Game 1: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. San Antonio Spurs
Will Cherry was the MVP of this one. Cherry is an explosive point guard at only 6'1 185 lbs He's a high leaper who uses that to his advantage in attacking the basket and has a very quick first step that gets him to top speeds quickly. Cherry only had 9 points coming into the fourth quarter but finished with 21. You rarely see a point guard be one of those all out motor guys but Cherry is one of the exceptions. He also came down with 7 rebounds and had 4 assists. He was lighting it up from three but his college stats suggest that this was just a hot streak. Most importantly though, Cherry defended and ran the offense well enough to warrant at least some attention. The energy he played with along with the finishing he had with his athleticism suggests that he could possibly be an NBA player. The thing about summer league is that it doesn't tell you who is an NBA player, but it eliminates those who certainly aren't one. I wouldn't eliminate Cherry. Tidbits...
- Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett were much better in this one. They both had a lot of rhythm in their jumpers early and Wiggins didn't even hit the rim for his first couple of makes. Bennett is still forcing it when he has it at the top of the key, but he was making them confidently when he had enough space.
- After seeing Wiggins live twice I can confirm the assertive concerns. On Friday the defense was scrambling and he was wide open on the wing for about 5 seconds. Instead of jumping up and down or yelling for the ball, he just stood there with his hands on his hips. He might have been tired, but come on man demand the ball and hit that open three! He also refuses to consistently attack the basket despite getting to the basket every single time he wanted to. He could have averaged 18 free throws a game here if he wanted to but that's not his thing I guess. His handle is still pretty loose but he hasn't turned it over so far here on a drive. His perimeter game is very good though and he showed off that signature step-back a few times.
- Kyle Anderson had a rough day offensively (Wiggins), but he showed that savvy defensive play that some scouts would counterpoint to those saying he couldn't play defense. He had a couple of great strips on Wiggins and recovered nicely for a block later in the game. He's going to be unreal in the Spurs offense with his ball movement and shooting.
- Carrick Felix had a much better day. The former ASU player got involved much more today with his energy and athleticism, which extends to defense, rebounds, steals, and transition. He has potential as a slasher in this league which is why he got drafted and he showcased that the other skills he has work well.
- Matthew Dellavedova took only three shots but had seven assists. The guy is a legit backup point guard.
Game 2: Sacramento Kings vs. Charlotte Hornets
P.J. Hairston did not have a good Friday to say the least. He shot 2-16 from the field and 1-10 from three. He got off to another cold start today until he caught fire. Hairston hit three straight from deep that almost ripped the net because his makes were that pure. All three of them were legitimately contested and it didn't matter. When he is off he can't do much offensively but when he catches his rhythm he is so dangerous. Not sure if he's a permanent replacement at the 2 guard for the Hornets but he could be a great weapon off of the bench. Bullets...
- Sim Bhullar saw the floor! The colossal 7'5" center was a big talking point amongst the crowd. He got one post touch which resulted in nothing but hey do you big fella.
- I got a nice squat workout in this one as the people in my isle were obsessed with just about any autograph they could get. Being a tall person requires you to get up every time someone wants to get by so that wasn't so much fun.
- I did not see Noah Vonleh's debut on Friday when he shot 0-13 so I was curious to see how he'd look today. He is so good on the boards and defensively already that I can see why teams were so high on him. However, if his jumper isn't falling it's going to be tough for him to succeed and that's the key to his career.
- Ra'shad James, the backup point for the Kings here in Vegas had a small contingent behind me in the bleachers. Whenever he did anything they went crazy and it was hilarious. My favorite was when a defender was late to jump out on him and he buried a three resulting in a "hand down man down" from a few of them. Summer league!
- Ben McLemore continues to look very good in both getting to the rim to finish and shooting from the perimeter. The Stauskas/McLemore thing is still strange but both have played well in Vegas.
Game 3: Chicago Bulls vs. Denver Nuggets
This was the Tony Snell and Doug McDermott show. I'm not sure where this Tony Snell was last year but he looks like one hell of an offensive player. His three was absolute butter today and he attacked the basket efficiently and finished most of those chances. McDermott kept hitting his threes from wherever he was, even if it was a couple feet behind the line. His movement off the ball is so impressive as he stays low, moves quickly, and turns in a very agile manner. The Bulls are bringing back hopefully a healthy Derrick Rose, a better Snell, Nikola Mirotic, and McDermott. Not bad. Snell and McDermott had 34 points combined at the half and this was with one of the best defenders in Vegas Gary Harris spending time on both of them.
