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2014 Las Vegas Summer League Preview

The Summer Leagues often mark the beginning of a new season for many, with new draftees getting a chance to put on their new team’s uniform and show fans what they can do. Along with that, they are joined by many other hopefuls, some who have been in the league, many who have not, all looking for a chance to find a NBA home like Kent Bazemore and Ian Clark have done the past few years.

The Orlando Summer League wrapped up on Friday, which is also the day the larger Las Vegas Summer League started. Three teams, Houston, Philadelphia, and Miami had teams in both Summer Leagues, so there is some basis to see how rookies perform.

You can find additional information here, including schedules and scores for each day.

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Here is a look at the 23 teams’ rosters (No D-League Select in the preview) and my thoughts on the players:

 

Atlanta Hawks

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
Dennis Schroder G 6’1 175 20 Atlanta Hawks 1
Mike Muscala F 6’11 238 23 Atlanta Hawks 1
Adreian Payne F 6’10 245 23 Michigan State R
Lamar Patterson G 6’5 225 22 Pittsburgh R
John Jenkins G 6’4 215 23 Atlanta Hawks 2
Walter Tavares C 7’3 260 22 Gran Canaria (Spain) R
Casey Prather F 6’6 212 23 Florida R
Eric Dawson F 6’9 255 30 Heilongjiang (China) 1
Stephen Holt G 6’4 195 22 Saint Mary’s R
Trevor Releford G 6’0 190 22 Alabama R
Travis Wear F 6’10 230 23 UCLA R
DJ Shelton C 6’10 250 23 Washington State R
Michael Bramos G 6’6 225 27 Panathinaikos (Greece) R
Edo Muric F 6’8 190 22 Krka Novo Mesto (Slovenia) R
Abraham Millsap G 6’4 190 24 Tennessee State R

 

Breakdown:  The Hawks’ summer squad features a handful of recent draftees, as well as an interesting group of undrafted rookies. The team will be led by one of last year’s first-round picks, Dennis Schroder, as well as 2nd year shooting guard John Jenkins, who is returning from a season-ending injury. Schroder mixed some very good play with a lot of the usual mistakes you expect from both young players and players coming from overseas.  Jenkins has yet to make an impact in just over a season of play, but he is a good perimeter shooter and hopefully he finds his stroke on the floor soon. Forward Mike Muscala joined the Hawks after starting the season playing in Spain’s top league and being one of their top players.  Muscala will join 2014 first-round pick Adreian Payne as two big men who can stretch the floor for the Hawks. Payne is also extremely athletic for his size and he should be able to beat other forwards off the dribble depending on the match-up. 2014 second-round pick, Lamar Patterson, is a versatile guard who can play tough perimeter defense and knock down open shots.  Fellow second-round pick Walter Tavares is an extremely raw big man, but at 7’3 with a 7’9 wingspan, he could be a game changer down the road, though expect his first summer league to be a rough experience. Casey Prather is an extremely athletic forward out of Florida who can be extremely effective in transition and hitting the offensive boards. His all-around skill isn’t great, but he finds a way to make plays. Forward Eric Dawson has done very well in the D-League and even had a very short stint with the San Antonio Spurs a few years back. Dawson is at his best using his muscle to overpower people around the basket.  Travis Wear was a solid role player for UCLA the past few years with his ability to defend and hit open shots. Center DJ Shelton is coming off a good season at Washington State where he averaged 10 points and almost 10 rebounds per game. He moves very well for his size and is still developing his skill levels.  Edo Muric averaged over 12 points per game in the Adriatic League last year, but his shooting numbers were not very good, but he has shown to be a decent offensive rebounder.  Trevor Releford showed to be a very good leader at the point guard position for 4 years at Alabama, and he stepped his scoring for a team that really needed it, averaging over 18 points per game and almost 40% from three-point range. Stephen Holt is a typical St. Mary’s guard, meaning he is fundamentally sound, makes smart plays, and knocks down shots. Holt averaged 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists per game, and shot 44% from three-point range.  Michael Bramos was a role player for Panathinaikos who never really did much to stand out as anything more than a bench guy. Abraham Millsap, brother of Paul, appeared to have last played basketball 2 years ago. I wish I could tell you more about him.

 

Charlotte Hornets

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
Jordan Bachynski C 7’2 260 24 Arizona State R
James Bell G 6’5 225 22 Villanova R
De’Mon Brooks F 6’7 223 22 Davidson R
Justin Brownlee F 6’7 220 26 Erie Bayhawks R
Josh Davis F 6’8 215 23 San Diego State R
Jerome Dyson G 6’3 180 27 Enel Brindisi (Italy) 1
P.J. Hairston G 6’6 220 21 Texas Legends R
Justin Jackson F 6’8 216 23 Cincinnati R
Mickey McConnell G 6’0 190 25 Texas Legends R
Roberto Nelson G 6’4 198 23 Oregon State R
Jarred Shaw C 6’10 235 23 Utah State R
Jamie Skeen F 6’9 220 26 Super Basket Montegranaro (Italy) R
Noah Vonleh F 6’10 240 18 Indiana R
Cody Zeller F 7’0 240 21 Indiana 1

 

Breakdown:  The Hornets have gone with a rookie and 2nd-year heavy squad, including some intriguing undrafted rookies.  The team is led by a pair of Indiana forwards, Cody Zeller and Noah Vonleh, both top 10 picks the past two years.  Zeller needed a bit of time to get used to the physical nature of the NBA game, but he did well coming off the bench for Charlotte in the 2nd half of the year. With Zeller’s preference to be on the perimeter, having someone with Vonleh’s size to play around the basket should help, though Vonleh also likes to roam around the perimeter. The Hornet’s other 2014 first-round selection PJ Hairston is a long-range threat who showed he score in other ways while in the D-League. Hairston will need to focus on playing basketball and putting the outside distractions to rest. The Hornets have some experienced guards in point guard Mickey McConnell, who had a very good year playing in the D-League last season, as well as former UConn guard Jerome Dyson, who has been a proven scorer everywhere he has played. Forward Jamie Skeen is a big-bodied defender and rebounder who brings some toughness to any team he is with. Former St. John’s forward Justin Brownlee had a good season in the D-League where he was an effective scorer and defender, and he is always one of the toughest competitors on the floor.  The Hornets have a couple of valuable rim protectors in undrafted rookies Jordan Bachynski and Jarred Shaw, though Shaw should adjust better to the speed of the NBA game, as well as being a better offensive weapon. Former Davidson star De’Mon Brooks is a versatile offensive player, able to knock down shots, post up, or beat his man off the dribble. Oregon State’s Roberto Nelson built a reputation as a scorer in college, but he showed that he is also a capable ballhandler and distributor. Justin Jackson is still more athlete than basketball player, but his energy helps create plays on both ends of the floor. San Diego State big man Josh Davis may be undersized at the 4, but he has a great nose for the ball and can be a good defender and rebounder. Villanova’s James Bell can be a long-range threat, though he has been inconsistent through his college career.

 

Chicago Bulls

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
Doug McDermott F 6’8 225 22 Creighton R
Kendall Williams G 6’4 180 23 New Mexico R
Brandon Paul G 6’4 200 23 Canton Charge R
Lazeric Jones G 6’1 187 23 K.A.O.D. B.C. (Greece) R
Billy Baron G 6’2 195 23 Canisius R
Tony Snell G 6’7 215 22 Chicago Bulls 1
Austin Freeman G 6’3 226 25 Iowa Energy R
David Wear F 6’10 230 23 UCLA R
Chad Posthumus C 6’11 265 23 Morehead State R
Cameron Bairstow F 6’9 250 23 New Mexico R
Lance Thomas F 6’8 225 26 Foshan Dralions (China) 3
Davante Gardner C 6’8 290 22 Marquette R

 

Breakdown:  The Bulls are going with a team short on NBA experience, but still a very interesting group of players. The focus will be on the first round picks from the past two seasons, Tony Snell and Doug McDermott. Snell didn’t impress much in his rookie year, but it can be tough with inconsistent playing time. He needs to show that he can knock down shots consistently and defend out on the perimeter. McDermott was drafted to add some much needed scoring, and who better than college basketball’s best. McDermott is skilled enough to be a threat anywhere on the floor, and he has such a great understanding of the game that he opens up the floor for everyone else.  Yes, people are concerned about McDermott’s defensive ability, but I have no doubt he will prove to be an average defender. Second-round pick Cameron Bairstow, a former college teammate of Snell’s, is a high-energy forward who uses his big body well to create scoring chances in the lane and mid-range area, as well as crashing the boards.  A third player from New Mexico is also on the roster in point guard Kendall Williams, a versatile scorer and distributor with good size. Former Canisius guard Billy Baron is another volume scorer who will open up the floor with his ability to stretch defenses.  Baron averaged 24 points per game last season, while shooting 46% and 42% from three-point range, as well as over 5 assists per game.  Chad Posthumus is an interesting player, having not had a lot of experience in Canada before coming to the United States the past few years. He was one of the top rebounders in the country last season for Morehead State. Marquette big man Davante Gardner has always impressed with his skill levels, but conditioning issues have prevented him from really being a force.  Former UCLA guard Lazeric Jones had a good season in Greece last season, though he is more a scorer than point guard at 6’1.  Another former UCLA player, forward David Wear is capable of stretching the floor and knocking down open jumpers. Austin Freeman, a former Georgetown star, came back from Europe to play in the D-League last season, and he is still a good scorer who knows how to use his body to get to the basket. Lance Thomas has had some NBA time with New Orleans, and can be an energy guy who rebounds and defends well, though like most Americans, he put up big scoring numbers in China.

