Welcome back to our coverage of the Las Vegas summer league. Once again, game by game coverage with an overall theme from each and other things that stood out. If you are looking for strictly Suns talk they were game 3 of the day and there is also a preview of the Bucks at the end.

Game 1: Portland Trail Blazers vs. New York Knicks

Portland's experience stood out for me in this one. Thomas Robinson, Will Barton, and C.J. McCollum played minutes on a very good Trail Blazers team last year, and the way they operated on the floor showed that experience. Portland went with full-court pressure early on and both Barton and McCollum caused problems. The Knicks have a couple of great talents here, but the experience that some of these young players on Portland got last season was so valuable and clear in the way they played. Bullets..

  • This was the first game that legitimately came down to the wire and had great back and forth action late. It ended in true summer league fashion and I couldn't be more happy about that. Cleanthony Early had a breakaway layup to clinch the win with 9 seconds left and of course missed. This led to Will Barton going back the other way on the fast break with CJ McCollum WIDE open on the right side who is easily the best shooter in the building. Instead, Barton gave it to Bobby Brown on the left who proceeded to step out of bounds on the baseline. Summer league!
  • C.J. McCollum was very impressive. Having a high basketball IQ is so valuable and McCollum had at least 10 different plays he made happen just because of his IQ. He had two early steals in that full-court pressure, had a couple of drive and kicks, and understood when the defender under the basket wasn't in the correct position so he could attack the basket. There was this one possession where McCollum got the ball with some space at the top of the key, pump faked the three and blew by the initial defender while slashing to the lane. With the big coming out to get him, McCollum did this sort of hesitation head fake thing at the free throw line while not stopping in order to partially fake out the big while still keeping his momentum and dribble so he could lay it in. It was so pretty.
  • Thomas Robinson was also a big winner for me. His communication defensively was great and he had great spacing by backing off of players who were not offensive threats and used his body to clog the key or a passing lane. Offensively he showed off the range on his jumper and used his athleticism and strength inside like he always does.
  • Cleanthony Early had another good day. He hit a pretty jumper from just inside the 3-point line when the defender Thomas Robinson gave him the space to shoot. The next possession down Early got the ball in the corner and Robinson gave him the space yet again. Early didn't hesitate and his make didn't even touch the rim. On the way up the floor Early was jabbering at Robinson, probably to the extent of "yeah I can shoot."
  • Joel Freeland and Allen Crabbe, two other players on the Blazers roster for most of last year, struggled. Freeland kept getting attacked in the post by Jeremy Tyler and was consistently shy and not powerful enough on the block or under the rim. Crabbe just failed to get in the game and find his spots.
  • Meyers Leonard did not play, and I'm guessing it was due to illness or injury since he was on the end of the bench. Leonard is already seen by most as a bust after being selected 11th overall in 2012 by Portland. I was excited to see him play but I guess that will have to wait.
  • Wesley Matthews knows everyone. He was courtside and greeted at least 50 different people during the game. I don't even think he knows Gary Harris but he just wanted to say what's up anyway I guess.
  • Seeing Gary Harris walk by almost made me cry.
  • There was a really cool moment where a line of about 50 former and current NBA players (some sort of association I assume) moved to sit in the bleachers and just about all of them got shouted at or had someone to say hi to. Reggie Jackson's backpack was a picture of a bunch of Euros (currency) which I saw as both impressive and bold. Antonio Davis walked by without anyone noticing but Corey Maggette got multiple fans yelling at him. A Warriors fan asked Antawn Jamison to come back to the Warriors, which led to multiple people shaking their head including Antawn.
  • I've learned through a day here that the easiest way to say hi to a player and get him to enjoy a stranger saying something to him is to go with a college reference. A guy in front of me just said "hook em" and held up the horns to a former player and he got a handshake and a smile. Cliff Robinson was elated by anyone wearing UConn gear or saying any sort of reference of the school to him. Cliff is the best.
  • It's always a plus from me whenever current players show up to watch more than just their own team's game. Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris showed up during halftime and stayed throughout the day. They had matching shirts, pants, and chains. They're the best.
  • If there's one thing I've learned from attending multiple basketball games, it's who is going to make the half court shots. You either have to look like a complete pro or have no idea what you are doing. No in-between. The fans went 0-3 yesterday and a dad stepped up today in flip-flops and missed his first attempt by 15 feet. He of course proceeded to bury the next one and of course the crowd went crazy.

