that he can be tough to stop from scoring once he gets in the lane. I would have liked to have seen Yancy Gates and Jarrod Jones get more time to show what they could do, but the minutes at the 4 were obviously going to go to Robinson. Free agent forward Michael Lee worked hard whenever he was on the court, and had no problem being the guy to set screens and hit the glass on both ends of the floor. It was tough to really judge many of the players because Fredette just disrupted any flow the offense could have had, while making the team have to compensate for him on the defensive end as well.
San Antonio Spurs (2-3)
Second-year player Kawhi Leonard looked good in his two games with the Spurs in Las Vegas, but it is still obvious to see that he needs to be part of a structured offense to have any impact. When left one-on-one with a defender in space, he doesn’t have the skill to get the job done effectively. I was very impressed by the strides Cory Joseph has made in the past year, both as a scorer and a passer. His decision-making is still a work in progress, but I was surprised by how tough he played all week. 2010 first round pick James Anderson still seems to be struggling with inconsistency, but his all-around game has improved, especially on the defensive end. Big men Tyler Wilkerson and Eric Dawson also impressed me with their energy levels and toughness during the week. While neither is very skilled, they make for it with aggressiveness. 2012 second round pick Marcus Denmon looked ok in limited minutes, and at times it looked like he should eventually be able to make the transition to point guard. I would have liked to have seen more of Luke Zeller on the court. His shooting ability and understanding of the game make him valuable in many different sets. Rookie free agent JaMychal Green also didn’t get enough time to really show what he is capable of on both ends of the court. D-League vets LD Williams and Dwight Buycks continue to improve as players and should be near the top of the call-up list if they are in the D-League again next season.
Toronto Raptors (2-3)
While the team as a whole was far from impressive, the Raptors did have some bright spots. 2010 first round pick Ed Davis was much stronger and played more aggressively than I have seen him before, and it paid off on both ends of the floor. Free agent forward Chris Wright showed why he earned a spot with Golden State last year. He uses his athleticism well to find ways to score and he brings a high energy level to the defensive end. Veteran free agent point guard Bobby Brown also did what he does best, pushing the ball quickly up floor looking for scoring opportunities, which benefitted 2012 first round pick Terrence Ross more than anyone. Ross made some spectacular plays in transition, but it was very troubling to see a player who relies on his jumper to have serious consistency problems, especially from three-point range. He did show some decent defensive skill on the perimeter, but he will need to show a lot more to justify such a big reach at #8. Point guards Devoe Joseph and Ben Uzoh both impressed me with their play during the week – Joseph for his defense and how he ran the offense, and Uzoh for his good all-around game. Quincy Acy was limited during the week, and while he showed his usual toughness on both ends, he also seemed to have some trouble adjusting in the two games to the speed. Finally, Daniel Orton and Terrell Stoglin both showed why leaving school early isn’t always a good choice. Stoglin may still have a shot a few years down the road, but I don’t know if we will ever see anything good out of Orton.
Washington Wizards (3-2)
The Wizards’ time in Las Vegas was highlighted by the debut of 2012 first round pick Bradley Beal, and though he had some ups-and-downs, he showed more than enough to satisfy his draft pick. He has a great feel for the game on both ends of the floor, and while he still struggled with an inconsistent jumper, he found other ways to be effective when it wasn’t working. He did seem more comfortable shooting his jumper when the pace of the offense was quicker, so it may be good that he will be paired with John Wall. I was hoping to see improvement from 2011 first round pick Chris Singleton, but he still struggles on the offensive end too much for me. He needs to be able to knock down the open jumper consistently. He is still an above-average defender, but I really expected more after a year in the league. The Wizards’ other 2011 first round pick, Jan Vesely, also showed very little other than he likes to try and dunk. If he can’t do that, he really doesn’t give you much more at this point. Shelvin Mack also disappointed at times during the week, but I still think he has some room to grow into a solid back-up point guard. I think free agent forward Shavlik Randolph had a very good week and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets an offer from a few teams this fall for camp. He used his experience well on both ends of the court against the newer players, and I don’t recall him being outplayed often. Tomas Satoransky seems to be intriguing, but he really is going to need a few years to understand how the NBA game is played. He spends way too much time dribbling around, and most of time you can’t tell why. I do like that when he was able to get past his defender on the perimeter, his long strides got him to the basket quickly, though he isn’t strong enough to finish well yet. He also needs to work on becoming a much better shooter and defender.
D-League Select (2-3)
You can see that there are a lot of quality players in the D-League, between this team and the many D-League players which were on the other rosters. As with the D-League itself, there wasn’t enough emphasis on defense for my liking, but these players knew how to find ways to score points. No one player stood out, but Mardy Collins and Leo Lyons were two who stood out to me when I watched them play. Andre Emmett reminded me of the player he was in college, lots of bad shots which found a way of going in. Center Chris Daniels also looked better than I expected, though I would have liked to have seen him play much tougher on the defensive end. Overall, it was a fun group to watch, and it definitely has me looking forward to watching more D-League action this upcoming season.