Day 3 of the Vegas Summer League saw 7 games on the slate with the debuts of multiple lottery picks.
I was unable to catch all of the action for I am only one man. A little bit of a format change from Days 1 and 2 but here’s what I saw:
Phoenix Suns: Markieff Morris battled early foul trouble as he was not taking defense seriously guarding the little known Chris Copeland from the Knicks. He shined offensively showing a good all around game with post ups and jumpers from all areas of the floor. 21 points and 9 rebounds was not too shabby a performance for the former Kansas standout. The Suns should have him develop his ball handling a little more as he will now likely being playing a lot of small forward after Phoenix acquired Luis Scola from amnesty waivers.
DeShawn Sims played a very poised game and I came away impressed with his high releasing jumper. His shot rainbowed in the air splashing down into the rim to the tune of 7-12 from the floor. He scored on turnarounds, mid range jumpers and 3′s. I didn’t see him drive at all which might have been insight to him playing to his strengths.
New York Knicks: Chris Copeland is turning some heads after another strong showing on Day 3. He scored 17 points and is very aggressive offesively. What’s funny is that he never makes his move quickly, always pausing like he is envisioning what he is going to do before he does it. On the defensive side of things he guards with his hands more than his feet but that describes 90% of the league.
James White was pretty quiet again and I have decided to stop looking or expecting him to do much of anything.
Cleveland Cavs: Dion Waiters had an itchy trigger finger at first but slowed on the draw in the second half. He scored 10 points on 3-11 shooting showing the ability to beat his man off the dribble with ease with the hesitation dribble. Finishing, however, was another story. He hit a big shot that gave his team a brief lead in the final seconds but the Bobcats regained the lead with 4 seconds remaining. His performance was marred by his Chris Webber impersonation by calling a timeout when the Cavs had none and that cost them the game ultimately.
Tyler Zeller’s debut was much like most expect his career to be…solid. 13 points and 5 rebounds in 27 effective minutes. He runs the floor well and is an above average passer feeding cutting guards and other bigs in the post.
Charlotte Bobcats: I continue to be impressed with Jeff Taylor. He does more than just shoot and his jumper was off today. He managed to post 12 points and 7 rebounds getting to the rim and finishing strong.
MKG got a DNCP (just thought that would be cool to write) as a result of leg injury he suffered on Day 1. Nothing serious just precautionary rest.
Portland Trailblazers: Damian Lillard recovered from a lack luster first half to lead his team to victory in the final 20 mintues. He scored 25 points mostly by beating his man off the dribble with his superior quickness. His jumper was not as silky as I expected but its not broken. He had some trouble handling the ball when the defense doubled on the pick and roll. Overall his second half was so special and I stand by my early prediction for Lillard to win Rookie of the Year.
Seeing Meyers Leonard was impressive like seeing Ivan Drago for the first time. Dude is a specimen, but isn’t as strong as you would think by looking at him. He had trouble sealing his man on the post and was pushed out of the spots he wanted to be in too easily. On the positive he wasn’t shying away from contact and finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks. I was amused at his exuberance on defense trying to block everything and he seemed a little wild at times but at least he gave the effort.
New Orleans Hornets: Austin Rivers‘ debut was wildly inconsistent. He shot 3-13 from the floor and 1-8 from three on his way to 14 points. They attempted to have him run the point but he is way too shot happy to be a point guard in this league. He passes when he has no angle and the manure is too thick for him to maneuver through. He likes to use his off arm to create space on the drive but he is nothing if not resilient. He is going to keep coming at you no matter what. For such a gifted athlete I was discouraged at his inability to defend anybody. He got beat at all 3 positions he attempted to defend. I don’t dislike Rivers just don’t think his ceiling is as high as some project.
Denzel Bowles came out of nowhere with 18 points and 12 rebounds (8 offensive). He is a big man with nice touch in the post and from mid-range. We will see if he can keep that up in his next game, remember D-Mo from the Rockets?
From the games I missed I heard Dominique Jones (32 points and 8 rebounds), Kawhi Leonard (23 points), Keith Benson (20 points and 6 rebounds), Jordan Hamilton (18 rebounds and 7 assists), Bradley Beal (20 points and 6 rebounds), and Andre Emmett (17 points) were all impressive.
Day 4 has another 7 game slate and will feature the Celtics’ Jared Sullinger and the Bucks’ John Henson. Follow me on Twitter at @shawsports for all of the Day 4 action. All that I can get to at least.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com