Game 2: Toronto Raptors vs. Denver Nuggets

Gary Harris and Quincy Miller were by far the best players on the floor in this one. I typed this in the late first quarter and they wound up with 53 points combined. Being one of the most negative writers here about the Suns draft, seeing Gary Harris outscore the Raptors with 13 points before checking out in the late first quarter made me continuously shake my head. His three-point stroke was money and he was playing great defense as well. His slashing is probably the best part of his game and he rarely did that today but was effective when he used it.

Quincy Miller's length was all over the place. He's very hard to miss at nearly seven feet tall and very long arms. He's not very fast and he can't jump that high but he uses his body to his advantage as a perimeter player. He had three blocks in the first quarter that were simply due to his length and he made two threes early with a defender right in his face because of his height advantage. With 8 minutes left in the second quarter it was Miller/Harris 29 and the Raptors 18. Tidbits..

  • Bruno Caboclo was much better today. He showed some promise as a defender and continues to shoot the three with confidence. Like Miller, his height and length allow him to hit shots right over the top of defenders. Defensively, he has a good understanding of how to use his body, but Miller made him look silly a few times. Once he learns everything he will be very good on D.
  • Myck Kabongo did not play yesterday but he played today. Back in 2011 Kabongo was the #11 on ESPN's college basketball recruiting rankings. Kabongo did not play well in his freshman season so he obviously returned to school for his sophomore year. He was under investigation during the 2012-2013 season for alleged inappropriate contact with none other than Rich Paul. Yes, the Rich Paul that ran LeBron's free agency this summer. Kabongo only played in 11 games, didn't look that great, declared for the draft, and went undrafted. He spent last year in the D-League and did not look all that great today.
  • Bebe Noguiera did very little again.
  • Marv Albert showed up to see Steve Kerr coach his first game. That bromance is so real.

Game 3: Phoenix Suns vs. Golden State Warriors

In the first half the Suns were extremely stagnant while the Warriors remained aggressive. Steve Kerr got a lot of long, strong, and great athletes on his team and despite the talent gap the Suns were down 7 at half. I'm not sure what it was that made them so tentative. Longabardi tried to work a double high look with Len and Plumlee on the elbows and it was awful. The aggression the Warriors showed in getting to the rim had the Suns looking poor defensively.

The second half was a different story. T.J. Warren kept scoring whenever he wanted to and Archie Goodwin got going. The defense started to perk up after a little momentum and it continued on through the rest of the game. Tyler Ennis had a great 3 play spurt including a steal, assist, and 2 floaters that got the Suns into this close game. Goodwin's steal late got the Suns a 2-point lead with under a minute to go. Golden State got it back though to a tie game and then in a somewhat controversial call on a loose ball, the Suns had the ball in a tie game with 33 seconds left. Seth Curry got an open jumper but like most of the game for him it was off. Shades of Jason Richardson and Ron Artest had the man of the night Justin Holiday put in the air ball from Nemanja Nedovic for the win. Overall, it was a good learning experience for this Summer Suns squad to figure out their rhythm. Bullets on everyone!

