Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
What impressed you at Summer League? Anything not impress you?
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Golden State’s Draymond Green was a man among … well, younger and less formidable men in Las Vegas. At 23, he had a clear experience edge over many, what with four years of college (Michigan State) and an NBA rookie season on his resume. Frankly, I’m stunned his first-year numbers with the Warriors (2.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 13.4 mpg) were so meager. At 6-foot-7, 230, Green gets it that the NBA post game is as much about width as length, yet he is extending his shooting range out to the arc. Looked to me like he’s ready for an 18-point, nine-rebound season. As for turnoffs, I’ll say the number of familiar faces who were forced to treat the Summer League like job fair. All the roster, coaching and front-office changes that make for such an entertaining offseason do impact real lives, and there were assistant coaches and scouts who have been part of the NBA scene for years scrambling just to find employment in a still-tough economy.
Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: The D-League Select team was quite impressive. Here’s a bunch of guys that came in with an attitude and the goal to prove that they can ball, too, particularly to the Draft picks and second-year NBA roster guys. The D-Leaguers made it to the quarterfinals of the inaugural Summer League tourney and they played with heart and, in turn, really motivated the other teams going against them. The crowds in Vegas were quite good throughout, with the highlight being a tight battle between the Lakers and Warriors that featured both fan bases coming strong and making it feel like a good old-fashioned rivalry game.
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: Impressed me? You’re setting the bar pretty high for Summer League. Several rookies had good showings, which is always nice as a momentum-builder heading toward camp, but rarely is an actual sign of what will happen when the games count. There was no “turnoff,” but the disappointment was the number of top rookies who missed because of injury or national-team commitments.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: I liked what I saw from a couple of young Bobcats: Jeffery Taylor and Cody Zeller. Taylor showed a more complete offensive game and produced (20.3 ppg on 47 percent shooting) like a returning sophomore should, while Zeller looked to be an efficient big man with range. Along with the addition of Al Jefferson, those two could possibly help the Bobcats climb out of the bottom eight in offensive efficiency, where they’ve resided for all nine years of their existence. Defense, of course, is a different story. And I can’t say that anything really turned me off, because I didn’t really have high expectations for too many players out there.
Sekou Smith, NBA.com: Cody Zeller impressed me. I was stunned during the time leading up to the Draft when people were sliding Zeller down their boards in favor of big men with much weaker credentials. But the Bobcats made a quality choice with the fourth pick. Zeller is going to be an impact player in Charlotte this season and a nice complement to Al Jefferson in that frontcourt rotation. With Jeff Taylor showing well in Vegas, too, the Bobcats come out of the summer with some positives to build on heading into training camp. The biggest turnoff for me was the apparent lack of interest of some of the second- and third-year players who had to come Vegas for summer school. Not all of them attacked the process the way Taylor and Toronto’s Jonas Valanciunas did. That’s not a knock on Summer League but a knock on those players who didn’t use the time wisely.
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: I know that Summer League is a time for teams to try new things and develop players you might not see a lot of of during the season, but I love how the Warriors actually try to win every game. They went 7-0 in Vegas and have won their last 15 in a row, dating to 2010. Does this matter at all as it relates to the regular season? Not really, although to me it does set a standard and a tone that the franchise expects excellence, at all times. Hand down, man down, guys.