I know we said Last Call from Las Vegas Summer League was over. Well, we lied. Almost the entire ClipperBlog staff has left Vegas, so we’re calling in the replacement players. Unfortunately, Shane Falco wasn’t available, but we were able to scour up some ClipperBlog mercenaries. Now, onto Last Call:
Tweet(s) of the Day
Sources say Bazemore high fives every teammate on the bench around 20 feet before he gets to the sideline.
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) July 22, 2013
The Archie Goodwin Non-Basket
The Suns’ Archie Goodwin had what was probably the best non-scoring play over the past 10 days in Vegas:
Check Your Messages
Summer League Blues
The big change they had at NBA Summer League was making it into a tournament-style. I don’t even know how they managed to do the seedings of all 22 teams since most of the squads would have identical records. But nevertheless, it was done to spice up the festivities here in Las Vegas.
I personally thought it was unnecessary. Teams take their best players off their teams for various reasons (especially for fear of injury) and we’re not going to get the best out of those squads. The Bobcats took their best guys (who are rotation players in the regular season like Cody Zeller, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) out in their quarterfinal game against the D-League Select team.
I wouldn’t complain if the Las Vegas Summer League just went back to their format of just playing a certain number of games without consequence. No one is going to remember the wins and losses of each SL team and I don’t think the winner of the SL Championship will be remembered much, either. What we will remember, however, are standout performances from certain players. I will have memories of how great players like Jonas Valanciunas (Raptors), John Henson (Bucks), and Austin Rivers (Pelicans) performed on the court.
Where Do the Fans Come From?
Over the past few days, the Warriors have played their fair share of close games. Those games have become especially memorable not just because of the scores and not just because of Kent Bazemore’s crunch time performances, but also because of the actual game environment. The Warriors have been going crazy with every Draymond Green shot and with every Bazemore score. In fact, it almost seems like there are more Dubs fans in Vegas than there were Clippers and Lakers fans combined.
Warriors fans are great fans; there’s no doubt about that. But I’m still shocked there are so many of them here. San Francisco is a 10-hour drive away. The drive to Los Angeles is less than half of that. And yet, Warriors fans have invaded UNLV like a slicing Kent Bazemore going to a summer league rim. That fan base is just too charming.
- Fred Katz
It’s hard to stay upbeat for the final days of summer league. Home sounds so good right now. Affordable, options for food sound so good right now. A semi-reasonable sleep schedule sounds so good right now. I’m tired and homesick, but someone has kept me going.
John Shurna has been my favorite player to watch at summer league. By far. Every single thing about his game is silly and needless. He is a cartoon character. He’s a three-point specialist with a stranger shooting motion than Matt Bonner. He doesn’t look at the rim upon release, because at the moment he pushes the ball toward the basket, his head jerks back and his eyes point to the sky. When he’s tired, he pants with his tongue slightly out. When he makes a mistake, his tongue is sticking out entirely. Then there’s his running gait. I could watch him run for hours and not stop laughing.
His last game was in the loser’s bracket against the San Antonio Spurs; his Milwaukee Bucks lost. Even after all that losing, he still looked like the happiest person in summer league. He shot 46 percent from three over five games in Las Vegas. He deserves an NBA contract. I need him in the league. I need him in my life.
- Danny Chau, (@dannychau)
The Ultimate Warriors: Summer League Juggernaut
As I write this, the Golden State Warriors are up 46-34 at the half against the Charlotte Bobcats in the semifinals of the Las Vegas Summer League tournament. Led by Draymond Green and bench celebration expert turned Summer League beast Kent Bazemore, the Warriors have run through the bracket and appear on their way to the coveted (?) LVSL title. Bazemore is averaging 19.6 points per game through five games and Green, while struggling with his shot, has put up 12.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
Unlike other teams that have rested players, played players out of position, or tried out quirky offensive sets, the Warriors have treated the last two weeks in Vegas like an extension of the regular season. They play hard on defense, attack the rim, get out and run, and just generally dominate.
Summer League usually features two types of players, those trying to prove themselves and get an NBA contract and those established in the league but sent by their teams to show improvement in their games. Often times, this can lead players in either situation to try and “get theirs” in order to showcase their individual talents. The success of the Warriors has come in their ability to play as a team, which is most evident on the defensive end.
In a place where individual success is often predicated on hard work, the Warriors have been able to succeed as a unit. Leading them to be the juggernaut of Las Vegas Summer League.
- Robby Kalland, (@RKalland) from Peachtree Hoops