Las Vegas, Nevada
Day 5 of the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas was full of the normal action one would expect from such an event. Unfortunately, the biggest news of the day concerns the health of Portland Trailblazers second-year guard Nolan Smith.
An excerpt from CBS Sports explains the scary scene:
Smith, who was hit in the head by Rockets guard Zoran Dragic will attempting a lay-up, fell to the court and lay motionless for several minutes. His eyelids could be seen twitching uncontrollably and he shielded his eyes from the light as medical staffers asked him “yes or no” questions.
After testing whether he had feeling in his legs, which he did, Smith had his neck stabilized by medical personnel and was carted off the court on a stretcher. Staffers told him that he was being hospitalized for “precautionary” purposes and the Blazers announced later Tuesday night that Smith had been released from the hospital after a CT scan showed “normal” results.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Smith and luckily it looks like he has avoided serious injury. He is not expected to rejoin the team for the remainder of Summer league.
Here is what I saw today highlighted by the debuts of Kendall Marshall and Marquis Teague.
Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal scored 14 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. This was the 3rd time I saw Beal and I have grown to appreciate the good balance he shows on his shots. He was a little less aggressive than I had seen him be in previous games. Playing with John Wall will help him tremendously come the regular season but he isn’t a star just yet.
Memphis Grizzlies: Tony Wroten saw just 15 minutes of action and shot a woeful 2-9 from the floor. Josh Selby was dominate with 35 points and 7 steals which was a major factor for Wroten’s limited playing time. I wonder if this is a glimpse into Wroten’s rookie season. With Selby and the addition of Jerryd Bayless there won’t be many minutes for Wroten in Lionel Hollins’ rotation
Portland Trailblazers: Damian Lillard is turning heads with his ability to score. 27 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists on 10-16 from the floor. His jumper looks much improved and so does his ability to finish with contact on the drive. Again I say ROY potential of Lillard.
Nolan Smith was having another outstanding game playing off the ball with 27 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists before his injury. Hope he is back soon.
Houston Rockets: This team is loaded with young talent and is garnering many deserved accolades for their play. Royce White’s passing is catching notice as he dished out 8 assists to go along with 6 points and 12 rebounds
Terrence Jones was a beast scoring 22 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. He scores both inside and out, consider me one of the many who are falling in love with his game.
Jeremy Lamb has been a stud. Another game over 20 points (23 to be exact) with 6 rebounds. He’s the real deal.
Donatas Motiejunas showed much of his Day 1 mojo with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Other than always looking like he is gasping for air he has been the biggest surprise of the 5 days so far.
Phoenix Suns: Kendall Marshall made his debut today and played like Jason Kidd and not the rookie of the year Kidd. He was much like the Kidd of today notching just 5 assists, 3 rebounds, and 0 points on 0-1 shooting. The one shot was an air ball three-pointer to boot. He does have good size at his position and seems like a natural leader out on the floor.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Dion Waiters scored 16 but continues to struggle with his shot (just 5-15 again) on Day 5. Tyler Zeller double doubled again with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Another hard hat and lunch pale performance from the UNC center.
Chicago Bulls: Marquis Teague was smaller than I expected and was severely outplayed by Celtics guard E’twaun Moore. 8 points and 1 rebound on 4-17 from the floor. Teague didn’t create seperation well and was a statue on defense. He didn’t seem to be all that quick and bouncy as most diminutive guards are.
Jimmy Butler was great from the floor scoring 21 points to go along with 7 rebounds. I like to see guys score in different ways and he did by getting to the line, hitting jumpers, as well as getting to the basket for dunks. Butler was impressive.
Boston Celtics: Jared Sullinger can’t jump over a piece of paper but he finds a way to get rebounds and impact the game. Just 7 points but he grabbed 14 rebounds and was absolutely beastly in a 90 second stretch where he collected 5 of his boards. He needs to be quicker making his move on the post though. Too many times he would pause and allow the double-team to get him in trouble or he would attempt to back down his man and have to resort to a series of head fakes to get his shot off. He plays the angles pretty well but being more decisive once he has the ball would help a lot.
E’twuan Moore is playing for his roster spot on the Celtics and he seemed to know it. He lit Teague up by scoring 25 points and grabbing 7 rebounds. Moore is so confident and even defiant to some degree that he would make the Celtics sorry if they let him go. But with the addition of Jason Terry, the Celtics interest in Courtney Lee, and the fact they also need a back up center it looks like Moore’s days in Boston might come to a close when summer league ends on Sunday.
Dionte Christmas continued his torrid play scoring 18 points. He has been too good to not get an invite to somebody’s training camp when summer league concludes.
Day 6 will bring my first look at Doron Lamb and John Henson from the Milwaukee Bucks. After that I will have seen everybody of note in Vegas. Check me out on Twitter @shawsports for instant analysis on the action that takes place on Day 6.
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