Day five of Summer League is here, bringing six more games to the Vegas hardwood. Here is today’s schedule with some things to watch for in each game:
Spurs vs. Blazers, 3:00 PM CT (NBA TV)
Second-year Spurs shooting guard, Bryn Forbes, is the current points leader at 26.5 ppg in two games after scoring 35 on Sunday night. He’s a Michigan State product (shout-out to Mad Dan) who logged 285 minutes as a rookie but didn’t make any real noise other than a 27-point, 6-assist outburst in an April win over the Mavericks. Forbes was assigned to the Austin Spurs of the D-League, and recalled, more times than I care to count. His 2017-18 contract ($1,312,611 next season) is unguaranteed until Tuesday, August 1, 2017 and then guaranteed for $100K. He can shoot.
Dejounte Murray is probably the best NBA prospect for the Spurs, but he’s only seen 19.5 mpg and has gone 6-19. Davis Bertans is another player worth watching on the Summer Spurs. He has game; solid stretch big that Popovich seems to like. Derrick White was the Spurs’ 2017 first round pick. There’s plenty of NBA talent on this team. Will one of these guys be the next gem in San Antonio? Probably.
For the Blazers, Zach Collins (averaging 7.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals, 3 blocks through two games at 29.5 minutes per game) and Caleb Swanigan (14 points, 10 rebounds) are the two players to watch. Swanigan is going to be a problem on the glass for years to come. The guy is terribly difficult to box out. He is in great shape, too. Collins has looked very bad offensively (he appears nervous to me) thus far so I’m hoping to see him be a little more relaxed moving forward. Collins is 4-20 from the field. Jake Layman and Pat Connaughton are two other guys to keep an eye on.
Alright ... that was too much #content for one Summer League game. I’m going to try to keep it shorter moving forward.
Players to watch: Donovan Mitchell has been the talk of the town after his excellent showing in the Utah Summer League. Legit two-way combo guard for the Jazz. Tony Bradley (drafted #28 out of UNC) is averaging 13 ppg and 5 rpg through two games.
Wayne Seldin has been fantastic. 30.0 mpg / 24.5 ppg / 16-33 (48.5%) / 4.0 rpg / 3.0 apg / 3.00 steals ... Wade Baldwin needs to take (and hopefully make) easier shots. Thus far his numbers are: 31 mpg / 15.5 ppg / 35.7% (10-28) / 7.0 rebs / 2.5 assists
Deyonta Davis will look to score some points today. 3-8 heading into the game in two games. Averaging 10.5 rebounds. Jarell Martin is avergaing 17 and 8. Will Dillon Brooks show anything to get excited about? That’s something I’m interested in finding out.
OK...getting even more tired now. Vegas really sucks all of the energy right out of you. I feel like I’m baking in an oven out here.
Players to watch: Lauri Markkanen. I wanted to see Kris Dunn show out but he is out for the rest of Summer League after leaving Vegas to attend a family issue. Hope everything is OK with him. Markkanen looked smooth the first game I saw him but couldn’t hit a shot in the second game (1-13). He did add 9 rebounds and 4 blocks. Keep an eye on Denzel Valentine, as well. Same story for him. Good first game, bad second one. He needs to come out and dominate today.
Washington is 0-2. Jared Cunningham has been a very good scorer (19.5 ppg on 52.4%) but my eyes will be focused on Chris McCullough. Via the Washington Post:
4. An active McCullough is the best McCullough
The Wizards consider McCullough to be their 2017 first-round draft pick. He came over from Brooklyn in a trade deadline deal, and though he has technically been in the league since 2015, he’s still a bit of a mystery. Last season, McCullough spent more time in the formerly known NBA Development League than he did on the big stage — just 16 game appearances split between his time with the Nets and the Wizards.
