NBA Summer League 2014: Team-by-Team Guide to Vegas Squads
Between the incoming rookies, returning sophomores and some veterans, we could be looking at one of the most competitive Las Vegas Summer Leagues in recent memory.
We've even got a few teams from the Orlando league making their way to Vegas for some extra action (Rockets, Heat, 76ers). The Vegas Summer League runs from July 11 through July 21 and features 24 teams, including the NBA D-League Select roster.
Summer league is an opportunity for the rookies to get acquainted with their new teammates and the size of the NBA game. But it's also a chance for former castoffs or unsigned free agents to make an impression and turn some heads.
I broke down each squad and its key prospects, from guys expected to play major regular-season roles to others just looking to make the roster.
Spotlight Prospect: Adreian Payne, PF, Rookie
With the No. 15 pick in the 2014 NBA draft, the Atlanta Hawks selected Adreian Payne, who could immediately replace Mike Scott if he's lost in restricted free agency. Despite needing a 2-guard or wing, the Hawks passed on some pretty good ones for Payne, indicating they must have viewed him as the top prospect on the board regardless of position.
At 23 years old, Payne offers an NBA-ready blend of interior toughness and sweet outside shooting. There isn't much upside with Payne—what you see now is likely what you'll get later. But stretch 4s hold significant value in the pros. Just ask Channing Frye, who's set to sign a $32 million deal with the Orlando Magic, per Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
Prospects to Watch
Dennis Schroeder, PG, Second Year
Schroeder didn't show much as a rookie, so summer league will be a good opportunity for him to try and make an impression. A competent pick-and-roll facilitator with true point guard vision, Schroeder is quick, long and shifty. This year, he'll have to show he can deal with size and contact a little better, while improving that jumper is a must.
Walter Tavares, C, Rookie
Tavares, 7'3", was one of the more interesting prospects in June's draft, given his unique physical tools, production overseas and minimal basketball experience. He picked up a ball for the first time five years ago. Tavares is obviously raw, but between his size, length and foot speed, there's potential here worth developing.
John Jenkins, SG, Third Year
Jenkins should be ready to roll after back surgery forced him to miss the majority of the 2013-14 season. He'll be making over a million dollars this year, so if he's healthy enough to knock down shots, expect the Hawks to use him.
Spotlight Prospect: Noah Vonleh, PF, Rookie
The Charlotte Hornets might have gotten away with robbery in June's draft. Though viewed more as a long-term project, given he's just 18 years old, Noah Vonleh has tremendous offensive potential as an inside-outside power forward. Physically, he's a monster at 6'10", 240 pounds with a 7'4" wingspan and oven mitts for hands.
This is a guy Charlotte should eventually be able to feature in the post as a back-to-the-basket scorer. But he's also a capable shooter, having hit 16-of-33 three-pointers in his one-and-done year at Indiana. Summer league will give us a chance to see how Vonleh measures on the NBA-ready scale.
Prospects to Watch
P.J. Hairston, SG, Rookie
After getting the boot from the North Carolina basketball program for some off-the-court legal issues, Hairston found himself in hot water again recently, with news that he punched a high school opponent during a pickup game.
It's too bad, because Hairston is a can't-miss talent from a basketball perspective—at 6'6", he's athletic, lethal from outside and dangerous attacking the rim. And he averaged nearly 22 points a game in the D-League this past season. The Hornets could certainly use Hairston's scoring touch off the bench, and they'll get it—as long as he keeps his head on straight.
Cody Zeller, PF, Second Year
It took him a while to get going, but Zeller came on strong late last season, having averaged 8.0 points and 4.4 boards on 51.3 percent shooting in the crucial month of April. He's a skilled 7-footer who runs well and jumps high, and he's got nice touch around the basket.
But he really struggled playing through contact at both ends of the floor. Look for a stronger Zeller in 2015 and hopefully a more accurate shooter, as he's just not overly comfortable playing in traffic around the rim.
Jordan Bachynski, C, Rookie
Standing 7'2", Bachynski led the country in shot blocking as a senior at Arizona State last season (4.0 per game). But without much of an offensive game, he went undrafted this past June. If he's able to make an impact this summer, I wouldn't be shocked if the Hornets gave him a chance, given his size and defensive tools.
Spotlight Prospect: Doug McDermott, SF, Rookie
Clearly, the Chicago Bulls thought highly of Doug McDermott in June's draft, given they traded two first-round picks to move up and get him at No. 11 overall. There's no secret as to what he's bringing to Chicago—McDermott led the country in scoring at Creighton this past season (26.7 points per game).