- One thing you get from watching McDermott is that he is no doubt a complete scorer, but you get the best of him when you have him moving off the ball. Chicago came into Vegas with a clear plan of doing that as much as possible, but will this still be in the case in the pros next season? We will just have to wait and see. The Bulls don't really have any weapons off the bench besides whoever doesn't start at power forward so it should be an option. Then again running your offense around a rookie doesn't usually happen.
- Quincy Miller kept scoring and proving that he might not even deserve to be here. He had 17 points in the first half. Miller is just too tall and long for anyone undersized to properly defend him. My best comparison would be Giannis Antetokounmpo if he could consistently face-up on you and bury a jumper right in your eye. I have no idea if Miller can score like this at the next level and as our own Seth Pollack pointed out, Anthony Randolph put up 50 in the summer league once. I have a feeling he can be a good scorer in this league but we will just have to wait and see. He's someone to keep an eye on being a 21-year-old.
- Gary Harris didn't get as many looks today and spent most of the day defending the two best players on the floor. He was chasing McDermott around screens all day and did as good of a job as you possibly could on him.
Game 4: Phoenix Suns vs. Milwaukee Bucks
The two players who Suns fans probably expected to be the best players on the floor in Vegas were indeed just that in the first three quarters. Archie Goodwin was up to his usual slashing and Miles Plumlee actually made two jump shots. Two! He's still far away from being good in the post but the Suns are certainly giving him his reps. Perhaps the two biggest things for Archie in this one were the corner three he drained easily and his assist inside. These are the kinds of things that happen to your game when you get drafted at the age of 18, you grow. While Miles had his unexpected makes in the post, he did something we expected and swatted the crap out of Jabari twice in a row. The first block was a " I am stronger than you" block and the second one was a "lol you gonna force that don't you ever learn get that outta here rook" block. Jabari was not pleased and kept forcing it because that's what angry Jabari does. Both forced it too much, particularly Plumlee, but like I said earlier this is about getting reps and the plan appears to be to get those for Miles from the post. Those two did the bulk of the work through three quarters and then it was the Tyler Ennis and Seth Curry show.
Ennis was spectacular in the fourth quarter and that was a sample of what you can do with an offense if you let him attack consistently. Longabardi put shooters all around him and like I said in the preview, he reads the defense and goes from there. If the lane was open he was getting to the rim and if anyone was helping he found the open man every time. Seth Curry was happy to have him out there. Ennis did a good job on Nate Wolters tonight and he's been that way defensively throughout his play here so far. There's a signature move I want you to watch for next time they play. Ennis does this thing coming up the floor where he lets the defender think he can get a steal and then he spins off the defender to get space. He's done it a handful of times so far and it's a nifty trick. His floater game is still strong and that looks like that's a legit weapon. He is not confident shooting the three yet, as tonight was the first time he had an opportunity. He didn't pull the trigger twice and the one time he did he missed badly. That's a disappointment but I still dig his pure point play and that way he attacks the basket. That fourth quarter was fun to watch. Bullets...
- Seth Curry is winning the race between the three shooters. He is showcasing those scoring point guard skills I talked about in my preview and that savvy/inventive way he goes about creating space I talked about yesterday. He caught fire in the second half and was automatic. He's playing pretty decent defense as well. Dionte Christmas is the man but he's losing the race so far if it's being looked at from the play in Vegas. He had a couple of great passes but he's been forcing it too much when he attacks the rim. Taylor Braun was finally freed and had a couple of nice strips on D before getting pulled after a minute in the second quarter. He had an actual steal in the third quarter and overall I thought he played well given what he was tasked with. Someone tell Curry/Ennis that he can shoot!
- Alec Brown was about as bad as you could be once again. He has not even had a close miss so far in his threes. He keeps getting dominated inside and shakes his head all the time as if he doesn't understand the mismatches he has to compensate for inside. That's no shot at Brown, he just has to embrace the physical nature of playing down low. He's got a long way to go and any thought that he could fill in for some of the Channing Frye minutes was ludicrous as predicted. Brown did wind up hitting a jumper at the top of the key and then finally hit a three so he got something out of tonight.
- Elias Harris keeps playing solid enough to keep your attention. He has a pure three-point stroke that always looks like it's going in and has a good understanding of how to get to the basket from both the post and the perimeter. He did a pretty good job on Jabari Parker in the first half but then again Jabari has a big problem with forcing things.
- T.J. Warren never got going in the first quarter and a cut to his head kept him out the rest of the game.
No game for the Suns tomorrow. They play Philly on Tuesday at 5PM.