The NBA's Las Vegas Summer League concluded on Sunday after 10 days, with each team playing 5 games. Twenty-one teams participated in this league, the larger of the two Summer Leagues (Orlando ran one with 8 teams from July 5-9), including one squad of D-Leaguers. Not only were there plenty of 2010 draftees to watch, plenty of undrafted rookies tried to make a case for a spot on someone's roster come the regular season, some young NBA talent worked on new aspects of their games, and plenty of international and D-League ballers made the rounds with hopes of catching on in the league before they get too old.
Here are some final observations of the Vegas Summer League.
Biggest Losers, Again
The Los Angeles Clippers received praise from almost every media outlet for their draft last month, landing F Al-Farouq Aminu with the #8 pick, trading a future draft pick for #18 selection PG Eric Bledsoe, and picking up SG Willie Warren with the #54 spot. The experts couldn't stop grading the Clips' draft as an A, experts such as Yahoo! Sports, Sports Illustrated, NBA Draft.net, and Fanhouse. Everyone except for this guy, who said LAC actually had the worst draft in 2010. Hmmm...well that's got to be confusing. Most places say they had one of the best drafts, that guy (oh yeah, it was me) says it was the worst: where in the heck does the truth lie?
If the Summer League is our first peek into the answer, it's that Los Angeles struck out yet again with the draft. Aminu averaged 17 ppg on an abysmal 29% shooting, 5 rpg, 3.0 turnovers, and 4.4 fouls. Warren scored 7 ppg on a below-average 44% shooting, and he had just as many turnovers as assists (6 each), unacceptable for a guard. Bledsoe may have actually had the worst performance of every drafted rookie playing in Vegas, scoring 10 ppg on a terrible 39% shooting (it was 32% before going 6-for-10 in the final game against the lousy D-League squad), 54% from the free throw line (15-for-28), and recording 31 turnovers to 18 assists; again, he's supposed to be a PG, and his 6-1 height prevents him from being anything else.
Rookies Who Were Better Than Expected
Solomon Alabi, C, Toronto Raptors: 8 ppg on 57% FG, 5 rpg in 18 minutes, 1.0 bpg (needs improvement: 4.8 fouls per)
Derrick Caracter, PF, LA Lakers: 15 ppg on 59% FG, 9 rpg in 33 minutes, 1.4 blocks (needs improvement: 5.4 turnovers and 7.2 fouls)
Ed Davis, PF, Toronto Raptors: 13 ppg on 63% FG, 6 rpg in 25 minutes, 1.8 bpg (needs improvement: 3.8 fouls per)
Landry Fields, SF, NY Knicks: 16 ppg on 53% FG, 5 rpg in 26 minutes, 1.6 steals per
Gordon Hayward, SF, Utah Jazz: 11 ppg on 62% FG, 93% FT, 0.8 steals and 0.8 blocks per, 1.4-1.4 A-TO, 1.6 fouls per (needs improvement: 3 rpg in 21 minutes, 2-for-6 from distance)
Armon Johnson, PG, Portland Trail Blazers: 12 ppg on 49% FG, 4.2-2.0 A-TO, 2.2 steals per
Jerome Jordan, C, NY Knicks: 7.4 ppg on 64% FG, 4.6 rpg in 18 minutes, 0.6 blocks per (needs improvement: 0.4-2.8 A-TO, 6.8 fouls)
Gani Lawal, PF, Phoenix Suns: 15 ppg on 49% FG, 7 rpg in 28 minutes, 1.0 blocks per (needs improvement: 0.2-3.0 A-TO, 5.4 fouls per, 46% FT)