He's an elite shooter with a ridiculously high skill level in terms of making shots in the half court. But his lack of quickness and athleticism have had many questioning just how well his game will translate to the NBA level. I've got a feeling it's going to translate just fine to summer league ball.
Prospects to Watch
Tony Snell, SG/SF, Second Year
Snell had some nice moments last year as a rookie playing with veterans in Chicago. He's exceptionally long and athletic for a wing, and he's a capable shooter from outside. But this year, "capable" won't be good enough.
Snell really needs that jumper to start working with more consistency, especially if he's looking for a full-time role. He's got nice defensive tools, and he's a weapon in the drive-and-slash game. Shooting accuracy should ultimately sit atop his priority list moving forward.
Cameron Bairstow, PF/C, Rookie
The Bulls picked up Bairstow in the second round after he blew up for 20.4 points a game as a senior at New Mexico. At 6'9", he lacks athleticism and quickness, but he's got a nice touch around the basket and a deceivingly effective offensive game.
Kendall Williams, PG, Rookie
Williams went undrafted despite improving his shooting touch and offensive efficiency. At 6'4", he's got great size and athleticism for a ball-handler—he just has to prove he's capable of running an offense and facilitating for teammates.
Spotlight Prospect: Andrew Wiggins, SG/SF, Rookie
After potentially screwing up the No. 1 pick in 2013, the Cleveland Cavaliers should be a little more optimistic about their top 2014 pick. Andrew Wiggins will give them an immediate upgrade on the wing and a much-needed injection of high-level athleticism.
Though his offensive game came around toward the end of the season—he finished with a 17.1 point-per-game scoring average and 43 three-pointers made—we could be talking about one of the top defenders in the league within the next few seasons.
His two-way potential and ceiling reach All-Star heights. This summer, just keep an eye on how Wiggins handles his role as a go-to option.
Prospects to Watch
Anthony Bennett, SF/PF, Second Year
Bennett missed summer league last season following shoulder surgery, which might have played a role in what was a disastrous rookie year. Las Vegas should be an ideal opportunity for him to build up his confidence, something he never seemed to have last season.
Joe Harris, SG/SF, Rookie
Harris, a sharpshooter from Virginia who the Cavaliers took in this year's second round, hit at least 38 percent of his three-point attempts in each of his four seasons in the ACC. And though not overly athletic, he's got terrific size for the position (6'6", 225 lbs) along with a high basketball IQ. Harris projects more as a shooting specialist at the next level, something the Cavaliers could use in their rotation.
Matthew Dellavedova, PG, Second Year
After going undrafted in 2013, Dellavedova made his way into Cleveland's rotation last season, thanks to his valuable passing instincts and high basketball IQ. What you see is what you get with Dellavedova, but at this point the Cavaliers could use him for depth after dealing Jarrett Jack.
Spotlight Prospect: Ricky Ledo, SG, Sophomore
Ledo, a 2013 second-round pick of Dallas, averaged 13.3 points a game in the D-League this past season after he sat out his entire freshman year at Providence (ineligible). Ledo is an NBA-caliber athlete who can generate his own offense one-on-one.
He's got a sharp perimeter game with the ability to create shots. But to crack Dallas' rotation, he's going to have to learn how to play off the ball. There's plenty of talent here—it just might take Ledo a few years before he figures which routes to take for higher-percentage shots.
Prospects to Watch
C.J. Fair, SF, Rookie
Fair had four productive years at Syracuse, and though he does a lot of things well offensively, he doesn't do anything great. It ended up keeping him from being drafted, despite his offensive polish and size for the small forward position (6'8", 215 lbs). Fair can stop-and-pop and score on the move, but he's going to have to be able to stretch the floor as a shooter to make the pros, something he didn't do efficiently in 2013-14.
Javon McCrea, PF, Rookie
McCrae averaged at least 18 points for the second straight year at Buffalo, but this season he raised his rebounding average by two boards a game (9.9) in just 2.3 more minutes. McCrae is undersized at 6'7", but he's an active body and a crafty finisher with both hands. After going undrafted in June, McCrae could be a sneaky pickup for Dallas.
Gal Mekel, PG, Second Year
Mekel averaged two assists and a turnover in 31 games played last year for Dallas. He doesn't offer much upside, but he's a capable ball-handler and passer. Just don't expect much offensive firepower.
Spotlight Prospect: Gary Harris, SG, Rookie
Many had Gary Harris projected as a lottery pick this past June, but he ended up slipping to No. 19, where the Denver Nuggets might have gotten a steal. A natural off-guard, Harris can stretch the floor from downtown or generate offense in the mid-range. He's not a guy you feature in the offense, but his ability to play without the ball should allow him to thrive in a complementary scoring role.
