No Clipper game today, but still plenty to talk about at summer league. We’ve seen some great dunks and one killer move from C.J. McCollum, but the highlight of the day may have come when the PA announcer called “Two points for Luke Harangody!” after a Jack Cooley made basket. Now, onto Last Call:
Tweet(s) of the Game
I have seen three Millsaps in the last two days. Personal best.
— Steve McPherson (@steventurous) July 13, 2013
I think Jae Crowder might have better dreads than Faried.
— Sean Highkin (@highkin) July 13, 2013
Next game: July 14, 1:30 p.m. PST against the D-League Select Team.
Check Your Messages
The Purpose of LVSL: DNP – Confused
I’ve often thought one of the primary purposes of Summer League was to recalibrate the baseline of players not seen in an NBA setting; the undrafted rookies, players overseas that might have worked out their game but were out of site, out of mind. So it’s peculiar to see DNP-CD (Did Not Play – Coaches Decision) show up next to names in the final box score of summer league games.
Of course there are a variety of reasons a player may not get in a game: certain lineups and rotations a team wants to build consistency with, lack of depth at a certain position, behind the scenes observations during practices. But in such a compressed system, one would think gaining the most amount of data on every player would be crucial.
There were 55 DNP-CDs on the first day of LVSL.
- Andrew Han
We Are All Chris Johnson’s
Here in Las Vegas, there’s a running joke among… well, me, that summer league is the NBA’s alternate universe. In theory, the teams that are terrible during the regular season should be among the best in July. Kent Bazemore becomes a hot commodity for reporters while Clipperblog’s resident toddler, Jacob Frankel, scores a few minutes with Harrison Barnes.
On one fateful Saturday the 13th — those are the supernatural ones in opposite world — at the Thomas and Mack Center, the abstract and the actual were at their closest point to colliding since JaVale McGee dunked two basketballs at one time. Chris Johnson, the 6-foot-6 swingman out of Dayton, that’s seen just over 100 minutes of NBA action in his career, faced off against Chris Johnson, 6-foot-11 center who’s bounced around the NBA and the D-League for the past few years, in an afternoon game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the D-League All-Star team.
Johnson and Johnson didn’t crash into each other, in reality. In fact, they rarely spent any time on the court together, as the whole of humanity scarcely avoided having to deal with a ripple of paranormal incidents accompanied by newer, more dangerous and irreversible consequences. In other words, we may have dodged a bullet there.
- Seerat Sohi
No Film, No Problem
All teams are not created equal. That goes for philosophy, too.
You’d think that it would be tough to show up at summer league and immediately mesh with your teammates – and you’d be right to think that. It’s not easy to play a team game when each player is working toward such an individual goal. That becomes even harder when players are coming from all over the country – scratch that, from all over the world – to get what is essentially a glorified tryout. Practicing is difficult, but different teams handle that predicament in differing ways.
The Grizzlies, for example, only practiced a few times before playing their first game in Vegas. The Suns, though, had three straight intense days of two-a-days when the players had to become worker bees for 72 hours just to learn a new offensive and defensive scheme. Preparation progresses from stressful to irritating with no film of an opponent. Teams do look at video, but it’s video of themselves in practice. It’s just another way to break down what they’re already doing, another way to learn how to implement an entire playbook that some players have only a couple of days to memorize.
So when a player misses an assignment in summer league, consider that the mistake might be more fixable than it appears. It’s possible he knows he’s being caught out position or botching a play even as he commits the blunder.
- Fred Katz
1. It’s not exactly that I’ve never “liked” the Raptors. More that I’ve never quite considered them a “real” team, and I’m not even exactly sure what that means, except that it has something to do with A. expansion B. being named after Jurassic Park C. mediocrity D. Canada E. purple. (I feel similarly about the Colorado Rockies). But this Summer League, where things are a bit different, and where a team with Jonas Valanciunas, Terrence Ross, and Koby Carl qualifies as professional and intriguing. And Valanciunas is pretty damn entertaining – I have no idea how quickly he will figure out the rotation and spacing issues that hampered his rookie NBA season, but I know this: A. If he catches the ball on the baseline with no one between him and the basket he will dunk B. if there is someone between him and the basket but that person is wearing a jersey number in the 70s or 80s, he will dunk C. he is generous with high fives and butt pats D. dove into the front row for a loose ball, usual effort for a guy with a guaranteed contract. I’m a fan.
2. For a fringe invitee, summer league is a lot like Las Vegas itself: distraction masquerading as hope, a simulacrum of ecstatic life on the edge of a bleak, vast desert. Still, thats no reason to let the equipment manager give you number 73. It’s like being listed as “henchman” on an action movie call sheet – not likely to end well.
3. Were I a borderline hopeful, I would absolutely follow the example of Quincy Acy, and pair my shaved head with the bushiest, unruliest beard I could grow. I’m convinced this look makes anyone 20 percent more entertaining. It worked for Reggie Evans, Kimbo Slice, and Shel Silverstein.
4. Those were some of the worst hip hop “radio edits” I have ever heard at an arena. Are you a big fan of Kendrick Lamar’s “Don’t don’t kill my vibe?” How about when Jay-Z brags about balling so hard that “mua muas wanna fine me?”
5. Is it weird that seeing Floyd “money may” Mayweather at Summer League changed the way I think of him? Summer league is a humble affair to begin with, and the flashy boxer took in maybe it’s humblest tilt – the Timberwolves and the D-League All Stars in a nearly empty arena. Dude most love ball (so hard mua mas want to fine him).
- Jordan Heimer