Scottie Reynolds, PG, Phoenix Suns: 10 ppg on 48% FG, 4-for-9 from deep in 3 games, 4.7-1.7 (2.8) A-TO (needs improvement: 3.7 fouls and 0.7 rebounds in 23 minutes)
Samardo Samuels, PF, Chicago Bulls: 13 ppg on 57% FG, 7 rpg in 25 minutes (needs improvement: 2.8 turnovers and 4.4 fouls)
Jarvis Varnado, PF, Miami Heat: 6.5 ppg on 56% FG, 5.5 rpg in 21 minutes, 1.8 blocks (needs to improve: 4.2 fouls per)
Top 5 Rookie Performances
Derrick Caracter, PF, LA Lakers: 33 minutes per, 15 ppg, 59% FG, 9 rpg (3.6 offensive), 1.4 blocks
Ed Davis, PF, Toronto Raptors: 25 minutes per, 13 ppg, 63% FG, 6 rpg (2.0 offensive), 1.8 blocks
Armon Johnson, PG, Portland Trail Blazers: 33 minutes per, 12 ppg, 49% FG, 4.2-2.0 A-TO, 2.2 steals, 1.6 fouls
Dominique Jones, SG, Dallas Mavericks: 32 minutes per, 17 ppg, 42% FG, 33-44 FT, 4 rpg, 3.4-2.4 A-TO, 0.8 steals (shooting improved significantly: 23 ppg on 54% over last two games)
Larry Sanders, PF, Milwaukie Bucks: 34 minutes per, 14 ppg, 45% FG, 8 rpg (3.0 offensive), 3.2 blocks, 1.4 steals (fouls and turnovers both improved a lot)
Best Performances By Non-Rookies
Ty Lawson, PG, Denver Nuggets: 25 minutes per, 16 ppg, 59% FG, 6-for-14 3FG (43%), 5.0-2.0 A-TO, 1.6 steals
Bobby Brown, PG, Toronto Raptors: 21 minutes per, 12 ppg, 68% FG, 4-for-8 3FG (50%), 4.0-1.3 A-TO, 1.2 steals
Pooh Jeter, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers: 31 minutes per, 14 ppg, 48% FG, 16-20 FT (80%), 5.4-2.4 A-TO, 1.0 steals
DeMar DeRozan, SG/SF, Toronto Raptors: 26 minutes per, 21 ppg, 58% FG, 24-38 FT (63%), 4.5 rpg, 1.5-1.0 A-TO, 0.5 steals
Sam Young, SG/SF, Memphis Grizzlies: 28 minutes per, 19 ppg, 54% FG, 5-13 3FG (39%), 26-36 FT (72%), 4 rpg, 1.2 steals, 0.8 blocks
JaVale McGree, PF, Washington Wizards: 29 minutes per, 20 ppg, 69% FG, 9 rpg (4.3 offensive), 0.8 blocks
Joey Dorsey, PF/C, Toronto Raptors: 20 minutes per, 7 ppg, 53% FG, 10 rpg (4.0 offensive), 1.3-1.3 A-TO, 0.5 blocks
Jordan Hill, PF/C, Houston Rockets: 29 minutes per, 14 ppg, 55% FG, 8 rpg (2.4 offensive), 0.8 steals
Patrick O'Bryant, C, Minnesota Timberwolves: 25 minutes per, 10 ppg, 53% FG, 12-15 FT (80%), 7 rpg, 1.8 blocks, 1.2 steals
Hasheem Thabeet, C, Memphis Grizzlies: 31 minutes per, 11 ppg, 53% FG, 25-35 FT (71%), 9 rpg, 2.8 blocks
Wheels Are Already Coming Undone
Sacramento C DeMarcus Cousins might be the most talented player of the 2010 rookie crop, but his maturity and attitude issues are well known from his one season at Kentucky. Cousins started out quite well in the Summer League, averaging 18 ppg on 46% shooting, 11 rpg (3.7 offensive), 3.0 apg, and 4.0 fouls over his first three games. Once he faced adversity in Game Four against the loaded Toronto squad, though, it all went to hell. His averages over his last three games (the Kings were the only team to play 6 Summer League contests) were 11 ppg on 20% shooting, 8 rpg (2.0 offensive), 0.7 apg, and 5.7 fouls. His old ways were noticeable to anyone who watched these last few games (bitching, moaning, obviously unfocussed), making one wonder what to expect from Cousins in the regular season when he'll face tons of adversity as a member of the lowly Kings.