NBA Summer League

NBA Summer League Studs & Duds Day 3

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Each day in summer league, Basketball Insiders recaps the day’s action with our studs and duds. Also note that with the quantity of games at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, it is not possible to watch every one. Thus, some notable performances may be missing.


Doug McDermott

After a so-so first game statistically, McDermott had the top performance on the day with 31 points on a mere 17 shooting possessions, going 5-9 from deep.  He has already been fouled on three three-point attempts in two games, a testament to the type of tough threes he is capable of taking (and making) and the vigor with which he must be closed out on.

The Creighton product showed off “the entire repertoire.”  He hit spotup threes, deep shots off down screens, successfully posted up and even had a dunk in transition.  A key facet of McDermott’s game is his ability to shoot from up to four feet behind the arc with a quick release.*  That opens the spacing for his teammates even more than a standard three-point shooter.

*It should be noted that he made almost all of his threes right at the arc, and missed almost all of the ones further out, although that is likely an aberration.

Most encouraging for Bulls fans was his ability to guard one-on-one.  When isolated he forced his man into tough shots, even when switched onto smaller guards Erick Green and Gary Harris.  His main errors occurred off the ball, where he has been caught overhelping a lot in the first two games.

Dennis Schroder

The Hawks’ German point guard rebounded nicely from a poor performance in the first game, dropping 30 points on a mere 19 shooting possessions. Most encouraging was the fact that he was able to punish the D-League Select team for going under the pick and roll by draining his deliberate set shot behind the arc, where he made 3-4.

That said, this performance does not necessarily change that much of the evaluation about Schroder.  His 10 free throw attempts included some very dicey calls that he probably is not going to get in the NBA against quality big men.  He also still only really has one move finishing at the basket, which is a little flip shot off one foot before the defense arrives. He should really be studying film of Tony Parker, because he has similar physical tools but needs to get craftier.  Meanwhile, he also had eight turnovers against only four assists, which was disappointing considering the vision he flashed last year.

It was an unprecedented and encouraging scoring explosion for Schroder, but it should not obscure that he has a long way to go.

Elias Harris

The Gonzaga product is looking to get back to the league after a cup of coffee with the Lakers last year, and put some nice work on film to that end. He dropped 14 points on only eight shooting possessions, but even more importantly did a great job at power forward opposite Jabari Parker. Harris earned his team-high +22 in the Suns victory, and his 35 minutes played showed the confidence the coaching staff had in him with Alex Len sidelined with a broken hand.


Quincy Miller

Miller scored 24 points and did so very efficiently, but it was a “summer league All-Stars” performance that will not translate to real NBA games with the Nuggets. Almost all of his shots were contested jumpers and floaters. While they went in, it is not a recipe for continued success.  As a player who is not a primary scorer, Miller is not going to be allowed to take those shots for Denver.

Worse than that however was his defense. He started as the primary defender on McDermott and got torched, repeatedly losing the Bulls’ shooter on basic downscreen actions.  The Nuggets had to switch the much shorter Gary Harris onto McDermott because they needed someone who was actually going to compete to guard him.  Miller then proceeded to make more mental errors guarding Tony Snell, at one point just laying eight feet off him for no reason after he had already hit a few threes.

The most important aspect for Miller is improving his mental and floor games, and he did not show much progress in those areas on Sunday.

Jabari Parker

Parker was efficient in his first game, but struggled to get much going against Elias Harris.  The Bucks squad did not feature much spacing for him, but he could not create much separation on the way to a 4-15 night with a mere two free throw attempts.  He added six turnovers and was -18 in 29 minutes.

More worrisome for Parker is his shape.  He may never have the most cut body, but it’s quite possible to be in great cardio shape despite a higher body fat. Parker is not that, becoming noticeably winded after a few minutes. In one stretch, he was fed the ball four straight times down the floor and was exhausted afterward.

One of Parker’s best attributes is his ability to grab and go (and he did contribute ten defensive rebounds), but he can’t do that if he’s too tired to push the ball. It is somewhat odd that he is not in great shape since he has ostensibly been training since leaving Duke in the spring.

Andrew Wiggins

He had similar struggles to his top-two brethren Parker, shooting only 3-11 and showing little ability to get to the basket. Wiggins’ game is extremely predictable right now, as he drives to his right or shoots a step back to his left.

I will reiterate that I do not think Wiggins’ problem is aggressiveness, as he actually takes some pretty tough shots.  But he hasn’t really shown the knack for getting himself good shots yet with the ball in his hands.

However, Wiggins’ job alongside LeBron James and Kyrie Irving this year will be to hit open spotups, get out in transition, and most importantly defend on the perimeter. He should be able to accomplish most of that.