Four days into Las Vegas Summer League, we finally get our first day that’s comfortably past 100 degrees – or should I say uncomfortably past 100 degrees? Regardless of the heat, the Clippers had a cool 12-point loss to the Lakers in a game in which they cut their turnovers down from yesterday’s total of 24, but one in which they shot only 36 percent from the field. Luckily for the Clippers, though, none of that matters. Now, onto Last Call:
Los Angeles Lakers
Recap | Box score
Los Angeles Clippers
Tweet(s) of the Game
Man, the Knicks “Hangover 4” jokes are just getting better and better!
— Seth Rosenthal (@seth_rosenthal) July 15, 2013
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The Lost Art of Celebration
Kent Bazemore is the last of a dying breed. In a league that’s increasingly concerned with optimal spacing and efficiency on the offensive end, the adage has become that if you’re a wing player who isn’t a good shooter, you better be the uppermost echelon of ability in some other category.
For all of his fatal flaws, Baze manages to provide a few intangibles that the Clippers lack now that Eric Bledsoe has been traded.
First of all, he’s an energy guy. He hounds his opponent on defense, he slashes hard to the rim and he runs the floor. Of course, Bazemore isn’t the only wing at summer league that can do these things, but the manner in which he goes about the game is what sets his apart. In other words, he’s infectious.
– Seerat Sohi
Summer League Playing Time
When the Lakers sent second-year center Robert Sacre out onto the floor to play 22 minutes against the Clippers’ summer league roster Monday night, I got to thinking, “How much could a guy like Sacre really improve in summer league?” Realistically, it’s five games. Is a guy with five years of college experience and a year of NBA experience really going to improve notably from five games against lesser competition?
If Sacre is getting 22 minutes in summer league, that’s 22 minutes that aren’t going to someone else. They could go to someone trying to prove himself, someone trying to make a roster. This isn’t a knock on the Lakers by any means. It’s something that’s pertinent to every team, which means that there has to be some merit to the logic. But I’m still left wondering what the tangible reason is for having a player like Sacre take up a chunk of minutes for five games in July.
– Fred Katz
On the Home Front
So we’ve been talking about Reggie Bullock, the Maalik Wayns/Jerome Randle point guard battle, and all the other trappings of summer league, but Baxter Holmes, of the Boston Globe, mentioned this today:
League sources say Doc Rivers & the Clippers were interested in hiring Ron Adams.
— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) July 16, 2013
Ron Adams was the lead assistant for Tom Thibodeau before, in a curious event, he was let go without the consultation of Thibs. By this point, everyone is aware that Thibs was the architect of Boston’s vaunted defense, the one that Doc has maintained after Thibs’ departure for the Windy City and the same defense that Lue has sustained in recent years.
And even though Adams ultimately returned to the Celtics instead of joining Rivers’ staff in Los Angeles, knowing that the Clippers continue to explore ways to improve not just the roster, but the staff and organization is just another example of sound planning and decision making that the team has recently strung together. And smart individuals joining or considering the Clippers ultimately yields a smart Clippers organization.
– Andrew Han
Don’t Take Everything At Face Value
Jonas Valanciunas came into the league as a raw big man, but slowly he’s gaining more polish. He turned the ball over on more than a fifth of his possessions in the post last season (per mySynergySports), and the Raptors are set on improving his ability down low. That process has started in Las Vegas. “We obviously want to get [Valanciunas] as many touches as we can, pump him the ball,” said Raptors’ summer coach Nick Nurse post-game. “He can improve his decision making, his basket making ability…the more reps he can get, the better he will become.”
Summer league is a large part of the development of young players; getting to play in the environment of a real game with no actual stakes. Coaches largely shape that development with what they emphasize in-game. That’s the beauty of summer league: the ability to not worry about the results and have players develop untried skills.
– Jacob Frankel
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