Las Vegas Summer League winners and losers
LAS VEGAS — The 2013 Las Vegas Summer League is finally in the books after 11 days and 61 games. Here’s a rundown of some of the winners and losers from the competition. Click here for our assessment of the top performers at summer league and check out complete coverage from Sin City here.
Winners: Golden State Warriors
The Warriors emerged as the first summer-league champions by rattling off a 7-0 record and defeating the Suns in Monday night’s title game. There weren’t any ropes around the court or any confetti falling from the rafters, but the Warriors did get “Victory in Vegas” T-shirts and a nice trophy. It all sounds a bit corny at first blush, but the Warriors were jubilant and you couldn’t blame them, not after seeing how the consistency of their work ethic and focus stood out from start to finish.
“We’re just trying to continue to build, defend, compete, no matter who is in a Warrior uniform. It’s who we are,” coach Mark Jackson said after the championship. “It’s about the culture. It doesn’t matter who puts the uniform on, whether it’s summer league, regular season or playoffs. The mindset and the mission remain the same.”
Losers Winners: Phoenix Suns
It doesn’t feel right calling the Suns losers following Monday’s loss, not after they went 6-1 overall and competed hard throughout the tournament. After last season’s mess — Michael Beasley, the Lindsey Hunter experiment, lots of losing — Suns fans needed something, anything to latch on to that might have the possibility of one day developing into hope. A few encouraging strands emerged in Vegas.
First-round pick Archie Goodwin was a bundle of energy, crashing around the court to the tune of 13.1 points per game. Not bad for an 18-year-old selected 29th in last month’s draft. The Morris twins, Marcus and Markieff, who were reunited by a midseason trade, displayed inside/outside versatility on offense and tough-minded defense. It remains to be seen whether they can make a similar impact in NBA games. Even Kendall Marshall, who struggled with his shot all week, managed some flashes of the “eyes in the back of his head” vision that made him a 2012 lottery pick.
Best of all, though, was rookie coach Jeff Hornacek’s decision to guide his team through Vegas, rather than turning the team over to an assistant. Hornacek was able to get a feel for the young talent on his roster, and his presence set a nice tone as Phoenix embarks on a multiyear rebuilding effort.
Winner: Ian Clark
The undrafted guard — touted by SI.com’s Luke Winn as the best shooter in the 2013 class — made seven three-pointers and scored 33 points for the Warriors on Monday to earn the MVP award in the championship game. Talk about good timing. Clark, who spent four years at Belmont, posted consistent shooting numbers throughout his college career but entered Las Vegas without so much as a firm training-camp invite for the fall.
“He carried us,” Jackson said. “I’m sure he becomes a hot name right now. … We’d love to have him. He’s an NBA player.”
Loser: Ben McLemore
First, it’s important to note: McLemore did everything within his power to shake off some horrendous shooting stretches, twice putting together games of at least 20 points thanks to big second-half efforts. OK, with that courtesy disclaimer out of the way, check out these three numbers for the seventh pick in the June draft: 150 minutes played, 78 field goals attempted, zero assists. Sacramento’s overall offense was anemic, but there’s no reasonable explanation for that disparity.