The NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League “regular season” comes to a close on Tuesday with a six-game slate. The playoff bracket will begin on Wednesday, but before we get to that we’re looking at the best plays in Sin City, most of which are favorites on 888sport.
Point guard Derrick White is making himself some serious coin this summer. After leading the Utah Summer League with 23.0 points per game he dropped 19 points in the Las Vegas opener for the Spurs. First round pick Lonnie Walker continues to look comfortable as a combo guard and Jaron Blossomgame is averaging a near double-double with 15.0 points on 67% shooting and 9.5 rebounds.
But Portland has won both of its games thanks to a dominant frontcourt with NBA experience that includes Jake Layman (18.5 points, 5.0 rebounds), Zach Collins (7.0 rebounds, 4.0 blocks) and Caleb Swanigan (8.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists). Rookies Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent are also playing well together in the backcourt, giving Portland some confidence heading into an affair against a Spurs team that’s already played five games.
Until the Blazers show any signs of slowing down we’ll ride with this balanced attack that also includes point guard Wade Baldwin, who has 15 assists and is shooting 60% in two games.
Grayson Allen was rested on Sunday but should be ready to go tonight against a Heat team that’s been impressive throughout the summer. He’ll join that frontcourt we’ve discussed a few times this past week, as Georges Niang (18.0 points, 56% shooting) and Tony Bradley (16.0 points, 87% shooting) have really been good for the 1-1 Jazz. Adding Allen to the mix will only improve their efficiency, so it could be a big offensive night for Utah.
Miami will have to try and stop Utah without the services of Derrick Jones Jr., the Heat’s leading scorer who rolled his ankle over the weekend. Bam Adebayo is back and he’ll be the best player in the game but that might not be enough to top a Jazz team that should be at full-strength.
Wendell Carter Jr. was dubbed a high-floor, low-ceiling prospect but he’s done nothing but impress in two Las Vegas games. He has blocked nine shots, grabbed 16 boards and made 47 percent from the field. He and Chandler Hutchison (10.0 points, 6.5 rebounds) form a 1-2 punch and Antonio Blakeney is capable of going off at a moment’s notice. They didn’t look great in a loss to the Lakers, but their opponent won’t pack as big a punch as the Lake Show did.
Atlanta is now 0-5 (three losses in Utah, two in Las Vegas) and stud sophomore John Collins is probably done for the summer after showing he’s clearly above the competition. That allows more room for Trae Young to work, but also means his favorite pick and roll partner is gone. The Hawks might really struggle to score, especially if Young can’t find his shot. It might be a low-scoring affair, and that would benefit a Bulls team that has looked solid defensively in two games.
Marvin Bagley resting a sore hip allowed Justin Jackson and Harry Giles some extended run, and both players made the most of it in a loss to the Clippers. Frank Mason has also seen an uptick in run with De’Aaron Fox on the sideline, but the Kings also haven’t won since the opening night of the Summer League on July 2nd (they’re 0-4 since).
They’ll face a Grizzlies team that, as we’ve written before, has NBA talent and is playing like it. They got drubbed by the Magic on Sunday but are 3-2 this summer and look like they’ll continue playing most of their young guns. Make sure to check later in the day to see if rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. is playing. If he is, he should feast on the Kings interior. Guards Kobi Simmons and Wayne Selden also shouldn’t see much resistance, so it should be a big offensive output from a Grizzlies team that mustered just 56 against the Magic. They’ll bounce back.
Kevin Knox might be your MVP of the Las Vegas Summer League thus far. He’s averaged 20.5 points and 6.5 rebounds and looks every bit the part that a No. 9 overall pick should. Second round pick Mitchell Robinson has tallied 21 points and 19 rebounds in two games, and last year’s top pick Frank Ntilikina has clearly made improvements, averaging 11.0 points and 5.5 assists.
The Lakers have already played five times because of the California Classic before Las Vegas, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see some of the Lakers’ young core rested. That could be Josh Hart, who has averaged 21.5 points in two Las Vegas games. Los Angeles is deep but it’s tough to look past how good the Knicks have been in this short stretch. We think they’ll keep it close until the end, and Ntilikina and Knox should finish strong for New York.
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