NBA Vegas Summer League Preview - Part 2

With the Vegas Summer League kicking off today, I continue my preview of the teams and players to watch with Part 2 (Yes TWolves fans, you are included in this group).  Because of the amount of players I am looking at – I have now expanded this to 3 parts – with Part 3 coming tomorrow morning, along with a recap of the Day 1 action and a farewell to the week of Orlando Action.  Make sure to check out Part 1 if you have not done so already.  We start with a look at the Memphis Grizzlies after the jump…….

Memphis Grizzlies

 

OJ Mayo

PG

USC

Hasheem Thabeet

C

Connecticut

Xavier Henry

SG

Kansas

Greivis Vasquez

PG

Maryland

DeMarre Carroll

SF

Missouri

Sam Young

SF

Pittsburgh

Hamed Haddadi

C

Iran

Jeff Adrien

PF

Connecticut

Patrick Sullivan

PF

SE Louisiana

 

The RookiesXavier Henry will have the opportunity to show that he could be the consistent shooter the Grizzlies have been looking for.  Henry needs to show that he can be more than a shooter and that he can take the ball strong to the basket.  Greivis Vasquez should thrive in the summer league atmosphere, where creativity is more appreciated than during the NBA regular season.  It is important for Vasquez to show that he is capable of playing against quicker point guards on both ends of the floor, as well as cutting down on his turnovers.

 

 

The Vets – The Grizzlies are sending a relatively veteran squad, with OJ Mayo, Hasheem Thabeet, DeMarre Carroll, and Sam Young having all played significant minutes with the team last season.  Mayo will be focusing on playing point guard, and if he proves capable, will give a spot to Henry in the starting 5.  Thabeet will be looking to build on his improvement last season after a stint in the D-League.  He still needs to show that he can be a legitimate threat on offense in the post.  Carroll and Young are both solid role players and should show that they are capable of scoring and defending a couple of positions.

 

The Wild Card  - After watching Jeff Adrien in Orlando, I would be surprised to see if he doesn’t find a home with a NBA team this season.  He is a terror in the lane, throwing his body around to grab rebounds and go after loose balls.  Undersized, he plays bigger than he is, though he needs to work on defending one-on-one in open space.

Miami Heat

 

D’Andre Bell

SG

6’6

220

Georgia Tech

Patrick Beverley

PG

6’1

175

Arkansas

Jermaine Beal

SG

6’3

205

Vanderbilt

Weyinmi Efejuku

SG

6’5

210

Providence

Kyle Gibson

SG

6’5

205

Louisiana Tech

Mickell Gladness

C

6’11

230

Alabama A&M

Kenny Hasbrouck

PG

6’3

195

Siena

Davon Jefferson

SF

6’8

215

USC

Damian Johnson

SF

6’6

192

Minnesota

Anthony Mason, Jr.

SF

6’7

205

St. John’s

Zach Peacock

PF

6’8

235

Georgia Tech

Dexter Pittman

C

6’11

310

Texas

Shavlik Randolph

PF

6’10

230

Duke

Antywane Robinson

PF

6’8

220

Temple

Jon Scheyer

PG

6’5

185

Duke

Garret Siler

C

6’11

305

Augusta State

Raymond Sykes

PF

6’9

220

Clemson

Mikhail Torrance

PG

6’5

210

Alabama

Jarvis Varnado

PF/C

6’9

210

Mississippi State

 

The Rookies – With the Heat having very few players under contract, there is plenty of opportunity for the rookies to make the team.  Big Dexter Pittman should find a role on a team in desperate need for a man in the middle.  Pittman needs to work on his conditioning if he wants to avoid silly fouls and stay on the floor.  Jarvis Varnado is an athletic shot blocker who can give the Heat a solid defender on the blocks.  He needs to become a more polished offensive player, and should improve his ability to defend out on the perimeter.  Two big point guards round out the rookie group – Jon Scheyer and Mikhail Torrance.  Scheyer shows incredible poise with the basketball and is very good with his decision-making.  He also is a deadly perimeter shooter, though he will need to show that he can create his own shot.  Torrance is combo guard who does a good job of getting into the lane and using his strong body to get to the rim.  A decent passer, he needs to show more true point skills if he wants to play in the NBA.

 

 

 

The Vets No holdovers from last year’s Heat team to speak of.

 

 

 

The Wild Card  -  There are a few interesting journeymen who have a new opportunity with the Heat.  Shavlik Randolph has played better in the NBA than I ever would have imagined when he left Duke.  He is still very capable as a rebounder and defender, and could be a valuable role player.