 

 

Cleveland Cavaliers

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
Anthony Bennett F 6’8 243 21 Cleveland Cavaliers 1
Will Cherry G 6’0 185 23 Canton Charge R
Jack Cooley F 6’9 246 23 Trabzonspor (Turkey) R
Matthew Dellavedova G 6’4 200 23 Cleveland Cavaliers 1
Shane Edwards F 6’7 220 27 Canton Charge 1
Carrick Felix G 6’6 201 23 Cleveland Cavaliers 1
Steven Gray G 6’5 205 25 BCM Gravelines (France) R
Joe Harris G 6’6 225 22 Virginia R
Scotty Hopson G 6’7 206 24 Cleveland Cavaliers 1
Alex Kirk C 7’0 245 22 New Mexico R
Andrew Wiggins F 6’8 194 19 Kansas R

 

Breakdown:  No offense to last year’s #1 pick Anthony Bennett, but everyone will be watching Cleveland to see this year’s #1 pick, Andrew Wiggins, in action.  Wiggins should flourish in the up and down pace of Summer League games and he should have ample opportunity to show his skill level at both ends of the floor. As for Bennett, he missed Summer League last year with an injury, and really didn’t contribute much once he came back for the regular season. He showed some flashes of his scoring ability, but he has a lot of work to do to change how people are anticipating his future in the league.  Second-round pick last season Carrick Felix spent time shuttling between the D-League and Cleveland, and only appeared in 7 games. He made his name as an athletic defender and a strong transition scorer. I’d expect to see a good deal of that this week.  Two other players who spent time with the Canton Charge, Shane Edwards and Will Cherry, are also on the squad. Edwards is an athletic forward who loves to attack the basket and Cherry is a high-level perimeter defender who will knock down jumpers when he has space and find open teammates with ease. 2014 second-round pick Joe Harris is another good defender, though he not very athletic but has a great understanding of how to be a team defender. Harris can also knock down mid- and long-range shots, both off the catch and dribble. Scotty Hopson joined the Cavaliers in March after a good year playing for Anadolu Efes, though he played just a few minutes in the NBA.  Hopson is an athletic forward who has always relied on that athleticism more than his actual skill, though his time in Europe has matured his game. Former New Mexico center Alex Kirk is a highly-skilled big man who has strong post moves and the ability to knock down mid-range jumpers consistently, though his footwork on defense needs work.  Forward Jack Cooley impressed during Summer League last season and after spending the year in Turkey, he should impress again. Cooley is a skilled offensive player and tough competitor who can defend and rebound well. Former Gonzaga guard Steven Gray had a decent year in France last season, though his normally reliable perimeter shooting wasn’t there. He adjusted well and found other ways to score.

 

Dallas Mavericks

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
Dee Bost G 6’2 176 24 Idaho Stampede R
Chris Smith G 6’2 200 26 Erie Bayhawks 1
Bernard James F 6’10 230 29 Dallas Mavericks 2
Ricky Ledo G 6’7 200 21 Dallas Mavericks 1
Axel Toupane F 6’6 194 22 Strasbourg (France) R
CJ Fair F 6’8 215 22 Syracuse R
Eric Griffin F 6’8 194 24 Leones de Ponce (Puerto Rico) R
James Nunnally F 6’7 205 24 Philadelphia 76ers 1
Javon McCrea F 6’7 250 22 Buffalo R
Sean Evans F 6’8 260 25 Anyang (South Korea) R
Jackie Carmichael F 6’9 240 24 Iowa Energy R
Gal Mekel G 6’3 202 26 Dallas Mavericks 1
Chris Goulding G 6’4 203 25 Melbourne (Australia) R
Ivan Johnson C 6’10 230 30 Zhejiang Chouzhou (China) 2

 

Breakdown: The Mavericks’ squad is led by a trio who has had time with the NBA team, including point guard Gal Mekel. The Israeli Mekel proved to be a strong leader and passer in Israel, though his rookie year didn’t give him the chance to show much. Ricky Ledo spent more time in the D-League last year than playing with the Mavericks, but he is a long, crafty scorer with a penchant for being a very selfish player. Hopefully, Ledo will mature quickly and earn some time with the Dallas team this year. Bernard James is a big, tough forward who has been sparingly used in his 2 years with the Mavericks. He will need to have a good showing here to have either the Mavericks or another team interested in signing him as a free agent.  Point guard Dee Bost had a good week in Orlando playing for the Indiana team, and he showed in the D-League last year that he can be both an effective distributor and scorer from the point guard position.  James Nunnally had been one of the D-League’s most consistent players over the past couple of seasons before earning a call-up from Philadelphia towards the end of last year. Nunnally is a good scorer on the wing and a defender who won’t back down from anyone. Jackie Carmichael returned to United States from Europe halfway through last year, and joined the D-League. He was a very good scorer and rebounder in college, though he needs to be more aggressive out on the floor. Ivan Johnson became a fan favorite in 2 years with the Atlanta Hawks with his willingness to go out on the floor and get physical with anyone in his area. He may not be very skilled, but he is imposing and will defend and rebound as hard as anyone. Former St. John’s big man Sean Evans is a massive presence in the middle and he uses his 260 pounds as well as anyone to create space on both ends of the floor. Australian Chris Goulding has the potential to be a good wing scorer here in the United States, though he needs to become a more consistent long-range shooter. Undrafted rookie Javon McCrea out of Buffalo is a strong scorer and offensive rebounder, as well as a good defender and shot-blocker for his size. Syracuse’s CJ Fair seemed to regress as a player as a senior, though if he can knock down shots like he did as a junior, there may be a spot for him in the NBA. He uses his length and athleticism well to get to the basket on offense, and he showed he can be a strong defender, even playing in a zone.

 

Denver Nuggets

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
Solomon Alabi C 7’1 250 26 Yulon Luxgen 2
Jerelle Benimon F 6’8 245 22 Towson R
Denzel Bowles F 6’10 250 25 Jilin Northeast Tigers R
Carlon Brown G 6’5 216 Haoiel T-A R
Chris Evans F 6’8 220 23 Trikalla R
Erick Green G 6’4 185 23 Montepaschi Siena (Italy) R
Demonte Harper G 6’4 195 25 Tsmoki-Minsk R
Gary Harris G 6’4 200 19 Michigan State R
Brandon Jefferson G 5’9 170 22 Metropolitan State R
Halil Kanacevic F 6’8 260 22 Virtus Roma R
David Lighty G 6’6 220 26 ASVEL (France) R
Errick McCollum G 6’2 170 26 Panionios (Greece) R
Quincy Miller F 6’10 230 21 Denver Nuggets 2
Tim Ohlbrecht C 6’10 260 25 Fort Wayne Mad Ants 1
Will Thomas F 6’7 230 28 Sidigas AV R
Chris Wright G 6’1 210 24 ASVEL 1

 