  • T.J. Warren was the biggest positive offensively for the Suns. He took whatever the defense gave him and operated from there. Dude can score from all over. Defensively though, the speed and bulk of the Warriors bothered him and he continued to find himself out of position and worked. The offense he showed far outweighs the defensive concerns, but it's still something worth noting that he needs to keep working on.
  • Alex Len impressed me the most. He was active on the offensive boards, moved very well defensively, and contested just about everything he could. He took the face-up jumper when the defense allowed it and that's what he should be doing. He was the best big by far for Phoenix.
  • Archie Goodwin was a roller coaster during this one. In the first half, he couldn't figure out what he wanted to do when he got the ball and Aaron Craft was excellent defensively on him for a few possessions. Defensively, Goodwin was lacking the instincts to react to screens or the movement of his man. Then in the second half, he got a couple of buckets in the open floor and then started attacking like he should with two tremendous finishes in the mid third quarter. His decision making amongst a couple of other things still needs work.
  • The Miles Plumlee post up fascination continued in Vegas and it continued to not work. I don't get it. Even when Plumlee has a mismatch I still don't understand why they give him the ball because he does not take advantage of his bulk and tries to fade-away or put up his signature hook. He was fine everywhere else but this remains to be a "Why?" sort of thing and overall he had a really bad night.
  • Alec Brown had a nightmare first half. He was 0-5 from three, missing badly on just about all of them. To go silver lining here I was happy that he had the quick trigger because that's why the Suns picked him. However, even worse was his positioning a handful of times down low where he got outmuscled and outleaped for a lot of rebounds. He barely played in the second half. Rough night.
  • While he didn't have a good day statistically, I was still impressed by Tyler Ennis. He showed off his great court vision and ability to read the defense. He set up his teammates multiple times just by moving to certain places with the ball, which is what I was the most high on when the Suns picked him. On defense he was surprisingly solid, including a savvy steal and not giving up much position to a much stronger Nedovic.
  • Seth Curry was inventive in creating space for his jumper but it just wasn't falling tonight. His movement as the primary ball handler was solid and once his jumper starts falling he will have a positive impact.
  • Elias Harris was not that great in the first half but was a different player in the second half. He showed his versatility from hitting a jumper to being able to finish for the and-1 under the rim.
  • Justin Holiday was the best player on the floor. He's always been a great shooter and could not stop missing tonight.
  • Aaron Craft was as pesky as ever and head coach Steve Kerr elected to keep him on the floor at the end of the game over his starting 2 guard Orlando Johnson.
  • It was pretty telling on Warren's shooting ability that Longabardi went with the extra shooter on the floor late in the game instead of Warren. He will get there.
  • Goodwin and Warren gamble WAY too much on steals. It's a problem.
  • The Suns were 29th in assists last year and they only had 2 tonight. Not what you like to see.
  • The crowds for both teams were great and this was the most hyped game so far besides the Cavs and Bucks yesterday until the Jazz fans blew everyone out later on.

Game 4: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Utah Jazz

Our final game was the "I want to see Dante Exum play basketball live" game. I found it interesting that Trey Burke was playing in the summer league given how much experience he got in his rookie year, but it made sense with Exum there. They are going to be a backcourt together and this is really good time to work out the kinks and feel each other out. Exum's handle and passing were on full display and had me very impressed. His crossover move in the early second quarter to set up Rudy Golbert was beautiful. The kid has handles for days.  He is so fast that when he gets any sort of hesitation from his defender he is gone. He was looking to distribute and handle to show everyone that he is indeed a point guard and not a "zero guard" like some claim. I'm trying really hard to not overreact to one summer league game against the Sixers but my goodness he was impressive.

  • Burke was right alongside Exum in the point guard skills display. That backcourt should be fun to watch together.
  • The scoring machine from Cincinnati Sean Kilpatrick did his usual business in Vegas. Kilpatrick had 11 points in the first quarter and was really working his tail off on both ends. He averaged eight three-point attempts (!) a game in his last two years at Cincinnati and continued to keep shooting that way in Vegas. Anyone who shows flashes in Vegas for Philly has a chance to make the roster and he could do just that.
  • Besides what I mentioned earlier about Exum, I was very impressed by his basketball IQ as well. When he's attacking the basket he has the ball on a string and he's so agile that he can shift any way he wants to. He sees the floor well enough to not only create space for himself, but suck the defense in and execute things like drive and kicks as well. I'm in.
  • Rudy Gobert is starting to figure it out. At a ridiculous 7'2" with an even more ridiculous 7'9" wingspan, it's clear why he was an NBA prospect. Now that he added some bulk last year and practiced against some far better players he's starting to come together. He had a sequence featuring a monster block and a great and-1 finish on the other end. With a two point guard look for the Jazz a player like Gobert could really succeed.
  • The Jazz had by far the most fan support out of any team here. During that Gobert run they went absolutely insane. There was legit noise throughout and they were in love with Exum.
  • Malcolm Thomas was all over the offensive boards like he always is.
  • Brock Motum played well for Utah. He's a smart player that does a little bit of everything and makes great passes. He was mostly a scorer for Washington State but now he's playing a very good all-around style.
  • Rodney Hood couldn't hit threes and when Rodney Hood can't hit threes Rodney Hood will have little to no purpose as a basketball player.
  • Nerlens Noel did not play.