Milwaukee Bucks

 

Antoine Agudio

SG

6’3

 

Hofstra

John Bryant

C

6’11

 

Santa Clara

Paul Delaney

PG

6’2

 

UAB

Micah Downs

SG/SF

6’7

 

Gonzaga

Tiny Gallon

PF/C

6’9

280

Oklahoma

Darington Hobson

SG

6’7

 

New Mexico

Darnell Jackson

PF

6’8

 

Kansas

DeMarcus Nelson

SG

6’4

 

Duke

Larry Sanders

PF

6’11

 

VCU

Jerry Smith

PG/SG

6’2

 

Louisville

Deron Washington

SG/SF

6’7

 

Virginia Tech

Sean Williams

PF/C

6’10

 

Boston College

 

The Rookies – The Bucks’ three draft picks will all be here.  Larry Sanders skyrocketed up draft boards, all the way to the 16 spot where Milwaukee nabbed him.  He is a big and athletic, with very good post skills.  He needs to become a bit more aggressive on the defensive end, and I would like to see him improve his face-up game.  Darington Hobson is a poor man’s Evan Turner.  Playing three positions, Hobson is good, but not great at each of them.  If he settles at the small forward position, he could garner some playing time because of his perimeter defense skills, as well as his court vision.  He does need to improve his jump shot which is anything but consistent.  Tiny Gallon will provide a massive presence in the middle, but he is also surprisingly agile and has a nice shooting touch.  He needs to show that he is not the malcontent who played at Oklahoma last year, and that he is committed to becoming a better player.  If he plays any defense this week, it will be a good start.

 

 

The Vets – No vets for this Bucks team with Brandon Jennings staying home this summer.  Sean Williams spent some time with the Nets, but had some off-court issues which led to him being shipped out.  He is still a prolific shot-blocker, though he doesn’t do much of anything else.

 

 

The Wild Card  - Looking at the rest of this roster, the only player I am interested in seeing is Deron Washington, a super-athletic wing who can run the floor like a guard.  If he can show a consistent perimeter shot, he has a legitimate shot of making a roster next season.

Minnesota Timberwolves

 

Mo Charlo

SF

6’7

210

Nevada

Wayne Ellington

SG

6’4

200

North Carolina

Jonny Flynn

PG

6’0

185

Syracuse

Lazar Hayward

SF

6’6

225

Marquette

Damian Johnson

SF

6’7

205

Minnesota

Wesley Johnson

SF

6’7

210

Syracuse

Patrick O’Bryant

C

7’0

260

Bradley

Jeremy Pargo

PG

6’2

220

Gonzaga

Cedric Simmons

PF

6’9

235

North Carolina St.

Jamar Smith

SG

6’3

190

Indiana State

Greg Stiemsma

C

6’11

260

Wisconsin

Deon Thompson

PF

6’9

245

North Carolina

Lawrence Westbrook

SG

6’0

195

Minnesota

 

The Rookies – Two of the TWolves draft picks – Wesley Johnson and Lazar Hayward will be playing in Vegas this week.  Normally, I would be hesitant with Johnson showing much in the more free-flow summer league, but playing with a familiar point guard – Jonny Flynn, his old Syracuse teammate – should have him more comfortable on the court.  With Flynn running the break, expect a few highlight dunks from Johnson.  He should also have the opportunity to show off his rebounding skills, though I hope to see him show more aggressive play on both ends of the floor.  Hayward is the kind of player that every team needs, though I am not sure exactly what his role will be with the Wolves.  Look for him to show off his defensive and rebounding skill during the week, while stepping out and nailing a few threes.

 

 

The Vets – I have already discussed Flynn.  The leader of the Vegas squad, look for Flynn to set the tempo, especially on defense and getting the team moving in transition.  Wayne Ellington is the other member of the team playing with the summer team.  Ellington will need to show that he has improved his ability to create his own shot and finishing strong at the rim.  He will need to show that he has gotten tougher after his first season.  Cedric Simmons, a former first round pick, is coming off a strong Orlando summer league showing.  He is very tough in the lane, can finish strong, and runs the floor well for a big man.

 

 

 

The Wild Card  - Watch out for Mo Charlo.  The former Nevada standout is one of the best athletes here in Vegas and if he gets out in transition, he will dunk on someone.  If he shows the ability to play well within a set offense and without the ball, he will be someone who should get a fall camp invite.