Breakdown:    The Nuggets’ Summer League entry is light on NBA experience, but they do have a talented group of players who should make the team competitive all week. Quincy Miller made some good strides in his second season with the Nuggets, becoming a semi-reliable role player. He has good athleticism for his size and has shown flashes of skill as a scorer in the past, but he needs to find an area where he can step up and excel in. First round pick Gary Harris inexplicably dropped into Denver’s hands this year and he should have a good opportunity to show teams what they missed out on.  Harris is a good perimeter shooter who can also get to the basket off the dribble, while also being a very strong perimeter defender. Freedom from Michigan State’s rigid offense should help his game. Second-round pick last year, Erick Green, had a strong season in Italy for his rookie year, starting for one of Italy’s top teams.  Green was a strong scorer coming out of college, though he still needs to become more consistent from long-range. Forward Halil Kanacevic is a highly skilled big man who joined a team in Italy after his college career came to an end in March. While he was a role player off the bench, it’s clear that Kanacevic was a skilled enough player that he was able to step in right away for a team heading to the playoffs.  After a solid D-League season that included a call-up to the NBA from Dallas two years ago, point guard Chris Wright played in France last year, though his season wasn’t very impressive and he might be better off back in the United States.  Shooting has always been a weakness for him as a pro, but he runs an offense well and knows how to get his teammates the ball in good spots.  Center Tim Ohlbrecht had a strong season in the D-League last year, and is having a good week in limited minutes for Detroit in Orlando. Ohlbrecht is a skilled offensive big man who moves well for his size, and he has the body to handle himself against NBA size centers.  Former Ohio State forward David Lighty has had a few good seasons in Europe and should give Denver a versatile scorer on the wing who will be aggressive trying to get to the basket.  Demonte Harper impressed in limited minutes during last year’s Summer League and earned an invite to Portland’s pre-season camp. He had a solid year in Minsk last season and should be up from contributing more this week. Errick McCollum is not as well-known as his brother CJ, but he has been a tremendous scorer in Greece during his first couple of pro seasons and it is great to see him getting an opportunity here with Denver.  Solomon Alabi has been out of the NBA a few years, but at 7’1, he can still protect the rim and grab rebounds. Jerelle Benimon was impressive for Towson last season, doing everything for the Tigers, including being their top scorer, rebounder, and assist man. If Benimon is put at the high post in a half-court set, he will find a way to score or create for a teammate.

 

Golden State Warriors

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
Travis Bader G 6’5 190 23 Oakland R
Aaron Craft G 6’2 195 23 Ohio State R
Festus Ezeli C 6’11 255 24 Golden State Warriors 2
Kiwi Gardner G 5’7 155 21 Santa Cruz Warriors R
Lance Goulbourne F 6’8 225 25 Santa Cruz Warriors R
Justin Holiday G 6’6 185 25 Szolnoki (Hungary) 1
Orlando Johnson G 6’5 220 25 Sacramento Kings 2
Ognjen Kuzmic C 7’0 251 24 Golden State Warriors 1
Walt Lemon G 6’3 180 21 Bradley R
Rob Loe F 6’11 245 22 Saint Louis R
James Michael McAdoo F 6’9 230 21 North Carolina R
Tyrus McGee G 6’2 205 23 Breogan (Spain) R
Rodney McGruder G 6’4 205 22 Atomeromu SE Paks (Hungary) R
Nemanja Nedovic G 6’3 192 23 Golden State Warriors 1
Rod Odom F 6’9 212 22 Vanderbilt R
Davon Usher G 6’6 200 21 Delaware R
Christian Watford F 6’9 232 23 Hapoel Eliat (Israel) R
Mitchell Watt F 6’10 225 24 Ironi Nes-Ziona (Israel) R

 

Breakdown: The Golden State Summer League team isn’t very experienced, but there is a lot of interesting players to watch. Former 1st round pick Nemanja Nedovic spent the year moving between Golden State and their Santa Cruz D-League team, but the Warriors are hoping he can show the kind of passing skills he did while playing in Europe. 2013 Second round pick Ognjen Kuzmic did a lot of the same shuttling as Nedovic, though the inexperienced 7-footer still has a long way to go before being a help in the NBA. Former Pacer and King Orlando Johnson didn’t get a lot of playing time in his 2 pro seasons, but he can be a versatile scorer with good size at the 2.  Justin Holiday has been a solid Summer League performer before and he is coming off a good season in Hungary where he averaged 12 points per game and knocked down 40% of his three-point attempts. Lance Goulbourne has continued to improve in all areas of his game since college and had successful stints in Santa Cruz and South Korea last season. Goulbourne uses his athleticism well to hit the boards on both ends of the floor. Kiwi Gardner was a fan favorite in Santa Cruz last year where his small size and lightning quick speed and ballhandling ability made him a lot of fun to watch. He still has a long way to go as a player, but he earned a shot to play with this team in Vegas.  The backcourt of Aaron Craft and Travis Bader just played together in Orlando for Philadelphia, and they both showed a lot of what they did in college. Bader knocked down long-range shots with speed and ease, while Craft was a pesky defender and solid point guard. Undrafted rookie Walt Lemon out of Bradley may be the best athlete you’ve never heard of. He is tough to contain off the dribble and can finish in some spectacular ways, as well as being a ballhawk on the defensive end.  James Michael McAdoo never seemed to live up to what people expected of him after a good freshman season at North Carolina, but he is still a skilled forward who can knock own shots and rebound well. McAdoo just needs to stick to the things he does well.  Saint Louis center Rob Loe was a major part of his team’s winning ways with his ability to stretch the floor with his perimeter shooting. He needs to be a better rebounder for his size though. Former Kansas State star Rodney McGruder had a very good year in Hungary, though consistent shooting is still a problem.  Delaware’s Davon Usher is a scorer in every sense of the word. He can knock down mid and long-range jumpers, as well as use his body to back down smaller defenders.  Rod Odom developed into a fairly nice scorer for his size at Vanderbilt, though he still forces a lot of bad shots. Former Buffalo big man Mitchell Watt moves well for his size and loves to crash the boards on both ends of the floor. He is also a very good rim-protector and defender.

 

Houston Rockets

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
Tarik Black F 6’8 253 22 Kansas R
Jabari Brown G 6’4 215 21 Missouri R
Isaiah Canaan G 6’0 190 23 Houston Rockets 1
Robert Covington F 6’9 215 23 Houston Rockets 1
Nick Johnson G 6’3 198 21 Arizona R
Akil Mitchell F 6’9 230 22 Virginia R
Geron Johnson G 6’3 197 21 Memphis R
Pendarvis Williams G 6’6 195 22 Norfolk State R
Omar Oraby C 7’2 270 22 USC R
Donatas Motiejunas F 7’0 222 23 Houston Rockets 2
Luck Hancock F 6’6 200 24 Louisville R
Andre Dawkins G 6’4 206 22 Duke R

 

Breakdown: Like last year, the Rockets have a very athletic group of players for their Summer League squad, starting with two players from last year, Isaiah Canaan and Robert Covington.  Canaan and Covington dominated at the D-League level last season and earned their call-ups to the main roster, but the both have some more work to do to get those roster spots back again this year. Second-round draft pick Nick Johnson will also be on the roster, and he should fit in well with his ability to defend on the perimeter, get out in transition, and knock down, albeit inconsistently, jumpers.  Undrafted rookie Jabari Brown is a high-level scorer who can hit NBA-range threes as well as get out in transition and score.  Akil Mitchell was a solid college big man who will go out and play tough defense and rebound, as will Tarik Black, who may be only 6’8, but at over 260 pounds, he can battle with anyone around the post.  There was a lot of hype around Donatas Motiejunas when he was drafted, but after 2 seasons, he looks no closer to being a pro prospect than he did before and he may need to go to another team before he can start to improve. 7’2 Omar Oraby can be a decent rim-protector, but his slow feet hinder him on offense and defense. He is still a project at 22 years old.  Luke Hancock and Andre Dawkins are two solid long-range threats who I can already envision playing the style of play the Rockets do. Pendarvis Williams is a big and versatile forward who can be a terror on the defensive end and a creative offensive player with the ball in his hands. Geron Johnson is a strong perimeter defender and good athlete who thrives in transition, but has problems in a halfcourt role.