Phoenix Suns vs. Milwaukee Bucks Preview

Here's a quick preview for tomorrow. Milwaukee has two of the best talents and players here in Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo. I have no idea who is going to try to guard them for the Suns so that should be interesting. They also have a very good player you may not have heard of in Nate Wolters. He's a very good scorer who is a surprisingly good finisher at the rim and proved that he was not just a clone of his comp out of college Jimmer Fredette. His point guard skills are evolving and he's a legitimate NBA 1 that should test Tyler Ennis.

Elsewhere, former first round pick of the Boston Celtics JaJuan Johnson will be playing down low. Johnson is a thin 6'10 and was basically the center for the Bucks yesterday, so this is the sort of matchup that Miles Pumlee and Alex Len need to dominate. With that in mind we might see Kenny Kadji, who is a much bulkier 6'10 and could be much more of a center than Johnson could be. He's still a much inferior player though that Plumlee and Len should handle easily. The last player I will go over is Johnny O' Bryant, a second round pick this year for the Bucks who I really like. O' Bryant is very solid in the post and showed that despite being only 6'9 he can still get his inside. He made it look very easy when he got the ball with his back to the basket yesterday so look for this to be a potential problem for Alec Brown and Elias Harris.

As far as things to look for from tonight's game, there are a few things. Alec Brown and Miles Plumlee were the two that struggled the most so look for Brown to start hitting some threes and Plumlee to stop posting up. Alex Len only got 2 shots off from the post so I'd look for more of that. Lastly, I hope the Suns get more than 2 assists.

Following LeBron’s decision to return to Cleveland, the other dominoes are falling in free agency. Now the focus is on Vegas and the Summer League. Phoenix has their starting center Miles...

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The 2014 Las Vegas Summer League tips for the Phoenix Suns on Saturday at 5 p.m. PST. Coach Mike Longabardi’s squad faces off against the Golden State Warriors, the Vegas champions from last...

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Suns Summer League action starts today the way it ended last year, against the division rival Golden State Warriors. Join the fun in the game thread. Chances of being bitten by a shark are low.

NBA Summer League is generally only for the hardest core of fans, but this July's edition of the Summer Suns features a handful of players to be genuinely excited or curious about, including rookies T.J. Warren, Tyler Ennis and Alec Brown, and second year players Alex Len and Archie Goodwin. I'm excited to see all five, but especially Warren and Len.

In last July's Summer League Championship, the Warriors crushed the hopes and dreams of Suns fans yearning for a title, dispatching of our heroes 91-77 in a game that was the most watched event in television history. (I might need to fact check that last bit, but I think I heard it somewhere.) The brilliant Ian Clark was simply too much for the Suns to handle, as he went for 33 to win MVP.

For more on this summer's Suns, check out these great write-ups from Bright Side's own Kellan Olson, who is onsite in Vegas this weekend for the games.

Phoenix Suns Las Vegas Summer League 2014 Preview

Las Vegas Summer League Day 1 Analysis and Day 2 Preview

And these practice notes from Dave King:

Phoenix Suns Pre-Summer League Practice Notes

Game Time: 5PM AZ Time, NBATV


I will be in Vegas attending the summer league from Friday to Tuesday. Each day I will be bringing you tidbits on each game and a preview or recap of the Suns action.

Day 1 of the Las Vegas summer league was madness. I woke up 10 minutes after LeBron signed and spent the next 2 hours digesting and discussing that before heading over to the arena. The access you have at the summer league is pretty great. There are coaches and GM's sitting throughout the arena and the seating in the COX Pavilion is similar to a high school game so you are very close. The level of athleticism really gets to you if you've never been this close to the court consistently. I almost had a heart attack when Cleanthony Early dunked from 1 step in front of the elbow in warm-ups. The court chatter is very easy to hear as well, and while it's not as vulgar as the regular season, it was still cool to hear. How this is going to work is a game-by-game recap with the one storyline or player that stood out to me followed by bullet points on things that caught my eye. If you want just the Suns side of the story, you will find that at the bottom of the page with a preview of the Golden State game.

