On Day 6 of NBA Summer League competition in Las Vegas, the field of 16 teams vying for the 2014 NBA Summer League Championship was cut in half. The Portland Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Utah Jazz, Miami HEAT, [New York Knicks or D-League All-Stars] and [Philadelphia 76ers or Chicago Bulls] were shown the door.
Along the way, as usual, there were studs and there were duds.
Here are those who caught our eye on Day 6.
Noah Vonleh (Charlotte Hornets): Fortunately for the rookie, his Hornets cruised to a 104-75 win over the Pelicans, but it was not due to him. In 17 minutes, Vonleh shot just 3-for-11 from the field en route to scoring just six points. Despite the limited minutes, he still managed to commit six fouls. Fortunately for Vonleh, he will have another opportunity to help his Hornets advance in the tournament
Trey Burke (Utah Jazz): Look at the bright side, at least summer league doesn’t count for much. After his 5-for-18 shooting performance in an 86-77 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, Burke is just 14-for-46 in all four of his summer league contests this season. He also managed to turn the ball over four times. All in all, we would say that this was a fairly consistent showing from Burke. Just not a good one.
Will Barton (Portland Trail Blazers): He may have scored 15 points, but a 23-point loss coupled with a 4-for-19 shooting performance (including just 1-for-7 from three-point land) makes Barton a prime candidate for our dubious distinction.
Steve Gray (Cleveland Cavaliers): We debated whether or not we should single out Andrew Wiggins for only taking five shots in 31 minutes in a loss to the Houston Rockets, but his free-throw line proficiency mitigates our concerns. We rather point to gray who shot just 3-for-11 from the field and found a way to continually chuck three-pointers, despite misfiring. He was 1-for-7 from distance.
MarShon Brooks (Sacramento Kings): At just 25 years old, Brooks has bounced around quite a bit in his young career after being drafted with the 25th pick of the 2011 draft. He has already played for four teams and has had two stints in the D-League. Playing for the Kings, he managed to score 19 points in just 18 minutes in a 100-86 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. He shot an efficient 6-for-10 from the field, and you know we love that.
Ben McLemore (Sacramento Kings): 22 points, six rebounds and four assists in a summer league game is a nice line, especially when it comes in just 31 minutes. McLemore showed flashes of brilliance in a victory over the Timberwolves, just like his aforementioned teammate, Brooks. With the departure of Isaiah Thomas, McLemore may be leaned upon to provide some minutes in the backcourt. His time may be coming.
Courtney Fells (New Orleans Pelicans): His Pelicans got drubbed by the Charlotte Hornets, but Fells has elevated his stock. In three consecutive games against the Lakers, Spurs and Hornets, Fells has shot a combined 11-20 from three-point range and has scored an average of 21 points. Performances like those are what NBA players are made of.
Will Cherry (Cleveland Cavaliers): We’ll take 21 points, four rebounds and three assists any day of the week, even in a loss. Cherry showed true point guard instants and sometimes looked to be the best player on the floor, despite being surrounded by Wiggins, Donatas Montiejunas and Isaiah Canaan, the latter of whom deserves accolades for his game-high 28 points in the Rockets’ triumph over Cherry’s Cavs.
Tim Hardaway, Jr. (New York Knicks): We’re not going to give Hardaway too much credit here, because we already knew he was good. But his summer league has been quite impressive. In the Knicks’ 80-73 win over the D-League Select team, Hardaway posted a game-high 25 points. He is averaging 21.8 points per game for one of only three undefeated summer league teams. So kudos to the young Knick.
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