Los Angeles Clippers

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
Keith Benson F 6’10 230 25 Tsmoki-Minsk 1
Jon Brockman F 6’7 255 27 Chalon-Sur Saone (France) 3
Lorenzo Brown G 6’3 195 23 Philadelphia 76ers 1
Cameron Clark F 6’6 210 22 Oklahoma R
Will Clyburn F 6’6 210 24 Ratiopharm-Ulm (Germany) R
Armon Johnson G 6’2 195 25 Blancos de Rueda Valladoid (Spain) 2
Shawn Jones F 6’7 233 22 Middle Tennessee State R
Kyle Kuric G 6’4 195 24 Asefa-Estudiantes (Spain) R
DeAndre Liggins G 6’6 209 26 Sioux Falls Skyforce 3
Amath M’Baye F 6’8 215 24 Mitsubishi Diamond (Japan) R
Aziz N’Diaye C 7’0 260 26 Fraport (Germany) R
Delonte West G 6’3 180 30 Fujian (China) 8

 

Breakdown:  The Clippers’ team is unique in that there isn’t a single player of theirs on the Summer League team.  The team is led by NBA-veteran Delonte West, who is looking for another chance in the league after playing in China last year. West has been known for years as one of the NBA’s toughest players and a guy you want out there for you because of his versatility.  DeAndre Liggins has also built a solid reputation as a defender in both the NBA and D-League, and if he can consistently knock down jumpers, he may get back to the NBA soon. Jon Brockman may never have looked smooth when he was on the court, but he will try to get involved in every play, even if it means diving onto the floor or into the stands. Former NBA point guard Armon Johnson always performed well as a solid back-up wherever he played, and looking around the league, a steady performance here should interest a few teams, especially if he can knock down jumpers as well. Former Louisville guard Kyle Kuric is a tremendous outside shooter and should have plenty of chances to launch threes this week.  Wil Clyburn is a smooth-scoring wing who uses his athletic ability to finish in creative ways around the basket. Lorenzo Brown moved between the Philadelphia 76ers and their Delaware D-League team most of last year, and though he showed some improvement, he is more scorer than distributor. Amath M’Baye is athletic and a tough scorer around the basket, and he alters a lot of shots for his size, and Aziz N’Diaye has NBA size and continues to improve his ability to score and defend around the basket.  Undrafted rookies Cameron Clark and Shawn Jones are both skilled scorers who can also defend multiple positions.

 

Los Angeles Lakers

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
Rodrigue Beaubois G 6’1 183 26 Spirou Charleroi (France) 4
Jordan Clarkson G 6’5 194 22 Missouri R
Xavier Gibson C 6’11 229 25 Antalya BSB (Turkey) R
Anthony Ireland G 5’10 194 22 Loyola Marymount R
Jerome Jordan C 7’1 220 27 Granarolo Bologna (Italy) 1
DeAndre Kane G 6’4 200 25 Iowa State R
Kendall Marshall G 6’4 195 22 Los Angeles Lakers 2
Trevor Mbakwe F 6’10 244 25 Virtus Roma (Italy) R
Kevin Murphy G 6’6 185 24 Idaho Stampede 1
Julius Randle F 6’9 249 19 Kentucky R
LaQuinton Ross F 6’8 220 21 Ohio State R
Roscoe Smith F 6’8 215 23 UNLV R
Trey Thompkins F 6’10 244 24 1
Scott Wood F 6’6 175 24 UCAM Murcia (Spain) R
Renaldo Woolridge F 6’9 220 24 KK Metalac Valjevo (Serbia) R

 

Breakdown:  The main attraction for the Lakers’ team here in Vegas is first-round pick Julius Randle, the power forward from Kentucky. However, due to contract issues, he may not suit up. If he does, the Lakers will have a big-bodied forward who can dominate in the paint area on offense.  Second-round pick Jordan Clarkson is a big guard who can play either the 1 or the 2, and he uses long strides well to get to the basket and finish. Kendall Marshall seemed to find a home with the Lakers last season, where his superior vision and passing skills, as well as an improved jumper, earned him plenty of minutes.  Former Iowa State point guard DeAndre Kane had a great season in Coach Fred Hoiberg’s offense. Kane showed he could score in transition or the halfcourt, as well as hit open teammates quickly and defend well. If he wasn’t already 25 years old, he may have been drafted.  Trevor Mbakwe had a very impressive rookie season in Italy’s top league, almost averaging 10 points and 10 rebounds per game. If he continues to rebound at a high level, he could get his NBA chance soon.  7’1 Jerome Jordan has bounced around a bit in his career and though he had some D-League success, he wasn’t able to turn it into a long-term NBA assignment. He spent the past year in Italy where he seems to have lost a step and he hasn’t been the rim protector he used to be.  Rookie Roscoe Smith out of UNLV averaged a double-double last season and he used his athletic ability well to create opportunities off the offensive glass. Unfortunately, that was the extent of his offense. He will need to show more as a pro if he wants to play at a high level.  Undrafted rookie LaQuinton Ross almost doubled his scoring output last season, though he wasn’t as efficient as you’d hope given his raw talent. If he can knock down shots consistently and continue to play tough defense, he may get a shot at the league soon. Former North Carolina State forward Scott Wood is a three-point specialist and he is coming off a good year in Spain’s top league where he connected on 40% of his three-point attempts. Rodrigue Beaubois never turned into the player many hoped when the Mavericks used a first round pick on him in 2009.  Quick, with a good first step, Beaubois could get into the defense, but would often become stuck and make bad decisions. Also, he never developed a consistent jumper to help his offense out. A good performance here may get him back on the NBA radar.  Trey Thompkins is another former NBA player who showed brief promise in his NBA career before injuries set him back. Athletic and strong, Thompkins was a good scorer around the basket, but he never played consistently enough to get going.  Former Utah Jazz guard Kevin Murphy is a big guard who can score in a variety of ways, though he needs to be more efficient and a better defender.

 

Miami Heat

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
Danilo Barthel F 6’10 220 22 Fraport Skyliners (Germany) R
Larry Drew G 6’2 180 24 Sioux Falls Skyforce R
James Ennis F 6’7 210 24 Piratas de Quebradillas (Puerto Rico) R
Frank Gaines G 6’3 195 24 Maine Red Claws R
Langston Hall G 6’4 180 22 Mercer R
Justin Hamilton C 7’0 245 24 Miami Heat 1
Eli Holman C 6’10 259 25 Usak (Turkey) R
Tyler Honeycutt F 6’8 198 23 Ironi Nes Ziona (Israel) 2
Tyler Johnson G 6’4 186 22 Fresno State R
Shabazz Napier G 6’1 171 22 Connecticut R
Ronald Roberts, Jr. F 6’8 225 22 St. Joseph’s R
Scott Suggs G 6’6 190 23 Erie Bayhawks R

 

Breakdown:The Heat will be playing in both Orlando and Las Vegas again this year. The team is highlighted by this year’s first-round pick, Shabazz Napier, a two-time NCAA Champion at Connecticut.  With point guard perennially being the weak spot on the Heat, Napier needs to have a much better week than he did in Orlando. Another interesting player to watch is the Heat’s second-round pick last year, James Ennis, who is an explosive scorer and showed well in stops in Australia and Puerto Rico this past year, and had a tremendous week in Orlando.  Justin Hamilton is another former Heat second-rounder who played well in his D-League season last year to earn a call-up. He is an excellent shooter for his size and smart all-around player on both ends Larry Drew has also shown some very good point guard skills in the D-League, and with the Skyforce being the Heat’s affiliate, I’m sure they have a good idea what he can do. Eli Holman has a strong season in Turkey and he is a big-bodied player who moves very well for his size and can score in a variety of ways around the basket.  Tyler Honeycutt is trying to find his way back to the NBA after a couple of years with Sacramento. He spent some time in the D-League and had a successful season in Israel’s top league last year.  Danilo Barthel is a young German player with good size and scoring ability, and he continues to show improvement each season. Scott Suggs was one of the D-League’s best shooters last season, and watching him play, you think he may be on the verge of a call up to the NBA sooner rather than later.  Ronald Roberts had a very good week for Philadelphia in Orlando and his athletic ability combined with his size makes it tough for teams to defend him effectively.

 

Milwaukee Bucks

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
Giannis Antetokounmpo F 6’11 217 19 Milwaukee Bucks 1
Gilbert Brown G 6’6 215 26 Canton Charge R
Ben Brust G 6’1 195 22 Wisconsin R
Kenny Frease C 6’11 281 24 Artland Dragons (Germany) R
JaJuan Johnson F 6’9 221 25 Pistoia Basket (Italy) 1
Kenny Kadji F 6’10 242 26 Rio Grande Valley R
Johnny O’Bryant C 6’9 256 21 LSU R
Jabari Parker F 6’8 235 19 Duke R
Jordan Taylor G 6’1 195 24 Virtus Roma (Italy) R
C.J. Williams G 6’5 225 24 Los Angeles D-Fenders R
Nate Wolters G 6’4 190 23 Milwaukee Bucks 1
Chris Wright F 6’8 225 25 Milwaukee Bucks 2

 