Game 1: Dallas Mavericks vs. New York Knicks

Thanasis Antetokounmpo was the highlight of the first game between the Dallas Mavericks and the New York Knicks. He was by far the most energized player I saw today, which resulted in the Knicks bench being lively from the get go, Antetokounmpo gave his full and even somewhat unnecessary effort on every play he was involved in. He was picking guys up full court and would be as close to his defender as possible without fouling, which he did quite a bit of since he was so aggressive. Cleanthony Early laughed as he checked in for Antetokounmpo after he picked up three fouls in about 4 minutes and Tim Hardaway Jr almost died laughing on the bench after Antetokounmpo's reaction on his own block.

Antetokoumnmpo was jumping up and down on in bounds defense, sprinting up and down the floor, and rallying his teammates anytime he felt like it. He would stand up and yell anytime anything happened on the floor that went I the Knicks favor. This was all fun, but he showed some great ability as well besides just this insane work rate that warranted his 51st selection from the Knicks this year. Some of the basketball purists type of plays he made such as his corner threes or great vision and ball-handling to get to the basket impressed me. Here are some other tidbits from the game.

  • Shane Larkin is still figuring out how to be a point guard. You can tell when you watch him that he isn't pure and it hurts him sometimes. He missed a handful of open passing lanes and forced it a bit too much offensively. As with everyone here though, you can see why he's a legitimate talent worthy of that 18th overall selection in 2013. He's still only 21.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr. had the greenest light I've ever seen. He took 11 shots in the first half, 8 of them being threes. He's a good three-point shooter but he takes a lot of bad shots.
  • That athlete thing I talked about was on full display when Bertrand James and Cole Aldrich were battling inside. The length, height, and bulk of the two was surreal, and Aldrich in particular had some promising blimps. Aldrich looked like a legitimate NBA center with his shot blocking and poise in the post.
  • Former Suns bench weapon Shannon Brown was playing for the Knicks at the age of 28. He never found his rhythm for the game and is still struggling to find a spot on a roster.
  • Ricky Ledo's scoring ability is not exaggerated. He brought just about everything out of his arsenal early on, mostly utilizing a Euro-step to great success in getting into the lane. It's an erratic style though, and sometimes that results in a 4-14 night. The consistency is one of the main things that's holding him back from making the Mavs rotation.
  • This was the first basketball game I ever saw a double lane violation. Apparently you do a jump ball at center court when this occurs. That's neat.
  • My man Cleanthony Early had a very good day. He had an impressive spin move fadeaway from the elbow early and showcased his corner three is ready to go at the NBA level on both attempts early on. After one of those corner threes, Early got the ball with space, attacked the basket, and murdered poor Ivan Johnson. Johnson is a massive man and the thin Early made him look like a boy. The Knicks fans in attendance who were not aware of Early certainly know who he is now, as he got a solid reaction from them when he checked out of the game. I will continue to stand by my grade of having him in the mid to late first round. Cleanthony forever.

Game 2: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors

Game 2 between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Toronto Raptors only had two words on my mind: Bruno Caboclo. Caboclo was the 20th selection in the 2014 draft and was by far the biggest reach and surprise of the night. Fran Fraschilla had the quote of the draft in saying that Caboclo is "two years from being two years away." He was called him the Brazilian Kevin Durant and that's all I needed to hear in order to be as hyped as possible.

Fraschilla was right. Caboclo's game is so elementary right now I have no idea how to evaluate it. His summer league started with him not realizing a lob was being thrown to him, a travel, failing to catch a pass when he got it in the corner, and getting 2 fouls in three and a half minutes. Then, all of a sudden, he drains a step-back three right in the eye of a defender and looked very good on catch and shoots. He moves awkwardly and doesn't quite understand basketball yet. It's going to be a while before the Raptors see results on him, but it could be worth it. Other tidbits...

  • Jordan Clarkson looks like a very good player player to me. His meteoric rise through the workout process saw him being projected as high as the mid first round after being projected in the beginning of the second round before the combine and such. He wound up going later than that, 46th to the Lakers who traded for that pick. His skill set for getting into the lane is very nice and he was hitting the three with confidence today which was his biggest concern coming into the draft. I'd describe his game as crafty and smooth, but in an athletic way if that makes sense. I'm a fan.
  • Bebe Nogueira was relatively invisible during this one. He was acquired for the John Salmons expiring if you missed that. The shot blocking Brazilian had Hassan Whiteside starting over him, so that's not good. A mid first round pick in his second year shouldn't be coming off the bench but that's where he was. I hope to see more from him this weekend.
  • Your favorite point guard ever Kendall Marshall played for the Lakers. He did what he usually does and I don't feel the need to talk about that. He finds the open man and shoots threes. That's about it.
  • Julius Randle has not signed his contract yet so he did not play. I was very upset about this.
  • This game was during the Isaiah Thomas heist so I spent 60% of it on twitter and texts freaking out. Didn't miss much though.
  • Overall, Jordan Clarkson was the only guy that looked like a pro out there. We will talk about him being one of the second round steals in a few years even if that wasn't where he was evaluated.

