My review of Vegas continues with a look at how the Summer League went for the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and New York Knicks. If you missed Part 1 (Spurs and Raptors) – check it out here. Part II after the jump…..
ATLANTA HAWKS (3-2)
PPG – Jordan Crawford – 16.2
RPG James Augustine – 5.4
APG – Jeff Teague – 4.2
Most Valuable Player – Jordan Crawford
Most Improved Player – Alade Aminu
Biggest Surprise – Trey Gilder
Summer League Review – Make no mistake, Jordan Crawford may have been the Hawks’ best player last week, but it was hardly a great performance. While Crawford showed the ability to score in a variety of ways, his shot selection and decision making need work and his defensive effort was very inconsistent. Jeff Teague also had a very tough time out there, and it is very hard picturing him as the Hawks’ point guard of the future. His decision-making was lacking and his passes seemed to have little on them. He did do a good job getting into the lane, but often found himself over-penetrating and getting caught with nowhere to go. Alade Aminu has shown steady improvement over the last two seasons, especially becoming much more aggressive in the lane. He is still a bit limited defensively, but he continues to work hard. I got my first in-person look at second-round pick Pape Sy – the NBA is not in his future. Randolph Morris continues to look like he peaked at Kentucky. He still very slow on both ends of the court and, at times, seems to not even try hard. James Augustine continues to outwork everybody on the court, and while he never will be a rotation player, can provide defense, rebounding and has become a better mid-range shooter.
Who to Look For This Season – Look for Aminu to make some team’s roster this fall, but most likely will be shuttled between the NBA and the D-League.
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (3-2)
PPG – J.J. Hickson – 19.3
RPG J.J. Hickson – 6.3
APG – Pooh Jeter – 5.4
Most Valuable Player – J.J. Hickson
Most Improved Player – J.J. Hickson
Biggest Surprise – Christian Eyenga
Summer League Review – While Lebron will be gone, the rebuilding Cavaliers do have a few players who can provide some highlights this season. J.J. Hickson had some dominating moments last week. He was able to establish deep position in the post, showed nice footwork and good touch in the paint, and showed off a much improved face-up game. Defensively, he still seems a bit slow reacting, but he did a good job battling on the blocks. Christian Eyenga showed great athleticism, out-running and out-jumping most of the players here. He still needs to show the ability to hit his jumper consistently and avoid reaching for the ball on defense, but he has a bright future ahead of him. Danny Green did a nice job defending the wing and hitting the mid-range jumper, though he has yet to fins his stroke from long-range. Pooh Jeter handled the point well, nothing spectacular, but not bad either. David Monds showed some toughness battling in the paint, and even hit a few step out jumpers. Tasmin Mitchell seemed more comfortable out there as the week went on, though he still lacks the quickness to play at the NBA level.
Who to Look For This Season – Eyenga and Hickson should be the breakout players from this group. Manny Harris only played a few minutes due to injury, but could have the chance to show his stuff in pre-season camp for some team.
MIAMI HEAT (4-1)
PPG – Kenny Hasbrouck – 13.6
RPG Shavlik Randolph – 5.8
APG – Kenny Hasbrouck – 2.4
Most Valuable Player – Shavlick Randolph
Most Improved Player – Kenny Hasbrouck
Biggest Surprise – Weyinmi Efejuku
Summer League Review – While the Heat won 4 out of 5 games in Las Vegas, it was more of a team effort than any outstanding individual performances that led them to victory. The two rookies I was looking to watch – Dexter Pittman and Jarvis Varnado – logged limited, unimpressive minutes. Pittman, who I think has very good potential if he drops some weight and improves his footwork, looked like he was having a tough time adjusting to the speed of the NBA game. Varnado showed that he will need to become much stronger if he wants to have an impact on the NBA level, especially on the defensive end, which is his specialty. Kenny Hasbrouck did a decent job leading the team, though he is more of a scorer than a distributor. He showed a nice first step and was able to squeeze himself through limited room in the lane. Shavlik Randolph is still a better player than I ever thought he would be, and he continues to show toughness battling for rebounds. His limited offensive game hurts his chance for more minutes. Weyinmi Efejuku was impressive on defense with good footwork and being disruptive off the ball. Davon Jefferson had some nie moments on offense, but he still needs to improve his jumper to play at the NBA level.
Who to Look For This Season – Pittman and Varnado should make the team this fall and provide some minutes off the bench for the new look Heat. Jon Scheyer, who played only 2 games due to a lacerated eyelid, should be invited to camp in the fall. With his ability to play point and shoot the three, he would have a good chance of making the team. Hasbrouck and Efejuku still need some time to improve and should be in the D-League to start the year.
NEW YORK KNICKS (3-2)
PPG – Landry Fields – 15.6
RPG Landry Fields – 4.8
APG – Toney Douglas – 5.2
Most Valuable Player – Landry Fields
Most Improved Player – Bill Walker
Biggest Surprise – Landry Fields
Summer League Review – Landry Fields got off to a good start in showing all the Knicks fans who denounced his drafting last month. Fields showed he could hit the perimeter shot, get to the rim, work well in open space and rebound. He still needs to work on his foot speed, especially on the defensive end, but he is fundamentally sound. Andy Rautins had a tough week, especially with his perimeter shot not falling. He did show excellent court vision, and played much better defense than people expected. Toney Douglas had a decent week, playing tough defense and getting the ball to his teammates in good position for them to score. Douglas will be a good backup point for the Knicks. Bill Walker seems to finally be getting back into the form which had him heralded heading into college. He showed a good first step and his shot selection has much improved. Patrick Ewing, Jr. did not look as impressive as he did in Orlando, but he still showed flashes of how much he has improved in two years. Jaycee Carroll had another good week, showing the ability to score in a few different ways. Jerome Jordan is still a step too slow to play many minutes in the middle right now, though he did have moments where he showed the potential to be a decent back-up big man. Leo Lyons was a whirlwind on the court, packing a lot of action into his limited minutes.
Who to Look For This Season – Fields and Rautins will both get their chance with the new look Knicks this fall. Douglas will be a solid back-up to Raymond Felton. Walker will make the case for some minutes in the rotation. Jordan should spend some time in the D-League and the Knicks should make room for Ewing, who has the kind of athleticism that is lacking on their frontline.
That wraps up Part 2 of the Summer League Review. Check back tonight for Part 3 with a look at how Vegas treated the Bulls, Timberwolves, Pistons, Rockets, Mavericks, Bucks and Grizzlies.