For NBA basketball junkies like myself, the Summer League is an awesome 15 days of action. When the games are in Orlando from July 5-11 fans can only watch on NBA TV, but the “awesomeness” goes to a whole other level in Las Vegas when fans are able to watch up to 8 games a day for just $25.
This was my second straight summer coming out to Vegas and catching a little Summer League action. I was in the gym on Friday and had the opportunity to see the three former UK players who were still active. One of the neatest parts of attending NBA Summer League in Las Vegas is how close to the action you can get and how all of the coaches, scouts, front office guys, and even the players just walk the hallways right along with the fans. Having the ability to interact with some of them is a really neat opportunity that you really can’t get, especially for just $25, anywhere but Summer League.
Nerlens Noel: 2 games, 13 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2 bpg
Nerlens played in just a couple of Las Vegas Summer League games because the 76ers also were a part of the Orlando Summer League; they had him playing every other game for the most part. Overall, Nerlens showcased why he was a top pick last season despite having to sit out the entire year. He is so bouncy around the basket and simply has a knack for making things happen. I think he can give you 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks a game from day 1.
Archie Goodwin: 5 games, 12.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.2 spg
Archie showed off some serious aggression offensively this summer. He really attacked the basket and did a good job of getting to the foul line. One thing that always stands out to me when I see Archie in person is how big he is. He is a legit 6’5′ but seems taller because of his long arms. I think he has a chance to have a good season off the bench for the Suns.
In the game that I watched on Friday Julius struggled, but he put up good numbers in his few games with the Lakers out in Vegas. He is strong and athletic, even compared to veteran NBA players, and plays very, very hard. He will go through some growing pains and some of the issues that drove UK fans crazy sometimes (I am talking about you, spin move) will similarly annoy Lakers fans. However, at #7, I think Julius could be one of the best value picks in the 2014 draft.
DeAndre Liggins: 5 games, 7.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.2 spg
The Summer League is more important for DeAndre than any of the former ‘Cats outlined above. He is playing for more than just some extra minutes, he is playing to earn a roster spot and prove he belongs in the league. In my opinion, he did just that. DeAndre is a very good perimeter defender capable of containing some of the very best players in the league for stretches. Also, he plays so hard and can contribute in a variety of ways. I see him developing in to an important bench player on a championship contender in the coming years.