Game 3: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Milwaukee Bucks

The third game of the evening was the one I was looking the most forward to the most and it was between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Milwaukee Bucks. Four premier talents would be on the floor in Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Jabari Parker, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. During the first two games, the Cox Pavilion was relatively full due to the Thomas and Mack Center only having two games today, but this was completely sold out. There were at least a hundred people standing atop the rafters, behind the media rows, or sitting in the isles. Everyone was standing during warm-ups and the "ooooh!" sound bytes were in full effect whenever anyone did something somewhat cool.

It was a slow start, mostly due to the refs calling just about anything in order to "teach the players" or whatever the hell the point is there, but in the mid second quarter things got going. Wiggins finally dunked (he only did layups in the warm-ups. I was not pleased about it), had another and-1 that looked like there was a trampoline under the hardwood, and a dirty stepback from the elbow. He was hitting his threes with confidence and was the best player on the floor in my opinion. Giannis had an "in your eye" three, ran the point at times despite being SIX FREAKING ELEVEN, and looked confident and skilled. Jabari showcased why he is by far the best scorer out of this draft despite a rough shooting night. HIs shot selection will continue to improve and it's something he needs to work on. Anthony Bennett attempted to kill the rim on a fast break and was chucking up the threes to keep his acclaim as a stretch four. He was trying to beat out Tim Hardaway Jr. for the greenest light of the day I guess. It was a lot of fun to watch and it was well worth showing up for.

  • It was great to watch Nate Wolters and Matthew Dellavedova go back and forth. Wolters was one of the steals of the draft last year and Dellavedova continues to work his ass off and make smart plays to be able to call himself an NBA player. Both had their moments like the big 4 in showing why they are NBA players.
  • Everything about Jabari stood out. His control of the ball, strides, comfort going through traffic and finishing, passing, IQ. Everything. One sequence that stood out was that someone on the Cavs didn't hustle back so he had a 4 on 3 and when he realized it as he was jogging the ball up the floor. He sprinted with the ball to the wing, forcing a defender covering someone in the corner to come out and stop the ball, and then Parker his open teammate in the corner. He's great.
  • I still stand by my opinion on how good Wiggins is going to be. Nothing changed about this after seeing him in person.
  • Both Bennett and Wiggins were very willing to shoot the three. I'm not sure if it's because this is summer league or they were supposed to, just thought it was worth nothing.
  • There weren't that many notable names courtside up to this point, but all of a sudden I look down and there's James Harden, Demar Derozan, and Amir Johnson.
  • Archie Goodwin with his Suns hat and massive gold chain went over to talk to Harden for a minute or two. Do you Arch.
  • We had our first game go down to the wire, as Wolters had a chance to win the game but missed horribly. Summer league!
  • Not many observations after that. You lost your seat if you left to go to the bathroom or get something at concessions so I was focusing most of my energy on not peeing my pants.

Game 4: San Antonio Spurs vs. Sacramento Kings

The fourth and final game was between the Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs. This one was relatively quiet, mainly due to the buzz for the previous game and the amount of empty seats. Bullets only here...