Breakdown:  As much as NBA writers love Giannis Antetokounmpo, the focus this week will be on #2 pick Jabari Parker. Parker is as prepared as any rookie to make an impact next year, especially on offense with his versatile array of weapons. Antetokounmpo continued to develop in his rookie season and if his development doesn’t plateau soon, he could become a good player. Either way, his length gives Milwaukee another potential shot-blocker on defense. 2013 second-round pick Nate Wolters performed very well when inserted in the starting line-up, and he probably should have kept the job all season. Wolters was known more as a scorer in college, but he handled his point guard duties as well as could be expected from a rookie. Second round pick this year. Johnny O’Bryant finally started to assert himself this past season at LSU, showing a versatile offensive player and another potential shot-blocker for the defense. Chris Wright signed a contract with the Bucks late last season and as a forward who loves to attack the basket, he could provide the Bucks some extra scoring off the bench. Former Wisconsin point guard Jordan Taylor has had a couple of good seasons in Italy’s top league, and while there is nothing flashy about his game, he executes a coach’s gameplan extremely well and uses his body to get into the defense and create scoring opportunities, as well as playing tough perimeter defense. Former Pittsburgh guard Gilbert Brown has always been a strong defender and good role player, and he has worked on becoming a better perimeter shooter, hitting 36% of his three-point attempts in the D-League last season.  Kenny Frease is a big presence in the middle at almost 7-feet tall and 290 pounds. While Frease isn’t very quick, he is skilled and he doesn’t back down on the defensive end. Former first-round pick JaJuan Johnson has been out of the NBA the past two seasons, but he is a good shooting forward who can score efficiently within 15 feet. Kenny Kadji was known more as long-range threat in college, but the shooting touch seemed to disappear in stops in Germany and the D-League last season. Still, at 6’10, if Kadji can regain his touch, he can be a valuable player down the road for his next team. Former North Carolina State guard CJ Williams is a strong perimeter shooter, hitting almost 100 three-pointers in the D-League last season at a 44% clip. Wisconsin guard Ben Brust is another good long-range shooter, as well as an above-average defender, though at 6’1, he will need to show that he can run the point well.

 

Minnesota Timberwolves

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
LaRon Dendy F 6’9 230 25 Ferro-ZNTU (Ukraine) R
Mamadi Diane F 6’5 205 27 Boulogne (France) R
Gorgui Dieng C 6’11 245 24 Minnesota Timberwolves 1
Kyrylo Fesenko C 7’1 280 27 Canton Charge 5
Brady Heslip G 6’2 180 24 Baylor R
Dennis Horner F 6’9 230 26 Bakersfield Jam 1
D.J. Kennedy G 6’6 215 24 Hapoel Holon (Israel) 1
Zach LaVine G 6’5 180 19 UCLA R
Jordan Morgan F 6’8 250 22 Michigan R
Shabazz Muhammad F 6’6 222 21 Minnesota Timberwolves 1
Glenn Robinson III F 6’6 220 20 Michigan R
Alexey Shved G 6’6 182 25 Minnesota Timberwolves 2
Markel Starks G 6’2 175 23 Georgetown R

 

Breakdown:  The Timberwolves have a nice mix of veteran talent alongside some athletic young players. One of last season’s first-round picks, Gorgui Dieng, had a very good year when forced to step into the lineup and he should continue to improve on both ends of the floor as he gets used to the speed of the NBA game. Last season’s other first-round pick, Shabazz Muhammad, struggled as expected, and I’m still not sure he has what it takes to be an NBA player. He is very athletic and has an NBA body, but he is so far behind skill-wise that you wonder if he’ll ever fit in. The same goes for this year’s first-round pick, Zach LaVine. LaVine is a tremendous athlete, who has also shown some shooting ability, but he has such a low understanding of the game, it can be tough to watch. 3rd year guard Alexey Shved hasn’t impressed much since coming over from Russia, and his inability to shoot the ball makes it tough to play him consistent minutes.  2014 second-round pick Glenn Robinson III didn’t have the year many expected this past season a Michigan, but he is athletic and skilled with an NBA body and it should be a matter of time before he puts all of it together.  Center Kyrylo Fesenko is an NBA veteran, though he never averaged more than 9 minutes per game in 5 seasons with Utah and Indiana.  Fesenko is a massive presence in the paint and he moves fairly well for his size, though he can have a tough time defending quicker big men. Undrafted rookie Brady Heslip was one of the NCAA’s best three-point shooters and he already has NBA-range, so I’d expect him to knock down a few if he gets the ball.  Former Georgetown point guard Markel Starks is a steady and smart leader, and he can be a very streaky shooter from long-range, though he may not have the quickness to guard a lot of NBA-level point guards.  LaRon Dendy has a few very good years in a row over in Europe and his length and ability to score efficiently around the basket could have some NBA teams interested down the road.  Power forward Dennis Horner has been one of the D-League’s most consistent players over the past few years, providing tough defense and rebounding, as well as nice scoring ability around the basket.

 

New Orleans Pelicans

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
Camron Ayers G 6’5 203 22 Bucknell R
Luke Babbitt F 6’9 225 25 New Orleans Pelicans 4
Josh Carter F 6’7 195 27 Montepaschi Siena (Italy) R
Keith Chamberlain F 6’9 240 26 Haccettepe (Turkey) R
Drew Crawford G 6’5 215 23 Northwestern R
Courtney Fells G 6’5 205 27 Austin Toros R
Abdul Gaddy G 6’3 185 22 Maine Red Claws R
Josh Howard F 6’7 210 34 Austin Toros 10
DeQuan Jones F 6’8 230 24 Reno Bighorns 1
Samardo Samuels F 6’9 260 25 Emporio Armani Milano (Italy) 3
Russ Smith G 6’0 165 23 Louisville R
James Southerland G 6’8 215 24 New Orleans Pelicans 1
Jeff Withey C 7’0 235 24 New Orleans Pelicans 1
Patric Young C 6’9 240 22 Florida R

 

Breakdown:  It’s not too often I can remember a Summer League team that didn’t feature at least one former first-round pick of a team, but here are the Pelicans.  Luke Babbitt was a one-time first-round pick for the Trail Blazers, but he is hoping to get a fresh start with the Pelicans and he played fairly well for them towards the end of last season. Second-round pick last season, Jeff Withey, played limited minutes last season, but the hope for the Pelicans is that he will be able to show the same rim protecting abilities he did in college. James Southerland is a three-point specialist who played in the D-League along with two NBA stop lasts seasons, though the shots weren’t falling from the perimeter like he was used to. He did adjust and found other ways to score.  Samardo Samuels has seemed to impress everywhere he has gone, especially since he has gotten in much better shape over the past few years. He is a strong big man who knows how to use his body well to create space to score and rebound. NBA veteran Josh Howard continues his attempt at a comeback after a season-ending injury derailed his D-League season last year. Howard was once a 20 point per game scorer in the NBA, though this is probably his last shot at getting back to the league.  Second-round pick Russ Smith will be making his debut for the Pelicans and he should provide some excitement for the Vegas crowds. Smith will pick up his defense full court and do all he can to try and create turnovers, though his style of play can be a bit risky. Undrafted rookie Patric Young is freakishly strong and a very good defender, though a bit limited offensively.  Abdul Gaddy had a strong rookie year in the D-League, showing he can effectively run an offense and defend quicker point guards. Undrafted rookies Drew Crawford from Northwestern and Cameron Ayers from Bucknell can both stretch the floor with their shooting ability. Small forward Josh Carter has had successful stints in Israel, Russia and Italy the past few seasons and his ability to score in a variety of ways should get him some NBA looks.

 

New York Knicks

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
Cole Aldrich C 6’11 245 25 New York Knicks 4
Thanasis Antetokounmpo F 6’7 215 22 Delaware 87ers R
Shannon Brown G 6’4 205 28 New York Knicks 8
Cleanthony Early F 6’8 219 23 Wichita State R
Langston Galloway G 6’2 202 22 St. Joseph’s R
Tim Hardaway, Jr. G 6’6 205 22 New York Knicks 1
Jordan Henriquez C 6’11 250 24 Rio Grande Valley Vipers R
Zane Johnson G 6’6 210 24 Canton Charge R
Shane Larkin G 5’11 176 21 Dallas Mavericks 1
Cameron Moore F 6’10 230 23 Casserta (Italy) R
Will Sheehey F 6’7 200 22 Indiana R
Brandon Triche G 6’4 210 23 Trento (Italy) R
Jeremy Tyler C 6’9 250 23 New York Knicks 3
Jordan Vandenberg C 7’1 245 24 North Carolina State R

 

