Las Vegas Summer League: 10 snapshot evaluations from the first two days
Dion Waiters, Cavaliers
Waiters should offer to pick up McLemore’s dinner tab, as the rookie’s tough outing made everyone forget that the 2012 draft’s No. 4 pick went 1-for-11 in the Cavaliers’ win over the Lakers on Friday. Some players naturally understand the importance of shot selection; others develop that understanding over time; still others actively resist the notion that there is such thing as a bad shot. Waiters looked to be in that last category on Friday, and maybe that’s understandable considering this is his second go-around in Vegas. After shooting 41.2 percent last year, one would think he would have entered Summer League with a chip on his shoulder, looking to demonstrate his superiority against this level of competition and answer the questions about his ability to score efficiently.
Reggie Bullock, Clippers
The Clippers seem to be the consensus winners of the summer thanks to the re-signings of Chris Paul and Matt Barnes coupled with the additions of JJ Redick, Jared Dudley and Darren Collison. As if those five — and Jamal Crawford — didn’t offer enough perimeter firepower, enter Bullock, who looked as NBA-ready as any other rookie in his debut. Drawing chants of “Reg-gie! Reg-gie!” from Clippers fans, Bullock scored 18 points and grabbed three rebounds in a win over the Hawks, showing a controlled, active offensive game while making play after play (three blocks and a steal) on the other end.
Kent Bazemore, Warriors
What more can this guy do to become the ideal NBA cult hero? He cheers harder from the bench than virtually everyone in the NBA (look out, Patty Mills), he has a unique haircut and a fan-friendly personality, and he played absolutely ferocious against the Wizards, locking up Porter on one end while leading all scorers with 21 points on the other. There’s a large Warriors contingent in the house and Bazemore is single-handedly making sure they return to the Bay as happy campers.
Lucas Nogueira, Hawks
The 20-year-old Brazilian center is all Afro and wingspan, and he’s a joy to watch, even if he’s far from the type of rim-protecting presence he should be given his measurements. Whether or not he is able to add extra weight and strength in the future, Nogueria, a 2013 first-round pick who played professionally in Spain last season, flashed some nice in-air finishing ability against the Clippers. He finished with 10 points and eight rebounds, and threw down a number of lob dunks that would sail over just about everyone not named JaVale McGee. He was bullied and bumped from his spot quite often, a problem that will only get way worse against NBA-caliber bigs, but his highlights drew some gasps and cheers.
Kendall Marshall, Suns
Will some enterprising GM take a run at trading for Marshall, the No. 13 pick in last year’ draft? First, the Suns sign Goran Dragic last summer and then they trade for Eric Bledsoe this summer. If that wasn’t enough, Marshall played just 18 minutes in Saturday’s win over Portland, mostly because he struggled to keep McCollum in front of him. A pass-first point guard if there ever was one, Marshall finished with 5 points and 4 assists, including a nice long-distance alley-oop. It’s just hard to see where this is going for the Suns and for Marshall.