How awkward would it be if the D-League Select Team won the first ever Las Vegas Summer League tournament? With no franchise to boast about finally winning after an exhausting 11 days, the event would just end. And that would be it. Well, the Selects moved one step closer to that goal Sunday, disposing of the Clippers 81-77 after a 24-turnover showing from the Clips. Now, onto Last Call:
|D-League Select Team||81||Final
Recap | Box score
Los Angeles Clippers
Tweet(s) of the Game
More like Yawn Vesely, AMIRITE!?
— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) July 14, 2013
Check Your Messages
Players who have played in the NBA are generally better at basketball than ones who haven’t played in the NBA.
How’s that for an obvious lede?
That experience, though, really shows in summer league. That’s not to say rookies aren’t as good as players who have already played in the NBA. Cody Zeller’s or Ben McLemore’s presence here would make that statement patently false. But that all being said, it’s easy to tell which summer league players have experience playing NBA defense.
On day one, in the very first game of the 11-day basketball fest, Draymond Green started the trend. Even players like John Jenkins, who aren’t know for their defense, have the anticipatory skills that you might struggle to find in a kid right out of college. The pace is different. The speed is different. And for now, experience is often reigning over all other skills.
- Fred Katz
The Tool Belt
There exists an old adage in baseball of the five tool player, or at least I think it exists based on my understanding from the film adaptation of “Moneyball”. It’s a player that can catch, throw, has speed, hits and hits for power. If a player has all those skills, then he’s likely a special player (that’s what the scouts tell Billy Beane as played by Brad Pitt. I really don’t know much about baseball).
Basketball is a sport that requires more interrelated skills, though; it’s a game of flow and transition. But here’s the question: How many tools does a player need to go from Summer League participant to camp tryout? Ball handling, catch-and-shoot, rebounding, back-to-the-basket scoring, defending, decision making, screen-setting. There are probably more than a dozen skills we can name. Does it take two? Three? Does it matter if it’s all on one side of the court or maybe that would be even preferred?
The vast majority of the players at LVSL carry flaws in one way or another, obviously. But it’s like a jig-saw puzzle: first identify the pieces then see what fits together and determine out the picture it creates.
- Andrew Han