Good morning and welcome to Therapy. I'm safely back from Las Vegas, and since Lindsey spent yesterday morning on Karl-Anthony Towns' work at Las Vegas Summer League, my work this morning will cover players from across the league who could be fun to watch as they move into the regular season, and ones who could struggle more.
San Antonio Spurs: Kyle Anderson and Jonathan Simmons
Anderson, moving into his second year in the pros, had an immense summer league. He was named MVP of the summer league, and along with Simmons, helped to lead the Spurs to the title on Monday. Simmons, who the Spurs just signed for the rookie minimum, went undrafted after leaving school in 2013, worked his way onto the Spurs' D-League team in 2014, and now has his first NBA deal.
Watching in person, Anderson is one of those players who just seems to find ways to score, no matter what's happening. His nickname, SloMo, is perfect. He's not lightning fast, he just gets where he needs to go and scores. You blink, and suddenly Anderson has 20 and 10. He averaged 21 points over his seven games in Vegas.
While Anderson isn't the type to produce highlight plays, Simmons finding his way to monstrous dunks was a pretty common occurrence from the Summer Spurs. He averaged 17 points, four rebounds, three assists and almost two steals over seven games in Vegas. He will be an interesting piece for the Spurs to find a place for, and has done great work to get this far.
Denver Nuggets: Emmanuel Mudiay
One of my bigger regrets was only getting to see Mudiay for about a game and a half. Mudiay, now that Ty Lawson has moved on from Denver, might be my pick for Rookie of the Year this year. He was fourth among players at LVSL with 5.8 assists per game, and had some very impressive plays along the way.
Mudiay's court vision is great, and he's not afraid to make the risky pass that doesn't always come off. Denver has an interesting roster to put around him, and now that he'll certainly start, he has the chance to put up big numbers from day one. For a look at the potential of Denver's future, check out this lovely piece from Adam Mares at Denver Stiffs.
New York Knicks: Kristaps Porzingis
The first thing with Porzingis: the dude is HUGE. When the Knicks played against the Lakers, Porzingis was matched up against Tarik Black, who had a relatively successful game against the Wolves when matched up with KAT. Porzingis is clearly taller than Black, who is not a small dude at all.
Now, Porzingis still needs to put on some muscle. He's tall, but is relatively easy to move, and a common thread through the week was that he struggled with rebounding, and opposing bigs could just bully him out of the way to clean up the glass. However, Porzingis brings a different set of skills to the table.
Like Towns, Porzingis has absolutely no fear of shooting from beyond the arc, and has a beautiful shooting stroke. The ability to pull opposing centers that far away from the hoop to defend that shot could create a wealth of possibilities for the Knicks moving forward.
The Summer Knicks were a really fun team to watch in their first three games. Sure, there were the usual summer league woes of silly turnovers and foolish shots, but they also played some really nice basketball. They lost in the first round of the playoffs because they couldn't hit a single shot, but there are the beginnings of something there.
Houston Rockets: Alan Williams
Williams, an undrafted rookie out of UC-Santa Barbara, is a ridiculous beast inside. I only got to watch one of Houston's games, their first-round tournament loss, but in that game, Williams recorded 22 points and 21 rebounds. When he was on the floor, it seemed like he could get every rebound possible.
Williams averaged over 20 points and almost 12 rebounds over his four games, and was named to the All-LVSL Second Team. He has not signed a deal anywhere, but after so thoroughly dominating his opposition, he'll almost definitely receive at least a camp invitation from a team looking for help at center.
Also, how can you not root for a guy who calls himself "BigSauce GrandeSalsa" on Twitter?
I will try and be around the comments for the rest of the day if people have questions about the Summer League experience, both basketball-related and not. If you have the opportunity to travel out as a spectator, the event is a unique opportunity to see NBA players in a smaller environment than an enormous arena. Games at COX Pavilion feel like they're being played in a high school gym, and not in a bad way. It's a great place to really immerse yourself in basketball, even if the quality isn't necessarily top tier.
Speaking of not-necessarily-top-tier basketball, the men's basketball section of the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto started on Tuesday, and one Anthony Bennett has showed up with a vengeance for team Canada. In Wednesday's second game of group play, Bennett had 17 points and six rebounds. He did not miss a shot: 6-6 from the field (2-2 from three) and 3-3 from the free throw line, and did not commit a single turnover.
Canada are now 2-0 in the group after Wednesday's comeback victory against Argentina, and look to sweep their group today against Mexico, who are 1-1. The game is at 6:00pm CDT and is available to stream through ESPN's streaming service. Bennett has looked good and is worth keeping an eye on, but I'll let John provide the cautionary detail:
1. Please don't put stock into Anthony Bennett's numbers during the Pan Am Games 2. He's not in the Wolves future anyway 3. Bobby Brown
— John Meyer (@thedailywolf) July 23, 2015
Before you talk about AB impressing in the Pan Am Games, go look at the rosters in the Pan Am Games. He should post 20-20's. #competition
— John Meyer (@thedailywolf) July 23, 2015
Music for today comes from one of the other sports I spend much of my time consuming: professional League of Legends. This song is often used in between games, and has become quite associated with the game. Enjoy, and happy Thursday.