Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas’

Las Vegas Summer League: Day 5 Recap

By Drew Packham,

LAS VEGAS — Nolan Smith’s scary injury put a damper on a busy and exciting Day 5 on Tuesday. Portland’s second-year point guard had 27 points before being carried off on a stretcher with 42 seconds left in the Blazers’ 99-88 loss to the Rockets. Smith was fouled hard on a breakaway and remained down on the floor for several minutes before being taken off the court. Smith reportedly suffered a concussion, and the injury overshadowed Smith’s second straight solid performance, in which he was 10-for-16 from the floor with five rebounds and five assists.

Non-rookie of the day: Josh Selby of the Grizzlies lit up the scoreboard with 35 points on a 12-for-21 shooting night. Even more impressive were the seven steals Selby racked up. Selby had 20 points in Memphis’ Summer League opener and is making a strong case to take the minutes left by departing free agent O.J. Mayo. Other standouts: Kawhi Leonard had 27 points and eight rebounds, looking like a man among boys in the Spurs’ 92-81 win over the Lakers; Markieff Morris had 24 points and 17 rebounds in the Suns’ 89-74 loss to the Cavs; and Byron Mullens capped off the night by scoring 33 on 13-for-24 shooting (3-for-5 on 3s).

Rookie of the day: Several rookies shined Tuesday, including Portland’s Damian Lillard (27 points including 5-for-10 on 3-pointers) and Jeremy Lamb (23 points), but it was another Houston rookie who gets the nod. Terrence Jones, whom the Rockets took 18th from Kentucky, had 24 points and 12 rebounds while hitting 11 of 20 shots. Jones also matched up well with Portland’s rookie big man Meyers Leonard, doing a good job keeping him in check.

Coming up: Four games will be televised Wednesday on NBA TV: Bucks-Wizards at 4 p.m. ET, Kings-Raptors at 6:30, Hornets-Suns at 8:30, Warriors-Heat at 10:30. One game will be shown on delay: Hawks-Mavericks at 4 a.m. ET.

The Manimal Comes Alive in Las Vegas

By Drew Packham,

LAS VEGAS — Just because it’s Summer League, don’t think for a second The Manimal is taking it easy.

Kenneth Faried, who became a vital piece to the Nuggets in his rookie season, had 16 points and 15 rebounds to lead Denver to an 85-81 win over the Knicks on Tuesday afternoon.

“It doesn’t matter (that it’s Summer League),” Faried said. “It’s going to show guys that even the best player on the team can go out and still get down and dirty.”

And Faried definitely got down and dirty. Faried had five blocks and two steals in his 35 minutes of action, diving for loose balls, slapping the floor after a tumble and keeping balls alive with his hard work on the boards.


Rockets Rookies Off To Hot Start

By Drew Packham,

LAS VEGAS — If it’s not one Rockets rookie, it’s another.

Houston has a plethora of first-year players trying to break trough in Las Vegas.

So far, they’re all making their cases well.

Three Rockets are among the top 13 rookies in scoring through four days of action, which must make management happy as they try to take the franchise into a new era which potentially includes the addition of Dwight Howard. With the young players excelling, the pieces must look more and more enticing to Orlando, if Houston does decide to go that route.

  • No. 12 pick Jeremy Lamb is proving to be an even better scorer and slasher than advertised — and holds a top spot in the most recent Rookie Ladder — with a 20.3 point averaged on 51 percent shooting.
  • No. 18 pick Terrence Jones out of Kentucky has been a beast, averaging 16.7 points and 6.7 rebounds.
  • Houston’s Draft night pickup from 2011, Donatas Motiejunas, is proving to be quite the asset as well. Motiejunas has been up and down in the three games, but is averaging 15 points and 6.3 rebounds.
  • No. 16 pick Royce White, known for his versatility, nearly notched a triple-double in Monday’s victory over the Kings. White scored 11 points to go with 10 rebounds and seven assists in his best game of the summer.

White says it’s a quick learning process as he tries to adjust to the new level.

“It’s a different pace, a different length,” White said. “But it’s still based on the same principles, the same fundamentals. The coaches are just telling us to play hard and have fun. Sometimes I get too caught up with wanting to do well and the team doing well and we just need to have fun.”

When they’re playing like this, there’s plenty of fun to go around.

