Latest posts by Sam Amico (see all)
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BY SAM AMICO
Two random dribbles on each of the eight Las Vegas Summer League tournament games Thursday.
Suns 106, Bucks 80
1. Second-year Suns forward T.J. Warren has simply been magnificent, one of the top-five players in Vegas. He scored at will in college (N.C. State) and it’s pretty clear he learned a lot from his one season in the pros. Warren tallied 23 points Thursday. We’ll probably see much more of him this season in Phoenix.
2. Rookie guard Rashad Vaughn (17 points) was again impressive for the Bucks, as was guard Sean Kilpatrick (16). Kilpatrick went undrafted out of Cincinnati a year ago. He spent last season in the D-League. He’ll be in training camp — if not Milwaukee, then somewhere. He’s earned that here.
Warriors 76, Knicks 54
1. This was probably the first game in which I was impressed with Warriors forward Kevon Looney, the final pick of the draft’s first round. He did a nice job of staying active near the basket, finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds. Meanwhile, the Warriors need to hang on to second-year man James Michael McAdoo (16 points). He’s gonna be a real player in this league someday.
2. I just tonight realized Knicks rookie center/forward Kristaps Porzingis is 7-foot-3. Seriously, I thought he was maybe 6-11. He just plays with such athleticism on the perimeter. I’m not always sure Phil Jackson knows what he’s doing as Knicks president — but I’m starting to think he got it right in picking Porzingis.
Mavericks 104, D-League 88
1. Well, so much for D-League Select team. I root for those guys every season. I mean, wouldn’t it just be neat if a bunch of D-Leaguers won a tournament of NBA teams? Well, not “NBA teams,” so much as teams of guys who are trying to avoid the D-League. Anyway, 29-year old guard Justin Denmon paced Select with a game-high 31 points.
2. Really like what I’ve seen from Mavs rookie guard Justin Anderson (22 points) and second-year big man Dwight Powell (21). A lot of Cavs fans were desperately hoping Anderson fell to their team at No. 24. Instead, he was drafted 21st. And Powell was with the Cavs in training camp last summer. He’s been darn good.
Spurs 74, Nets 71
1. Seriously, are the Spurs gonna win big in summer league, too? They could, as second-year swingman Kyle Anderson (25 points, eight rebounds) has been brilliant. And man, he sure does remind me of a young Boris Diaw.
2. Nets forward Cliff Alexander finished just 3-of-12 shooting but grabbed 13 rebounds. He’s been one of my favorites this entire summer. Same for guard Ryan Boatright, who sat out with a minor injury. Neither were drafted.
Pelicans 97, Wizards 81
1. Seth Curry did it again, scoring 26 points and pulling down six rebounds. He’s on his way to Vegas MVP. I also really like what I’ve seen from his backcourt-mate, Larry Drew III – the son of Cavs assistant coach Larry Drew. Larry III has been very heady and steady.
2. The Wizards were led by guard Scott Machado’s 16 points. He’s bounced around quite a bit — and been in and out of the NBA since going undrafted in 2012. I love seeing the persistence of guys like Machado. He’s gotten so close and he clearly loves the game. All are positives.
Hawks 82, Nuggets 73
1. Hawks forwards Brandon Ashley and Lamar Patterson continue to impress. Ashley went for 18 points and eight rebounds, and Patterson for 17 and six, respectively. They may not be quite ready for the NBA, but if I’m a D-League GM, I’m drooling. Love both of their games.
2. Lottery pick and Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay (eight points) looked like a rookie for the first time all summer. But even when he’s off, he’s still pretty good. I also really like former second-round pick Erick Green (Utah, 2013), the Nuggets guard who scored 17 points.
Bulls 84, Raptors 80
1. Second-year Bulls forward Doug McDermott certainly deserves all-tournament team consideration. He scored 28 points Thursday and has just generally been better-than-solid all week. I do find it interesting that he got to take 25 shots in a summer-league game, though.
2. Norman Powell gave another fine performance for the Raptors, scoring 15 points and showing loads of potential. It’s not often a second-round pick (No. 46 overall) gets a three-year contract. But Powell looks more like a guy who should’ve been drafted in the first.
Celtics 91, Blazers 85
1. Rookie guard Terry Rozier has been quite promising. He could make an instant impact. The first-round pick out of Louisville is displaying quickness, strength and an ability to get where he wants on the court. He’s also proven to be a pretty effective mid-range shooter. Boston fans will love this guy.
2. Second-year forward Noah Vonleh (18 points, eight rebounds) has done a nice job offensively in his first run with the Blazers. That’s good news, considering how badly his rookie season went in Charlotte. But with LaMarcus Aldridge gone, Vonleh should get plenty of opportunity in Portland.