  • Sacramento might have the most balanced starting five here besides the Suns. Nik Stauskas, Ray McCallum, Ben McLemore, Derrick Williams, and Quincy Acy. They were fun to watch when they were all out there together. The Spurs won though because they are the Spurs, even in the summer league.
  • Acy kept shooting threes and kept making them. He's a power guy inside that bangs around, rebounds, and dunks the ball. That was strange.
  • I always liked Vander Blue and the Spurs got a good look at him. He's very explosive and knows how to get to the basket.
  • Stauskas didn't surprise me at all. He looked very comfortable with the ball and knew what the best move was to set up himself for an open look or the player next to him. I don't know what the Kings are going to do with him and McLemore but Stauskas was more impressive tonight.
  • Derrick Williams played just like he has in the pros. Did some good things, did some bad things, and didn't have you leaving the game feeling impressed. HIs performance against Duke is one of my favorites ever but it looks like those days are behind him.
  • Every year in the draft I get attached to a bunch of prospects and hope they find the right fit. Last year, Ray McCallum did not and struggled to find consistent playing time in Sacramento for his rookie year. Now with the Isaiah Thomas move it looks like he will be the backup point guard. I'm happy for him, as he proved in Vegas that he can really play. He was the guy I was most impressed with in this game.
  • My favorite moment of interaction so far came from Shabazz Muhammad. Muhammad used to be going first overall in mock drafts before he partially failed to meet the hype at UCLA and wound up going in the mid first round to Minnesota. There was this mob of 8-12 kids with sharpies and a ball made to be signed that were getting EVERYONE. Well, Shabazz sat in the section next to mine on the isle and something that made me chuckle happened. The mob of autograph kids approached him and I thought "oh here we go again", but it turns out they say "excuse me" so they can get by. Quite a turn for a guy who looked to be the #1 overall pick in the NBA draft out of high school.
  • I didn't see the entire game so I can't write all about it, but the Pelicans and D-League Select game was incredible. There were only 300 people in the arena (this one was in Thomas and Mack, Cox Pavilion is more like a gym and T&M is a legit arena) and I loved the PA playing music to no response or people still going crazy for the t-shirt toss. Josh Howard (yes, THAT Josh Howard) was on the bench during the Pelicans double-digit comeback late in the 4th quarter, and he willed that entire bench to get into the game and go nuts whenever the Pelicans did something positive. The energy willed the Pelicans back to the lead with 26 seconds left in the game and Josh Carter (yes, THAT Josh Carter) hit a game winning three with 3 seconds left. There was probably 0.8% of the media members there and an even smaller percentage of the fans there, but the Pelicans rallied because the guys on the floor and more so the bench wanted a win. Josh Howard was one of the best players on an NBA Finals team three years ago and here he is in front of 300 people rooting his team on from the bench. I love sports.

Phoenix Suns vs. Golden State Warriors Preview

The aftermath post LeBron has obviously extended to Phoenix now with the Isaiah Thomas signing and Luol Deng rumor, and that goes even further into tomorrow's summer league opener for the Suns. Those signings could restrict the playing time we thought was a given for the likes of TJ Warren and Tyler Ennis. It also puts more money in other places while the hole at stretch four still exists, so that's even more of a spotlight on Alec Brown. Those three have a lot to play for.

The Suns play the Golden State Warriors tomorrow. The Warriors did not have a selection in the 2014 NBA draft but they had four in 2012. The first round pick from that year was Festus Ezeli, but he is now out due to injury. That turns the attention to Nemanja Nedovic and Ognjen Kuzmic.

Nedovic, the 30th selection in 2013, had an injury plagued rookie year that didn't allow him much playing time to get acclimated to the NBA. He's an explosive 2 guard that is undersized at 6'4. He loves to get to the basket and is always trying to get there. Kuzmic was the 52nd selection for the Warriors in 2012 and is a true 7 footer. In the D-League last year Kuzmic averaged nearly 12 rebounds a game and 1.6 blocks a game. The stat that stands out for him is his offensive rebounding, as he averaged 4.3 a game in the D-League last season. The injury riddled front court in Golden State has Warriors fans paying a lot of attention to Kuzmic.

Other notable names to watch on the roster include James Michael McAdoo, a projected top 5 pick out of high school before falling off the face of the earth and going undrafted. Former Big-12 scoring machine Rodney McGruder will also be with the Warriors. Lastly, the all-time leader in three-point field goals in NCAA history Travis Bader will be doing double duty after playing for the Sixers in the Orlando summer league.

As an opponent, Suns fans should be excited to see the likes of Miles Plumlee, Alex Len, and Alec Brown take on a true 7 footer in Kuzmic. That duo of Nedovic and McGruder should provide some competition for Archie Goodwin and Ennis. Overall, this is a team that the Suns should be able to handle pretty easily. Nedovic and Kuzmic will be intriguing and will have their success, but I expect the Suns to come out on top tomorrow. Until then...

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