Breakdown:  The Knicks are led by last year’s first round pick, Tim Hardaway Jr., who was one of the few bright spots in a miserable season for New York. Hardaway provided almost 10 points per game off the bench, showing he can score in a variety of ways for the Knicks. I wouldn’t expect him to play more than a couple of games in Vegas though as there isn’t much for him to gain. Another first-round pick last season, Shane Larkin, just came to the Knicks in the Tyson Chandler trade. Larkin didn’t get a lot of playing time with the Mavericks last year, but he is a solid point guard who can knock down shots and defend well. Forward Jeremy Tyler has bounced around a lot for only being 23 years old, but he has continue to improve on both ends of the floor the past few seasons, and he could be a serviceable big for the Knicks this upcoming year.  The Knicks are guard Shannon Brown’s 7th team in the last 8 seasons, and I’m not sure exactly where he fits in with the team next season. If Brown can defend still at a high level and knock down open shots, he may get some time. Center Cole Aldrich hasn’t played a lot in 4 NBA seasons, but he is a solid big man who likes to defend and can block shots. Second-round pick this year Cleanthony Early is a versatile forward who can knock down jumpers, get to the basket off the dribble, or post up smaller defenders. Early is also a very tough perimeter defender who can guard multiple positions. The Knicks’ other second-rounder this year, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, is athletic, but still raw, and was barely an average D-League player last year. I don’t see him being an NBA player anytime in the near future. Forward Cameron Moore is long and athletic, and he has had two very good seasons overseas in the Ukraine and Italy. Moore may not be a very efficient scorer, but he uses his length well to disrupt shots and rebound. Former Kansas State center Jordan Henriquez is another solid rim-protector, though the rest of his game leaves a lot to be desired.  Former Syracuse guard Brandon Triche is a good perimeter shooter as well as being an underrated passer.  Langston Galloway is a quick and strong guard who is very good at creating his own shot opportunities. Galloway hit over 44% of his three-point attempts last year at St. Joseph’s. Will Sheehey was as disappointing last year as his Indiana team was. He was solid coming off the bench in previous years, but he never really adjusted to being a starter. He is athletic and able to help out on both ends of the floor.

 

Philadelphia 76ers

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
Brandon Davies F 6’10 240 23 Philadelphia 76ers 1
Adonis Thomas F 6’7 235 21 Philadelphia 76ers 1
Garrick Sherman C 6’11 255 23 Notre Dame R
Scottie Wilbekin G 6’2 176 21 Florida R
Devon Saddler G 6’2 210 23 Delaware R
Elijah Milsap G 6’6 215 26 Los Angles D-Fenders R
Tyreek Duren G 6’0 190 22 La Salle R
Tim Frazier G 6’1 170 23 Penn State R
Drew Gordon F 6’9 245 24 Banco di Sardegna Sassari (Italy) R
Elijah Johnson G 6’0 190 24 Rosa Radom (Poland) R
Jamelle Hagins F 6’9 230 23 Rio Grande Valley R
Sean Kilpatrick G 6’4 210 24 Cincinnati R
Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson F 6’6 215 23 AB Contern (Luxembourg) R
Jordan McRae G 6’6 185 23 Tennessee R
Nerlens Noel C 6’11 228 20 Philadelphia 76ers R
KJ McDaniels F 6’6 200 21 Clemson R
Jerami Grant F 6’8 210 20 Syracuse R
Mouphtaou Yarou C 6’10 255 24 KK Radnicki Kragujevic (Serbia) R

 

Breakdown:  The Sixers’ Orlando squad won the title there, but this team is probably more talented.  Nerlens Noel looked fantastic in his NBA debut in Orlando, showing the athleticism and shot-blocking expected, with a much-improved offensive game.  Second-round picks Jerami Grant, KJ McDaniels, and Jordan McRae all also looked good in ways in Orlando, though it is clear that Grant may not be ready for the NBA yet. McDaniels was as good a defender as advertised and showed some good moments on offense. McRae is a strong perimeter shooter who uses his size well to create shots and defend on the perimeter.  Point guard Scottie Wilbekin is a high-level defender as well as a steady point guard. If he can knock down shots consistently, he will remain on NBA teams’ radars.  Adonis Thomas looked overmatched as a pro last year, but he is athletic with an NBA body and if he can find one skill that he can excel at, he still may make it in the league. Brando Davies impressed last summer, though he wasn’t able to translate that to the NBA season. He can be a skilled scorer around the basket and a tough defender and rebounder. Former Cincinnati guard Sean Kilpatrick was one of the NCAA’s top scorers last season, and his ability to create his own shot, especially from three-point range, should have him with an NBA team sooner rather than later. Penn State guard Time Frazier rebounded from an Achilles’ injury to have a great all-around senior year. He may not be an efficient scorer, but he creates opportunities on both ends of the floor. Former New Mexico forward Drew Gordon is coming off a solid year in Turkey and Italy where his athleticism allows him to create good scoring chances around the basket. Former Temple forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson has always been more athlete than basketball player, but it does allow him to make some spectacular plays on both ends of the floor. However, there really isn’t anything he does particularly well. Notre Dame center Garrick Sherman had a very good senior year, showing that he could be a consistent scoring threat in the post and a solid rebounder, though he is an average defender at best. Delaware’s Devon Saddler is another strong scoring guard who can knock down shots or use his strong body to bully defenders on the way to the rim.

 

Phoenix Suns

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
Taylor Braun F 6’7 210 23 North Dakota State R
Alec Brown C 7’1 235 22 Green Bay R
Dionte Christmas G 6’5 205 27 Phoenix Suns 1
Seth Curry G 6’1 180 23 Santa Cruz 1
Tyler Ennis G 6’3 182 19 Syracuse R
Archie Goodwin G 6’5 198 19 Phoenix Suns 1
Elias Harris F 6’8 239 25 Brose Baskets (Germany) 1
Alex Len C 7’1 255 21 Phoenix Suns 1
Miles Plumlee C 6’11 255 25 Phoenix Suns 2
Alex Oriahki C 6’9 255 24 Sioux Falls R
David Stockton G 5’11 165 23 Gonzaga R
T.J. Warren F 6’8 215 20 North Carolina State R

 

Breakdown:  The surprise team in the NBA last season, the Suns are led in Vegas by a pair of big men in Miles Plumlee and Alex Len. Plumlee was tremendous in his first season in Phoenix after being rarely used in Indiana. Plumlee provided a high-energy athletic big man who could run the floor with the Suns’ guards.  Len missed half of last year due to injury, and once he came back, it was tough for him to find his place with a team playing well. When healthy, Len gives them a skilled big man who can score in a variety of ways out to 15 feet. Guard Archie Goodwin didn’t get a whole lot of time off the bench last season, but if Eric Bledsoe is to leave, Goodwin needs to be ready to step in to a bigger role. The same goes for Dionte Christmas, and both are talented enough that they should be able to take the pressure off Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas.  First round pick Tyler Ennis is the odd man out, though his more deliberate and careful style of play will be a nice change of pace for the Suns at times.  Ennis has shown he can hit long-range jumpers, though he needs to be consistent. Like any Curry, Seth is a great long-range shooter, but between Summer League and the D-League he has shown that he is adapting to playing the point guard position more and is good at finding open teammates.  Former Gonzaga point guard, David Stockton has his father’s calm demeanor on the floor and he developed into a strong college point guard over the years, though he needs some work on the defensive end. First round pick TJ Warren is a fantastic scorer with the ability to play in the post or on the perimeter, as well as run the floor very well for his size. While he isn’t a great defender, he reads passing lanes well and is good at creating turnovers.  2014 second-round pick Alec Brown is a great shooter for 7’1, and he moves around the perimeter like a much smaller player. He just doesn’t have the strength to use his size effectively in the post on offense or defense, though he can be a good help defender and shot blocker.  North Dakota State’s Taylor Braun is a good perimeter shooter and though not very quick, he plays hard on the defensive end. Elias Harris is a strong power forward who can also step out and knock down jumpers.