Las Vegas Summer League: Day 2 Recap

By Drew Packham,

Vegas, Baby: Fans in Las Vegas apparently missed their Summer League action.

Saturday’s action at Cox Pavilion sold out midway through the day, with officials cutting off ticket sales for the day.

“This is the strongest start we’ve ever had,” said Gail Hunter, the NBA’s Sr. Vice President of Events. “Usually it builds, but we started really well.”

Hunter says the lack of a Summer League last year (due to the lockout) could be a reason for the increased excitement.

“There’s nothing like the intimate feel,” Hunter said. “The fact fans can see players in the stands and get so close to the game is so unique.”

Fans shouldn’t have a problem Sunday, with seven games throughout the day going simultaneously in both Thomas & Mack and Cox Pavilion. The arenas are connected and fans can alternate freely between the two venues.

Non-rookie of the day: Golden State’s Charles Jenkins was impressive, racking up 24 points on 9-for-12 shooting and had three steals in the Warriors’ 95-74 win over the Nuggets. “I love Charles’ game,” said teammate Klay Thompson, who had 17 points himself. “He’s one of the best mid-range shooters I’ve seen, and that’s no fabrication. He’s automatic and he’s developing into a great point guard. He’s gonna be a great player in this league for a long time.”


Las Vegas Summer League: Day 1 Recap

By Drew Packham,

The first day of Summer League action in Las Vegas closed out a marathon day of hoops (Just ask Lang Whitaker, who was a trooper  and blogged the whole thing for We got our first look at several lottery picks, including Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who had 18 points, eight rebounds and four steals to help the Bobcats blow out the Kings 121-87 in the nightcap. Kidd-Gilchrist and Kemba Walker was an animated backcourt for the Bobcats, bringing a lot of energy, laughing and clapping throughout the game. (This is what winning feels like, Kemba.)

Rookie of the day: Donatas Motiejunas, Rockets. The Rockets’ 2011 draft night acquisition scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds in his first action with the team. Motiejunas was aggressive and showed off his shooting touch, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers.

Non-rookie of the day: Klay Thompson, who came on in the second half of the season, scored 24 points to lead Golden State’s 90-50  dismantling of the Lakers. The second-year guard out of Washington State was 6-for-8 on 3-pointers and showed why the Warriors were willing to deal Monta Ellis to the Bucks last season.


Hang Time Podcast (Episode 49)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — There are only a few places on the planet you can go to talk candidly about March Madness, Jimmer Fredette, Derrick Rose, wild Las Vegas weekends, Dirk Nowitzki, Blake Griffin and John Wall, the NBA playoffs and much more without any interruption.

There is only one place you can carry on about all those topics, and more, free of charge. And that’s right here at the hideout with the Hang Time Podcast crew.

That’s why you need to dive into Episode 49 of the Hang Time Podcast to listen to what this week’s guests, two of’s finest, had to say about all of those subjects.

Our esteemed colleague Steve Aschburner, author of the weekly KIA Race To the MVP column, joined us to offer up his wisdom. And’s rookie guru and BYU alum Drew Packham — you already know about his work on the T-Mobile Rookie Ladder — shared his insights on the Rookie of the Year race and Jimmer-mania.


As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Sekou Smith of, as well as our super producer Micah Hart of’s All Ball Blog.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here.

Jennings liking Sanders’ game

Posted by Drew Packham

LAS VEGAS — Before the Bucks drafted Larry Sanders with the 15th pick, Brandon Jennings was clueless about his new teammate.

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“I knew nothing,” Jennings said. “When they said they were gonna pick him I didn’t know who he was at all. But when they said he could run the floor and block shots, it was exactly what we need.”

Jennings was in Las Vegas to watch his new teammates, hoping to get some run in with Sanders, the future recipient of his passes.

“The coaches weren’t having it,” Jennings said with a laugh. “I’m really excited to get to play with him, though.”

And why shouldn’t he be after watching Sanders in Las Vegas?

Sanders, a long, athletic, 6-foot-11 big man ouf of VCU who can play either the 4 or 5, averaged 14.0 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.2 blocks in the Bucks’ five games.

“I give myself a C+,” Sanders said. “My defense was where I think I did the best, just blocking shots, going hard. I was just tring to keep up the intensity. I had a lot of fun out here in Vegas.”