New Orleans Hornets

 

Maurice Ager

SG

6’5

196

Michigan State

Armon Bassett

PG

6’2

180

Ohio

Josh Carter

SG

6’7

200

Texas A&M

Aubrey Coleman

SG

6’4

200

Houston

Darren Collison

PG

6’0

160

UCLA

Brian Cusworth

C

7’0

255

Harvard

Nikola Dragovic

SF/PF

6’9

216

UCLA

Kyle Hines

SF

6’6

230

UNC-Greensboro

Liam Potter

C

7’0

255

Sacred Heart

Marcus Thorton

SG

6’4

194

LSU

Sean Sonderleiter

C

6’11

211

Iowa

Carlos Wheeler

SF

6’7

201

Campbellsville

Craig Brackins

PF

6’10

230

Iowa State

Quincy Pondexter

SF

6’6

220

Washington

 

The RookiesCraig Brackins and Quincy Pondexter were both Hornets’ first round picks this year and will make their debut in Vegas.  Brackins is an athletic big man who has the ability to play both in the post and on the perimeter.  He needs to show that he can hit consistently from the outside, while also showing he can guard stronger NBA post players.  Pondexter plays a lot bigger than he is, has a consistent mid-range game and is tough defender.  I would like to see him create shots more in open space.  Aubrey Coleman, the NCAA’s leading scorer last season, will be joining them.  Coleman plays well in transition, but needs to work on playing off the ball and within a set offense.

 

 

The Vets – The backcourt of Darren Collison and Marcus Thorton will be leading the Hornets’ squad.  Collison showed last year that he is a top-level NBA point guard and, to be honest, probably did not need to be playing summer league ball.  Thorton showed tremendous scoring ability last season, so now is the time for him to work on his defensive skills.  If he can do that, he should get even more playing time next season.

 

 

 

The Wild Card  - Two guys closing in on 30 years old – Sean Sonderleiter and Carlos Wheeler – may have their best shot at joining a NBA team here with the Hornets.  Sonderleiter is a workhorse who does all of the little things well you need out of a big man.  Wheeler is a do-everything player who can provide a spark off the bench.

New York Knicks

 

Eric Boateng

PF

6’10

257

Arizona State

Jaycee Carroll

PG/SG

6’1

187

Utah State

Warren Carter

PF

6’9

220

Illinois

Toney Douglas

PG

6’2

190

Florida State

Patrick Ewing Jr.

SF

6’8

240

Georgetown

Olu Famutimi

SG

6’5

220

Arkansas

Landry Fields

SF

6’7

215

Stanford

Charles Garcia

SF/PF

6’10

230

Seattle U.

Ron Howard

SG

6’5

200

Valparaiso

Chris Hunter

C

6’11

240

Michigan

Marcus Landry

SF/PF

6’7

230

Wisconsin

Leo Lyons

PF

6’9

225

Missouri

Carlos Powell

SF

6’7

225

South Carolina

Andy Rautins

PG/SG

6’4

194

Syracuse

Bill Walker

SF

6’6

230

Kansas State

Ryan Wittman

SF

6’7

210

Cornell

Michael Washington

PF/C

6’10

230

Arkansas

 

The RookiesAndy Rautins and Landry Fields highlight the selection of rookies playing for Knicks in Vegas.  Rautins should thrive in the summer league environment, where his creativity and deep range can be showcased, but his defensive skills will be put to the test for the first time.  Fields should be able to quiet some of the skeptical Knicks fans who didn’t know anything about him a month ago.  He is fundamentally sound, but will need to show that he has the athletic ability to play at this level.  Charles Garcia and Michael Washington will provide some size for the team.  Garcia is definitely very raw, but has show great instincts on the court and can run the floor very well.  Washington is a classic post player who does his best work on the boards and with his back to the basket.  I think a good showing for Washington here could have him back this fall for the Knicks.  I liked Ryan Wittman a lot during last season, but was very disappointed with his showing in Orlando.  Let’s hope he looks a bit better in Vegas – a shooter needs to actually hit his shots.

 

 

The VetsToney Douglas and late-season addition Bill Walker will both be here refining their skills.  Douglas, a solid defender, needs to show that he can be a true point guard, while Walker needs to channel his great athleticism into improving his all-around game – especially becoming a more consistent perimeter shooter.  Patrick Ewing Jr.  and Marcus Landry both had good weeks in Orlando and will be looking to build on that this week with solid play on both ends of the floor.

 

 

The Wild Card  - We all know that Jaycee Carroll can light up the scoreboard, but it is important for him to show this week that he can run the point effectively as well.  If he can, he has the versatility that Mike D’antoni looks for in his offense.

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