 

Portland Trail Blazers

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
Keith Appling G 6’1 185 22 Michigan State R
Will Barton G 6’6 185 23 Portland Trail Blazers 2
Davion Berry G 6’4 185 22 Weber State R
Craig Brackins F 6’10 230 26 Stelmet ZG (Poland) 2
Bobby Brown G 6’2 175 29 Dongguan (China) 2
Matthew Bryan-Amaning F 6’9 240 26 Antibes (France) R
Rodney Carney G 6’7 205 30 Al Riyadi (Lebanon) 5
Allen Crabbe G 6’6 197 22 Portland Trail Blazers 1
Joel Freeland F 6’11 248 27 Portland Trail Blazers 2
Jonathan Gibson G 6’2 175 26 Petrochimi (Iran) R
Meyers Leonard C 7’1 255 22 Portland Trail Blazers 2
CJ McCollum G 6’3 197 22 Portland Trail Blazers 1
Thomas Robinson F 6’9 240 23 Portland Trail Blazers 2

 

Breakdown:  The Trail Blazers will be putting out a veteran squad at Summer League, including members of their bench who need to improve to keep the team on the upward track.  Last year’s #10 pick, CJ McCollum, missed a portion of last season with an injury and it took him some time to get readjusted once he was back. If he can build on another strong summer league, he could be a valuable member of the guard rotation next season.  Last year’s second-round pick Allen Crabbe didn’t make much of an impact as a rookie, appearing in just 15 games, but his long-range shooting ability will hopefully get him more minutes soon. Joel Freeland and Meyers Leonard could both help with frontcourt depth, but neither had distinguished themselves when they’ve had a chance. Will Barton has slowly been increasing his skill levels to go with his high athleticism, and a strong summer league could put him in position to play a bigger role. Thomas Robinson made a good impact as an energy guy off the bench for Portland last season, and there is still a lot more he should be capable of. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was one of Portland’s top 2 players in Vegas this week.  Undrafted rookie point guard Keith Appling was a nice pick up as a solid leader who knows how to get a team into their offense well and with the ability to get into the lane and force defense to scramble. Weber State guard Davion Berry had an excellent senior season, averaging over 19 points per game, to go with 4 rebounds and 4 assists, and 39% from three-point range. Berry is a versatile guard who loves to beat defenders off the dribble and he uses his body well to draw contact around the rim. Veteran point guard Bobby Brown has always been a Summer League standout and he’s looking for another shot at the NBA. Brown averaged over 30 points per game in China last season, after two strong seasons in Europe, and he may be one of the players most likely to score 30 in a game this week in Las Vegas.    Rodney Carney was last seen in the NBA in 2011 and though he never lived up to his billing as a mid-first round draft pick, he is a capable scorer when he gets the ball.  Craig Brackins is another player who fizzled out quickly after being a first-round draft pick, but he has good size and skill and just needs to be tougher and more aware on the floor.  Former Washington big man Matthew Bryan-Amaning has had a solid overseas career so far, and he has shown he has a nice combination of toughness and skill to be effective around the basket.

 

Sacramento Kings

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
Quincy Acy F 6’7 225 23 Sacramento Kings 2
Sim Bhullar C 7’5 360 21 New Mexico State R
MarShon Brooks G 6’5 200 25 Los Angeles Lakers 3
Jared Cunningham G 6’4 195 23 Sacramento Kings 2
Ra’shad James G 6’1 193 24 Reno R
Dwayne Jones C 6’11 248 31 6
Brendan Lane F 6’9 235 23 Pepperdine R
Ray McCallum G 6’3 190 23 Sacramento Kings 1
Ben McLemore G 6’5 195 21 Sacramento Kings 1
Eric Moreland F 6’10 218 22 Oregon State R
Jake Odum G 6’4 170 23 Indiana State R
Josh Owens F 6’8 240 25 Hapoel Tel Aviv R
Nik Stauskas G 6’6 205 20 Michigan R
Nick Wiggins F 6’6 187 23 Wichita State R
Derrick Williams F 6’8 241 23 Sacramento Kings 3

 

Breakdown:  Sacramento has a lot of good, young talent on their roster, led by their last two first-round picks, Nik Stauskas and Ben McLemore.  McLemore’s rookie season didn’t go as well as many expected, and he didn’t seem to get comfortable on the floor until later in the season. He is an athletic shooter, but if the shots aren’t falling, he needs to find other ways to contribute.  Stauskas, a rookie out of Michigan, was one of college’s best long-range shooters, though he also showed he was capable of scoring or distributing off the dribble. Stauskas is athletic, but he isn’t a very good defender, though he will improve over time. 2013 second-round pick Ray McCallum played limited minutes last year, but he could be a major part of the Kings’ plans going forward with his ability to get into the lane and finish at the rim, or hit open teammates off the dribble. He needs to become a much better long-range shooter though to keep defenders honest. Former #2 pick Derrick Williams never really got comfortable in Minnesota, and hopefully he will make the most of his time with the Kings. He is still at his best when using his strength and athleticism around the basket, but he goes out to the perimeter and takes poor shots instead of playing to his strengths. Quincy Acy is a physical, high energy player who loves to crash the boards and defend, though he has also improved his offensive skill set over the past couple of years.  MarShon Brooks has bounced around a bit in his short NBA career, probably because he is a high volume shooter who isn’t all that efficient. When he gets hot, he can put up points quickly, but that is a rare occurrence.  Jared Cunningham is similar in that he can be a volume shooter, though he has only played 21 NBA games in 2 years.  He’s never been a very good perimeter shooter, and that is something he needs if he wants to get another shot in the NBA.  Undrafted rookie Sim Bhullar is a massive human being, at 7’5 and 360 pounds, and he is actually a bit skilled. Obviously, conditioning is a problem for him and he needs to lose a serious amount of weight to be play in the NBA. Oregon State’s Eric Moreland was one of college’s top rebounders and shot blockers over the past 2 seasons, and he uses his length well to create havoc on the defensive end. He isn’t as skilled offensively. Indiana State point guard Jake Odum was a tremendous all-around guard in college, showing the ability to score, pass, and defend, as well as being the guy most likely to dive in the stands after a loose ball.  Nick Wiggins, brother of Andrew, was a solid role player for a Wichita State team which was one of college basketball’s best the last 2 years.  While not the talent or athleticism of his brother, Wiggins is a tough defender and a great role player who will do whatever a coach needs.  Former NBA big man Dwayne Jones is looking for another shot at the league and with his size (6’11) and ability to defend and block shots; he may get it with a good performance this week. Former Stanford forward Josh Owens had a good season in Israel with his ability to use his body well to create easy shots and defend in the post or on the perimeter.

 

San Antonio Spurs

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
Kyle Anderson F 6’9 230 20 UCLA R
Darius Morris G 6’5 195 23 Rio Grande Valley 3
Xavi Rey C 6’11 252 26 Gran Canaria (Spain) R
Jeff Ayres F 6’9 250 27 San Antonio Spurs 4
Trey McKinney-Jones G 6’5 220 23 Fort Wayne R
Ryan Richards C 6’11 230 23 Ikaros Kallitheas (Greece) R
Austin Daye F 6’11 200 26 San Antonio Spurs 5
Marcus Denmon G 6’3 185 24 Tofas (Turkey) R
Bryce Cotton G 6’1 165 21 Providence R
Deshaun Thomas F 6’7 215 22 JSF Nanterre (France) R
Melvin Ejim F 6’6 220 23 Iowa State R
Vander Blue G 6’4 200 22 Idaho 1
Viktor Gaddefors F 6’8 216 21 Virtus Bologna (Italy) R
JaMychal Green F 6’8 228 24 Chorale Roanne (France) R
Nobel Boungou-Colo F 6’8 215 26 Limoges (France) R

 

Breakdown:  While the Spurs have some experienced players on this roster, the player to watch this week is rookie Kyle Anderson.  Anderson, a point guard in college, will give the Spurs a versatile offensive weapon at the forward position with his superior vision and passing skills. He also has continued to develop his jumper and he uses his long strides and slow speed to keep defenders off-balance when he looks to get to the rim.  Forward Austin Daye has always been long and skilled, but it hasn’t translated well at his other NBA spots. He joined the Spurs at the end of last year and there is hope that Coach Popovich will find the right role for him. Jeff Ayres was a solid role player last year for the champs, and he is the kind of player who can be counted on to go out and play tough defense for a short stretches every game. Vander Blue is a talented scorer, though inconsistent shooter. Though he earned one call up last year from the D-League, he will need to show that he can knock down jumpers consistently if he wants to stick. Darius Morris has been with 4 NBA teams in his 3 seasons, but he has shown that given time, he can score effectively, just not well enough to really be an NBA player. Undrafted rookie Bryce Cotton has already signed a contract with the Spurs and they are getting a point guard who can score in a variety of ways, as well as defend and make good passes. Former Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim was the Big 12 Player of the Year at Iowa State, scoring 18 points per game and grabbing 8 rebounds. Former second-round pick Deshaun Thomas had a solid first pro season in France and while the Spurs may not have room for him yet, they will keep an eye on his high-level scoring ability.    Xavi Rey has good size, but really doesn’t offer much else, as he isn’t a very good scorer, rebounder, or shot blocker.  Another former second-round pick, Marcus Denmon, has had two good seasons overseas, and this past year in Turkey, he showed he could score as well as be a good distributor off the dribble.

