Day 5 of summer league has had its fair share of NBA player cameos. The Andres, Iguodala and Miller, each made an appearance. So did former Clippers Corey Maggette and Shaun Livingston. NBA attire was in full force. Just ask Carlos Boozer. The Clippers didn’t play, but the “playoffs” start tomorrow – that is, if you can call them the playoffs. We’ll most likely see a Clipper game then. Now, onto Last Call:
Tweet(s) of the Game
— Sean Highkin (@highkin) July 16, 2013
No one knows what time the Clippers’ next game will be considering Las Vegas Summer League’s new tournament starts Wednesday, but we can assume they will play Wednesday. Seeds 11 through 22 play on day 1 of the tournament and the Clippers currently sit with a 1-2 record.
Check Your Messages
Does Coming From a Small School Matter?
When Damian Lillard won rookie of the year last season, he unintentionally hiked the stock of small school, big numbers point guards for years to come. Two beneficiaries of Lillard’s remarkable run are C.J. McCollum and Ray McCallum, and they’ve followed in his footsteps, at least at summer league. They’ve averaged 21.3 and 17 points respectively in Las Vegas.
This begs the question: is coming from a small school or mid major conference actually a bad thing? I looked at data collected as part of my draft projection project to get an answer. I looked at 49 draftees between 2004 and 2008 under six foot five, their fourth season RAPMs (the best productivity measure in the public domain), and their college teams’ strength of schedules. It turns out college SOS has essentially zero explanatory power, and the little it has marks it as a negative indicator.
- Jacob Frankel
Door Wide Open
We’re halfway through our fifth day in the desert, and while the over-your-head-and-into-the-stands-passes coupled with genuinely terrible fast break sequences have been intriguing, only one clear theme has emerged: there is no theme. Every other July, basketball fanatics and analysts alike have gushed over a player that displayed a sense of potential and electricity that this year’s crop seems to lack. Last year, it was Damian Lillard. In 2010, it was John Wall.
Aside from Ben McLemore’s 22-point second half this afternoon, summer league has been a Magic-esque frenzy of bad shots, even worse defense and a surplus of plays that fall under the “ooooooh, so close” variety. Only without the added benefit of discovering the next Tobias Harris.
Of course, Tobias’ bloom didn’t begin until late-February and summer league is far from over. In fact, the tournament has yet to begin. Regardless, there’s still a sense of restlessness and anxiety among a crowd in Vegas that’s just begging for someone, anyone, to break the monotony.
- Seerat Sohi
One of the interesting byproducts of Summer League is the sheer accessibility of players, coaches, even front office executives. And by “accessibility” I don’t mean media availability for practices or games; I’m saying they’re everywhere. At Cox Pavilion? The section of seats directly overlooking the teams’ makeshift locker room are all taped off, scouts and GMs from around the league catching up with colleagues they haven’t seen in a while, maybe partaking in the occasional awkward dap. In the much larger Thomas & Mack Center? Well now players and coaches scattered throughout a couple of hundred fans; scouts and assistant coaches usually the lone folks perched up near the nosebleeds for a better vantage point (and probably to observe in peace).
You’ll see players that miss the team buses standing in line with summer league patrons in the taxi line, waiting in 11 PM 100-degree heat (and even certain GMs and owners of newly contending teams). Industry players will be lounging around casino floors into the wee hours of the mornings, with PR executives paying anxious attention to their newly drafted players. Even something as mundane as a trip to Whole Foods will routinely offer a glimpse of an champion coach’s eating habits, “Deluxe nigiri? Again?”
So the fans are watching the players, the players are gawking at the spectacle of Las Vegas (and the more comely visitors), and the eye in sky is watching all of us.
- Andrew Han
Every once in a while, a stathead or efficiency monger will call for a 2-for-1 at summer league, but it probably wouldn’t be wise for one to hold his breath waiting for a 2-for-1 in Vegas. First off, you almost never see 2-for-1s in college. That could have something to do with inexperience. It could also have something to do with a 35-second shot clock. A bunch of these players aren’t used to executing those 2-for-1 plays.
Mainly, though, we aren’t going to see 2-for-1s here because that defeats the purpose of summer league. If players get cut because of bad shots, they’re not going to be willing to go for a 2-for-1, a strategy that inherently involved taking a shot that appears superficially bad. This is a league where teams still call timeouts and try to run actual sets with 30 seconds remaining in a 20-point blowout. It’s about learning and proving basic execution. And the 2-for-1 isn’t really part of that.
- Fred Katz