Even Washington’s coaching staff has a limited scouting report on McCullough, because by the time he came over, the team was not practicing much. There’s only so much to glean from 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 runs on the practice court. Inside the Cox Pavilion against Memphis, McCullough, like most of the other regulars, did not have a strong shooting day (4 for 12). But he scored his points from the interior, throwing down an alley-oop pass from Pangos in the first quarter and later in the half cleaning up a miss with an offensive rebound and putback. Also, his final two field goals came at the rim — a good sign, considering the team wants to take advantage of his athleticism and length.
“He’s as much as a rookie experience-wise as a lot of these guys, even though he’s been in the league,” Iske said. “So I think just getting him out there and getting him playing is the best thing for him.”
Sixers vs. Celtics, 5:30 PM CT (ESPN 2)
Players to watch: No Markelle Fultz (ankle sprain—out for SL) for the Sixers, meaning Furkan Korkmaz is the one to watch. The Sixers 2016 draft pick, selected 26th overall last June, is making the jump to the NBA this season. He’s averaging 13.5 points on 45.5% shooting to go with 4.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and one steal in 28 mpg over two games.
Aaron Harrison is another player to keep an eye on. He feels like a possible third-string backup point guard somewhere. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot missed last game with an upper lip laceration. No idea if he is set to play today but TLC is another very intriguing young prospect in Philadelphia.
Not breaking any news here: Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are the two guys you don’t want to miss. Tatum is going to be a serious problem in the NBA. I would not be surprised if he becomes the best player in this insanely talented class. He is going ot be a devastating isolation scorer; nobody can block his shot and the footwork is pretty incredible at such a young age. Brown is such a smart and versatile young player that it’s hard to see how he won’t find a good role in Boston moving forward.
Heat vs. Mavericks, 7:00 PM CT (NBA TV)
Players to watch: Rookies Bam Adebayo (14th pick) and Dennis Smith Jr. (10th) are the two headliners in this one. Talk about two physical freaks; these are arguably the two best athletes in the entire draft class. Both guys will blow you away with their speed, verticals, and NBA ready bodies. Okaro White is another player to watch—6’8” forward out of Florida State, from Brooklyn, NY. His 2017-18 contract is unguaranteed, meaning he needs to show something to the Miami folks in attendance.
BAM! BAM! BAM! This guy is going to be legit in South Beach.
I was watching DSJ throw-down some stupid dunks in warm-ups the other day. Just wow. That guy is going to win the NBA dunk contest. I also have loved what I’ve seen from him defensively, especially for all the talk about his lack of effort defensively over the pre-draft process. He reads the ball incredible well off-ball, which is something a lot of young players seem to really struggle with. DSJ can also get to the rim at will. Dallas got a good one with the #10 pick. His game screams future NBA star.
Warriors vs. Wolves, 7:30 PM CT (ESPN 2)
Players to watch: Marcus Paige is the most likely player to get a two-way contract from the Wolves, if anybody does on the roster. He’s an undersized point guard that can struggle a bit defensively and doesn’t offer a ton outside of shooting and scoring but he does those things well and seems to have a great feel for the game. I think Paige can run an NBA offense if asked to in a backup role. Smooth three-point shot and good court awareness.
Matt Costello is the other Wolves player that could have a chance to get a two-way deal. I doubt he ultimately does, but he is leading the Summer League in rebounding (11.0 per game) entering day five. The former Michigan State big man is physical, sets strong screens, can pop for 15-footers or roll to the rim for the finish. Minnesota doesn’t need another big man, making it highly unlikely he gets a two-way deal, but somebody should have interest in him.
Charles Cooke (SHOOTER!) and Levi Randolph are two other Wolves that have some talent.
For the Warriors, Patrick McCaw is the biggest name. McCaw showed he’s ready to play NBA minutes, back in the NBA Finals, given his defensive skills, passing and rebounding. The next step for him is developing that jumper. He is scoring 17 ppg through two games, though 37.1% is nothing to get excited about. Jordan Bell, Kevon Looney, and Damian Jones are all fun prospects. It’s really not fair. How do the Warriors acquire all of these appealing youngsters? Oh, that’s right, they are WAY ahead of the curve.
Chat about the games here all day. Which guys have caught your eye?