NBA Vegas Summer League Preview – Part 3

The preview of the players and teams of interest over the next 9 days ends with Part 3 – Phoenix through Washington.  Make sure to check back later for a recap of the first 2 days of action.

Parts 1 and 2 are available here.   

 

Phoenix Suns

 

 

Marcus Johnson

SF

6’6

210

USC

Scottie Reynolds

PG

6’2

190

Villanova

Zabian Dowdell

SG

6’3

190

Virginia Tech

Ryan Toolson

SG

6’4

190

Utah Valley State

Brandon Johnson

PG

6’0

200

San Diego

Lawrence Hill

PF

6’8

220

Stanford

Anton Ponkrashov

SF

6’7

220

Russia

Matt Janning

PG/SG

6’4

195

Northeastern

Gani Lawal

PF

6’9

234

Georgia Tech

Taylor Griffin

SF

6’7

238

Oklahoma

Gavin Edwards

PF/C

6’10

230

Connecticut

Shaun Pruitt

PF/C

6’10

245

Illinois

Earl Clark

SF

6’10

225

Louisville

Dwayne Collins

SF/PF

6’8

243

Miami

 

 

The Rookies – The Suns have brought a solid group of rookies with them to Vegas, led by draft picks Gani Lawal and Dwayne Collins.  Lawal should be an effective big man for the Suns and should soften the loss of Amare Stoudamire a little bit.  He is a solid rebounder and during last season showed some ability to step out and hit mid-range jumpers.  Collins is another power forward who is more athletic than Lawal, but not as polished.  He has the ability to run the floor the way the Suns like to, though he needs to become more consistent finishing at the basket.  A couple of undrafted Big East players – Scottie Reynolds and Gavin Edwards – will also be here, and both have a legitimate shot of being on a NBA roster this season.  Reynolds, a first team All-American, is a solid, but unspectacular, point guard, known more for his clutch scoring than his point guard abilities.  Look for him to show that he does have those point abilities to round out his game.  Edwards was one of the lone bright spots in a disappointing UConn season.  He does all of the dirty work that you need a big man to do, and he sets some of the best screens I have seen.  If he can show some scoring ability this week, the Suns may want to make sure he is in camp this fall.

 

 

The VetsTaylor Griffin and Earl Clark will be making their second summer league appearances, and both will need to show some improvement if they don’t want to be back again next year.  Griffin is good player, but there is nothing that makes him stand out.  Clark is extremely athletic, but has been inconsistent on both ends of the floor.  He will need to show that he can finish at the basket and play tough defense this week.

 

 

The Wild Card  - I am looking forward to seeing Matt Janning again after being impressed with him in Orlando this week.  He plays hard every time he steps on the court, can shoot the ball, run the offense and will even get in and battle for rebounds.  Another good week will have him near the top of the list of in-season signings this year.

 

 

 

 

Portland Trailblazers

 

 

Luke Babbitt

SF

6’9

225

Nevada

Jimmy Baron

PG

6’3

195

Rhode Island

Dante Cunningham

PF

6’8

227

Villanova

Osiris Eldridge

SG

6’3

190

Illinois State

Michael Fey

C

7’0

270

UCLA

Mike Green

PG

6’1

175

Lasalle

Ekene Ibekwe

PF

6’9

220

Maryland

Armon Johnson

PG

6’3

195

Nevada

Joe Krabbenhoft

SF

6’7

220

Wisconsin

Patrick Mills

PG

6’0

175

St. Mary’s

Demetris Nichols

SF

6’8

211

Syracuse

Jeff Pendergraph

PF

6’9

240

Arizona State

Nik Raivio

PG

6’4

205

Portland

Luke Schenscher

C

7’0

265

Georgia Tech

Reyshawn Terry

SF

6’8

222

North Carolina

Elliot Williams

PG/SG

6’5

190

Memphis

 

 

The Rookies – Former Nevada teammates Luke Babbitt  and Armon Johnson, as well as Elliot Williams, will be here for Portland.  Babbitt is long with great basketball skills, and can play both inside and out.  He is also a very good rebounder, though he needs to work on his defensive positioning and toughness.  Johnson is a solid point guard, who does a good job getting to the rim and can take a few hits.  His perimeter shot needs work, as well as his agility.  Williams was an excellent pick for the Blazers.  A big point guard, he sees the floor well, can push the ball and can score inside and out.  He may be more effective as an off guard, as he is not quick enough to guard smaller points.