 

Toronto Raptors

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
TJ Bray G 6’5 205 22 Princeton R
Dwight Buycks G 6’3 190 25 Toronto Raptors 1
Bruno Caboclo F 6’9 205 18 Pinheiros (Brazil) R
Chris Daniels C 7’0 265 30 Sagesse (Lebanon) R
DeAndre Daniels F 6’9 195 22 Connecticut R
Sam Dower F 6’9 240 23 Gonzaga R
Darington Hobson F 6’7 210 26 Hapoel Migd.H (Israel) 1
Eli Holman C 6’10 260 25 Usak (Turkey) R
Myck Kabongo G 6’3 180 22 Austin Toros R
Doron Lamb G 6’4 200 22 Orlando Magic 2
Malcolm Lee G 6’5 200 24 2
Scott Machado G 6’1 205 24 ASVEL (France) 1
Lucas Noguiera C 7’0 220 21 Estudiantes (Spain) R
John Shurna F 6’9 220 24 FIATC Joventut (Spain) R
Hassan Whiteside C 7’0 235 25 Jiangsu TX (China) 2

 

Breakdown:  The Raptors won’t have much proven NBA talent playing for them in Las Vegas, but even if it did, the focus wouldn’t be on them. Everyone is waiting for their chance to see last month’s #20 pick, Bruno Caboclo, in action to see what Toronto was thinking.  Termed by someone as the “Brazilian Kevin Durant”, I’m not expecting we’ll see much more than some awkward ballhandling attempts and maybe a blocked shot or two. Fellow 2014 draftee DeAndre Daniels will be there and he should have some opportunities to show his athleticism off, especially running with point guards like Dwight Buycks and Scott Machado. Buycks has a good Summer League last year, which led Toronto to sign him, but he played in just 14 games. He may be battling for a roster spot here. Machado is a fun point guard to watch in transition, with tremendous vision and passing ability. He still has had trouble adjusting his game to the half-court offense. Recent Orlando Magic guard Doron Lamb didn’t have much opportunity to show much in his two NBA seasons, though he did show he can still knock down long-range shots. He needs to show he can do more though. Myck Kabongo hasn’t really gotten on track since he left Texas early for the NBA. He wasn’t bad in the D-League last season, but he didn’t stand out in any way. Big man Hassan Whiteside is looking to make his way back to the NBA after a couple of wasted seasons in Sacramento. He has made stops in the D-League, China and Lebanon since.  Bebe Nogueira and his hair will be back for Summer League for another year, and while not very impressive for Atlanta last season, he had his moments.  Still he is very much a project.  Eli Holman has impressed with his ability to score and be a physical defender around the basket during Orlando Summer League and he will give the Raptors a solid big man here rather than projects.  Fellow center Chris Daniels is coming off a good year in Lebanon, where he almost averaged a double-double, as well as close to 2 blocks per game. Most people know John Shurna for his funky shooting form, which also happens to go in often, but he is also a smart and tough player who makes those around him better. Undrafted rookie guard TJ Bray was tremendous last season at Princeton, both as a scorer and distributor, and his ability to understand spacing and make good reads should come in handy. Sam Dower had an unheralded career at Gonzaga, but he improved every season and can be tough to keep off the boards on both ends.

 

Utah Jazz

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
Trey Burke G 6’1 190 21 Utah Jazz 1
Ian Clark G 6’3 173 23 Utah Jazz 1
Nick Covington G 6’2 200 28 Erie Bayhawks R
Dante Exum G 6’6 190 19 Australian Inst. Of Sport R
Niels Giffey F 6’7 205 23 Connecticut R
Rudy Gobert C 7’1 245 22 Utah Jazz 1
Rodney Hood F 6’8 215 21 Duke R
Brock Motum F 6’10 245 23 Virtus Bologna (Italy) R
Erik Murphy F 6’10 230 23 Utah Jazz 1
Chris Roberts G 6’4 205 26 JuveCaserta (Italy) R
Malcolm Thomas F 6’9 225 25 Utah Jazz 3
Jason Washburn C 7’0 245 24 Tsmoki-Minsk (Ukraine) R

 

Breakdown:  The Jazz will have a young, athletic team in Las Vegas, led by last year’s first-round pick Trey Burke, and this year’s first-rounders Dante Exum and Rodney Hood. Burke did not have a good Summer League last year, but ended up having a good rookie year, averaging 13 points and 6 assists per game. Exum will dazzle some with his athleticism and the ease he shows going to the basket, but he is still a very raw prospect who will need a couple of seasons to develop his skills. Hood is a long, athletic wing who can knock down long-range shots, though he needs to learn to do more with his abilities, especially on the defensive end. Another former first-round pick, Rudy Gobert played limited minutes last season and looked every bit the project that he is, but at 7’1, the Jazz hope he turns into a strong rim protector down the road.  Malcolm Thomas has been a Summer League star the past few seasons, but he has yet to turn it into anything at the NBA level, getting shots with 4 teams over the past 3 seasons. He is an athletic forward who never seems to stop moving on the floor, crashing the glass strong at both ends of the floor.  Erik Murphy is a stretch 4 who had limited minutes with the Bulls last season before being picked up by the Jazz on waivers. He can knock down long-range shots and can be an effective scorer and defender around the basket. Ian Clark was the darling of last year’s Summer Leagues and he turned his performance into a deal with the Jazz. He showed last year that he is a threat to score from anywhere on the floor, though he didn’t get much run in his rookie year. Former Washington State standout Brock Motum had a good first year playing in Italy’s top league. A skilled big man who can step out and knock down shots, Motum can be very effective if you get him the ball in the right spots.  Niels Giffey had a good senior season for Connecticut as they won the NCAA Championship. He had a strong summer last year playing for his native Germany in EuroBasket and it translated this past season where he knocked down 48% of his three-point attempts.  Nick Covington played well in Turkey last season after being waived by Erie in the D-League, though minutes could be limited at the guard spot this week.  7-footer Jason Washburn had a very good rookie year in the Ukraine last year, averaging 13 points and 6 rebounds per game, but he has never really been the type of rim protector you want out of a big man.  Still, he works hard on both ends of the floor and will always be involved in plays.  Former Bradley shooting guard Chris Roberts has had a couple of nice seasons in Italy and the D-League, where he has shown to be a versatile scorer and defender in the backcourt.

 

Washington Wizards

Name Pos Ht Wt Age Last Team Exp
Khem Birch F 6’9 220 22 UNLV R
Deonte Burton G 6’1 190 23 Nevada R
Ian Chiles C 7’2 260 23 Morgan State R
Jarrell Eddie F 6’7 220 22 Virginia Tech R
Kim English G 6’6 200 25 Chorale Roanne (France) 1
Charles Garcia F 6’10 229 25 Ali Muharraq (Bahrain) R
Christian Kabongo G 6’4 200 23 Idaho Stampede 1
Frantz Massenat G 6’4 190 22 Drexel R
Daniel Miller C 6’11 275 24 Georgia Tech R
Daniel Orton C 6’10 256 23 Maine Red Claws 4
Otto Porter F 6’9 205 21 Washington Wizards 1
Glen Rice, Jr. G 6’6 252 23 Washington Wizards 1
Daniel Theis F 6’9 215 22 Brose Basket (Germany) R
Kwame Vaughn G 6’3 195 24 Agrigento (Italy) R
Maalik Wayns G 6’1 195 23 Rio Grande Valley 2
Jamil Wilson F 6’7 230 23 Marquette R

 

Breakdown:  The Wizards are led by a couple of 2nd year players, including last year’s #3 pick, Otto Porter. Injuries set back Porter’s rookie year, but he is still a very smart player who can rebound and knock down shots.  Glen Rice Jr. has the potential to be a good scorer on the wing, especially when he gets in a rhythm with his jumper. Former Villanova point guard Maalik Wayns has had some NBA experience, and he does a good job beating players off the dribble and getting into the defense, though he needs to do a better job finishing at the basket. Undrafted rookie Khem Birch is a high-motor forward who runs the floor well, can defend multiple positions and can block shots at a high rate. Nevada point guard Deonte Burton did a good job getting his game under more control and he is very good in transition where he can finish well or hit open teammates.  Former Marquette forward Jamil Wilson has always shown good athletic ability and he can defend multiple positions, though his offensive skill set needs to improve. Former Piston Kim English is a smart player who understands how to space the floor and either knock down shots or find open teammates.  Daniel Orton has had opportunities to show that he can be an NBA center, though he just always seems to be a step behind everyone on the floor. He has good size and his skill and conditioning have come along, but he may not get many more shots at the NBA.  Rookie free agent Daniel Miller has NBA size at the center position and he has developed into a very strong defender as well as having a few go-to moves in the post.   7’2 Ian Chiles is a project, but his senior year at Morgan State was his best yet, and he has shown a willingness to be taught, so in the right hands, he can develop into a pro big man.

 

That’s your Las Vegas Summer League preview.  Sorry for no D-League Select Team, but I will cover them in the Review at the end of the League.

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