A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

A few summer league thoughts

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I consider summer league more fun than useful information, however it doesn’t mean it all ends up being useless. I can remember years where Evan Turner and Thomas Robinson’s summer league play ended up foreboding for their rookie season, or on the other end Damian Lillard blowing up in summer league was a great sign for his future. It’s finding a needle in a haystack but the needles may be there.

So here are my (few) takeaways:

Bruno Caboclo and Zach LaVine may belong

Both guys showed talent level and were aggressive. These are two wild cards for me not only because of their lack of resume production wise, but because of their shooting. Bruno’s jumpshot is hard to guess for obvious reasons. LaVine had a lukewarm 3pt shooting season at UCLA, normally in those situations I turn to FT% to help sort it out. Although LaVine’s FT% was subpar for a guard at 69.1%, by only getting to the FT line 68 times during the season this is too small a sample size to totally rely on. In Vegas both guys showed they had the chance to be good shooters in the NBA, which would help their career a lot with their other tools. Bruno has a high defensive upside with his massive length and lateral mobility, while LaVine’s speed and ballhandling combination potentially makes him a dynamic slasher.

More confidence in Jordan Adams, Julius Randle, Doug McDermott

These players both did well in my talent grading and had strong college production for their age and in summer league continued to impress me. It’s just one more reason to be confident in them as future NBA starters.

Shabazz Napier struggles

Napier struggled to get his game off at both Orlando and Las Vegas summer league. Although Napier rated in my top 10 talents, he was below my “benchmark” for production for a senior (going by PER) so there may be concerns in that department about reaching his talent. He’ll need his jumpshot to be closer to the elite level it was in the NCAA, though it’s common for prospects to need time to translate to the longer NBA 3pt line.

Jordan McRae getting drafted by the 76ers may be hitting the jackpot

This is actually my biggest takeaway from summer league. The 58th pick McRae averaged 21 points a game for the 76ers in a high usage role in summer league… which is key because the Sixers NBA roster isn’t far off in talent from their summer league one. It’s conceivable McRae uses the momentum of being the man on this summer league roster, to get a surprisingly high amount of minutes and possessions next year, considering other 76ers rookies like Nerlens Noel, K.J. McDaniels, Jerami Grant are not considered scary offensive threats. It’s in play McRae is the 76ers 2nd or 3rd option next year immediately.

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Written by jr.

July 22, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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