 

 

The Vets – The three second rounders from last year are here.  Jeff Pendergraph and Dante Cunningham both played very well last season after the Portland front line was depleted by injury.  Both should continue their development as good post defenders and solid bench players.  Patty Mills will be running the point and should show that he has rebounded from his injury issues.  If he can show that he is capable of running the offense and keeping the other team off-balance, he should be in contention for the backup point guard spot.

The Wild Card  - Osiris Eldridge is a smooth scoring guard who can provide explosiveness off the bench here in Vegas.  If he can show that he can score while playing tough defense, he may have a shot of being invited back in the fall.

 

 

 

 

Sacramento Kings

 

 

Devan Downey

PG

 

 

South Carolina

Dionte Christmas

SG

 

 

Temple

Sylven Landesberg

SG

 

 

Virginia

Tyrese Rice

PG

 

 

Boston College

Donald Sloan

PG

 

 

Texas A&M

Ryan Thompson

SG

 

 

Rider

Omri Casspi

SF

 

 

Israel

Donte Greene

SF

 

 

Syracuse

Wayne Chism

PF

 

 

Tennessee

Lee Cummard

PF

 

 

BYU

Jason Ellis

PF

 

 

 

Tyren Johnson

 

 

 

 

DeMarcus Cousins

C

 

 

Kentucky

Hassan Whiteside

C

 

 

Marshall

Connor Atchley

PF/C

 

 

Texas

Steven Hill

C

 

 

Providence

 

 

The Rookies – All eyes will be on the big men, DeMarcus Cousins and Hassan Whiteside, but the Kings have some other interesting rookies here.  This will be Cousins’ first real chance to show if he is going to put in the necessary work to have people focus on his ability and not his attitude.  If he focuses on the game, he should dominate this summer league.  Whiteside should use this week to work on polishing his offensive game, while showing that he can be the defensive force the Kings envision.  Sylven Landesberg was surprisingly not picked in the 2nd round of the draft.  He is a big guard, capable of hitting from long range and slashing through the defense.  He really needs to pick up his defense to show he belongs on a NBA team.  Donald Sloan is a big point guard, who can both score and run the offense, plays tough defense and works well without the ball.  Devan Downey and Dionte Christmas are both scoring guards, though both are very limited otherwise.  Ryan Thompson, Jason’s brother, will be trying to make the team here.  He is very good at getting to the basket and using his size to physically dominate other guards.  He had a good week with the Celtics in Orlando and should continue it here.

 

 

The VetsOmri Casspi and Donte Greene will build off of their successful seasons by showing they are a solid 1-2 tandem at the small forward position.  Greene is much more physical, while Casspi is a strong shooter and scorer.  Greene needs to improve his offensive game, and Casspi should work on being more physical.

 

 

 

The Wild Card  - No one else on the roster really interests me out of this group.  Maybe my mind will change after seeing them play.  I like Connor Atchley, though the last things the Kings will really need is another big man.

 

 

 

 

 

San Antonio Spurs

 

 

Malik Hairston

SG

6’6

220

Oregon

Garrett Temple

SG

6’6

190

LSU

Curtis Jerrells

PG

6’1

195

Baylor

Squeaky Johnson

PG

5’10

180

UAB

James Gist

PF

6’9

235

Maryland

Josh Lomers

C

7’0

280

Baylor

Eric Dawson

PF

6’9

235

Midwestern State

Tyler Wilkerson

PF

6’8

240

Marshall

Bryan Davis

PF

6’9

250

Texas A&M

Gary Neal

PG

6’4

210

Towson

Alonzo Gee

SG

6’6

220

Alabama

Dejuan Blair

PF

6’7

265

Pittsburgh

 

 

The Rookies – This is a veteran squad of players and James Anderson is not expected to play here in Vegas.

