Seven summer dribbles on Vegas


BY SAM AMICO

Seven quick dribbles on the NBA Las Vegas summer league, which begins championship round play Wednesday.

1. Knicks rookie center Kristaps Porzingis may be the best all-around player in Vegas. He certainly looks like the best defender — making a strong case for that honor by blocking 76ers rookie center Jahlil Okafor three times. And to think you guys booed Porzingis when he was drafted. (OK, I did too. With my inside voice anyway.)

2. Porzingis is unbelievably athletic, and while he could certainly stand to gain a few pounds, scouts describe him as “wiry strong.” A lot of people compared him to Dirk Nowitzki — but Porzingis looks more like a young (but more polished) version of Andrei Kirilenko to me.

3. I’ve been impressed with Okafor as well. He truly is trying to bring back the throwback, stick-to-the-low-block center/power forward. He’ll need some work on his footwork to become a star in the pros — as well as some work on the quickness of his shot release. Along with the swats by Porzingis, Okafor was blocked twice in the same game by Lakers rookie Larry Nance Jr.

4. Watching the Nets has made me turn into a huge fan of undrafted rookie guard Ryan Boatright. I liked him at Connecticut, too – and he’s very much starting to resemble a long line of undersized Huskies guards (Kemba Walker, Shabazz Napier) who just know how to win, baby. Boatright buried a game-winner against the Bulls on Tuesday, finishing with a game-high 21 points. If he doesn’t stick with the Nets, he’ll be in someone’s training camp somewhere.

5. Seth Curry, brother of NBA MVP Steph Curry, leads Vegas in scoring at 25.0 ppg. The younger Curry is playing for the Pelicans entry. “I’m just sticking around, waiting for my opportunity,” Seth told NBA.com.

6. Updated list of other players catching my eye in Vegas: Glen Rice and Alan Williams (Rockets); Kyle Anderson (Spurs); Dwight Powell (Mavericks); Jabari Brown (Lakers); Scotty Hopson (D-League Select); Norman Powell (Raptors); T.J.Warren (Suns); Allen Crabbe(Blazers); and Sean Kilpatrick (Bucks).

7. The tournament portion of summer league begins Wednesday. Since a lot of my readers seem to be fans of the Cavaliers, I should mention the Cavs gained the No. 16 seed and open against the 17th-seeded Bulls at 10 p.m. The schedule for the first two days of the tournament is below (all times Eastern).

Wednesday July 15

COX Pavilion
4 PM – # 24 Milwaukee vs.  #9 Houston (Game 37)
6 PM – #19 Miami vs. #14 Atlanta (Game 39)
8 PM – #20 Washington vs. #13 Utah (Game 41)
10 PM – #17 Chicago vs. #16 Cleveland (Game 43)

Thomas & Mack
4:30 PM – #23 Philadelphia vs. #10 Brooklyn (Game 38)
6:30 PM – #21 Sacramento vs. #12 Golden State (Game 40)
8:30 PM – #22 Dallas vs. #11 L.A. Lakers (Game 42)
10:30 PM – #18 Minnesota vs. # 15 Portland (Game 44)

Thursday July 16
COX Pavilion
4 PM – Winner Game 37 vs. #8 Phoenix (Game 45)
6 PM – Winner Game 38 vs. #7 San Antonio (Game 47)
8 PM – Winner Game 41 vs. #4 New Orleans (Game 49)
10 PM – Winner Game 43 vs. #1 Toronto (Game 51)

Thomas & Mack
4:30 PM – Winner Game 40 vs. #5 New York (Game 46)
6:30 PM – Winner Game 42 vs. #6 NBA D-League (Game 48)
8:30 PM – Winner Game 39 vs. #3 Denver (Game 50)
10:30 PM – Winner Game 44 vs. #2 Boston (Game 52)