 

 

 

The VetsDeJuan Blair parlayed a strong summer league into quality minutes last season for the Spurs.  His game is what it is, I don’t see him being any more than a terror on the boards and don’t expect to see anything different his season.  Malik Hairston still has the potential to be a quality bench player in the NBA, though he needs to work on his ballhandling skills and trying not to force plays that aren’t there.

 

 

The Wild Card  - Eric Dawson is a very effective under-sized post player, who has a similar style to DeJuan Blair – boxes out well, goes after the ball strong and is very effective around the basket.  He is someone to keep an eye on over the next year as he continues to develop a better all around game.

 

 

 

 

 

Toronto Raptors

 

 

Bobby Brown

PG

6’2

175

Cal St.-Fullerton

Curtis Stinson

SG

6’3

215

Iowa State

Michael Roll

SG

6’5

200

UCLA

Joey Dorsey

PF

6’8

268

Memphis

DeMar Derozan

SG

6’7

220

USC

Ronald Dupree

SF

6’7

210

LSU

Sonny Weems

SG/SF

6’6

203

Arkansas

Cheikh Samb

C

7’1

245

Senegal

Ed Davis

PF

6’10

227

North Carolina

James Mays

PF

6’9

230

Clemson

Solomon Alabai

C

7’1

237

Florida State

 

 

The Rookies – Draft picks Ed Davis and Solomon Alabai are here in Vegas, and both are so raw offensively that they should use this week to work on their play around the basket.  Defensively, they will be a nightmare for anyone trying to get into the lane against them.  Both run the floor well for their size and should be able to adjust to the pace of summer league games.

 

 

The Vets – DeMar DeRozan had some very good moments last season and should continue his improvement this season.  His role here will be as the leader of the team while making sure the team is working on what they need here.  We know he can score, though he needs to become a more consistent shooter as well as a more consistent defender, especially on the perimeter.  Sonny Weems is an interesting player to watch.  Very athletic, but not particularly skilled, he is very active and brings energy off the bench.  I want to see him improve his shooting here.

 

 

The Wild Card  - Joey Dorsey has always been athletic for his size, though he needs to improve on using his strength better around the rim.  When he goes strong, no one wants to get in his way, yet he feels content to take 10 footers.  Show some power and another team may take a chance on him this season.

 

 

 

 

Washington Wizards

 

 

John Wall

PG

6’4

200

Kentucky

JaVale McGee

C

7’0

252

Nevada

Cartier Martin

SG

6’7

220

Kansas State

Trevor Booker

SF/PF

6’7

240

Clemson

Hamady Ndiaye

C

7’0

235

Rutgers

Eric Hayes

PG/SG

6’4

180

Maryland

Raymar Morgan

SF

6’7

225

Michigan State

Jerome Randle

PG

5’10

160

California

Kyle Spain

SG

6’5

220

San Diego State

Kevin Palmer

SF

6’6

205

Texas A&M-CC

Sun Yue

SF

6’9

205

China

Michael Sweetney

PF

6’8

260

Georgetown

 

 

The RookiesJohn Wall will be the man everyone wants to see in Vegas and with good reason.  He is pure excitement on the court – a step ahead of everyone at all times.  I want to see him work on his jumper while he is here, and show us if he has the defensive skills to guard at this level.  Trevor Booker will be a do-everything guy for the Wizards.  Score, rebound, play defense – Booker should impress many here who have never seen him play.

 

 

 

The Vets JaVale McGee will be the lone representative from last year’s Wizards.  McGee can be an effective post player, though he still needs to get stronger.  He has shown good athleticism and has improved his touch a bit.  I want to see him work on his face-up game here and then use his athletic ability to get by his man, and work on being more aggressive on the defensive end.

 

 

The Wild Card  - Cartier Martin has always been able to score in a variety of ways, but he never seemed interested in doing much else.  If he can come in here and show that he can function within the offense and play hard on the defensive end, he should be back on the Wizards roster this season.

 

I will address the NBDL Select Team in a separate post from Vegas next week.  Hope to see some of you there.