Prospects to Watch
Erick Green, SG, Rookie (drafted 2013)
Green led the country in scoring in 2013 while playing for Virginia Tech (27.5 points per game), but after getting drafted in the second round, he spent last year playing abroad. Now, he's with Denver's summer league team, and he'll be looking to make an impression as a microwave scorer. Green is undersized (6'3", 185 lbs) and lacks that above-the-rim lift, but his scoring prowess could be enough to turn some heads in Vegas.
Quincy Miller, SF, Third Year
This should be a big season for Quincy Miller, who's been stuck behind a crowd of wings in Denver. He's long, athletic and skilled, but he'll have to find a way to create higher-percentage shots for himself. In 15.2 minutes a game last year, he shot just 36.7 percent from the floor.
Jerrelle Benimon, PF, Rookie
Benimon had a fairly quiet Orlando Summer League with the Miami Heat, but he should have a better chance for minutes in Vegas with Denver. He finished third in the country in rebounding this past season for Towson (11.2 per game), and he's got some decent skills in the post.
Golden State Warriors
Spotlight Prospect: Nemanja Nedovic, PG/SG, Second Year
Nedovic, the Phoenix Suns' 2013 first-round pick, only played in 24 games as a rookie with Golden State. Still, every now and then you'd see a flash of his potential. Nedovic has good size for a ball-handler (6'3", 192 lbs), along with some explosive athleticism and quickness attacking the rim. He should have a good opportunity in Las Vegas to show us a little more of what he's capable of doing with the ball in his hands.
Prospects to Watch
Travis Bader, SG, Rookie
Bader should be warm after playing five games with the Philadelphia 76ers in the Orlando league, where he hit eight three-pointers during the week. As a senior at Oakland, he finished second in the country in three-pointers made (147). He went undrafted, but that lethal outside stroke should make him a prospect to watch in Vegas.
James Michael McAdoo, PF, Rookie
Two years ago, we were referring to McAdoo as a potential top-10 pick. Now, he's an undrafted free agent hoping to make an impression in summer league and ultimately stick with an NBA team. McAdoo is a terrific athlete with 6'9" size, but he's had trouble with decision-making, shooting and playing through contact. There's still talent bottled up in McAdoo—he just has to find a way to channel it.
Orlando Johnson, SG, Third Year
The Indiana Pacers waived Orlando Johnson, who had a strong summer league in 2013. He has good 6'5" size to match a fairly polished scoring repertoire in that mid-to-long range.
Spotlight Prospect: Nick Johnson, PG/SG, Rookie
The Houston Rockets scooped up Nick Johnson in this year's second round, and he made them look good in Orlando Summer League, where he averaged 16 points, 5.3 boards and 3.8 assists. Johnson is one of the best athletes you'll come across, but it's that 6'3" size that really limits his NBA upside. He doesn't exactly have a position—he's too small for a 2-guard, and he lacks the instincts of a point guard.
But Johnson's game was built for that spark-plug role off the bench. He's a guy who can come in, provide some energy, knock down shots and make the big play.
He shot poorly in Orlando, which he won't be able to get away with during the regular season, so keep an eye on Johnson's jumper as he carries it over to Vegas.
Prospects to Watch
Jahii Carson, PG, Rookie
Lightning-quick and shifty off the dribble, Jahii Carson looked good in Orlando for a guard who just went undrafted. He averaged 7.8 points in 22.5 minutes per game, and he was even connecting from outside. He'll have to shake that shoot-first mentality and ultimately use his quickness to set up teammates first as opposed to himself, but the size disadvantage he's looking at (he's just 5'11") didn't seem to hold Carson back in Orlando.
Jabari Brown, SG, Rookie
Despite shooting the ball poorly in Orlando, Brown managed to score 25 points over his last two games. He got to the line 13 times, which reflects the strides he's made as an off-the-dribble threat. He'll need a consistent jumper to ultimately make up for his lack of size, but he's got a nice offensive game worth watching in Vegas.
Isaiah Canaan, PG, Second Year
Canaan didn't play in Orlando, but he'll be good to go in Vegas. He's a terrific shooter and shifty ball-handler with a strong frame and build for a point guard. If Jeremy Lin gets traded, Canaan's role in Houston could increase.
Los Angeles Clippers
Spotlight Player: Delonte West, PG/SG
Yep, that Delonte West. Doc Rivers, who coached West in Boston, appears to be giving the troubled but talented veteran another shot. West played in China last season, but when healthy and focused, he's got a skill set that holds value in the pros.
With 2013 first-round pick Reggie Bullock and 2014 first-round pick C.J. Wilcox both out with injuries, West should get a nice opportunity in Vegas to prove he's still got something to offer.
Prospects to Watch
Lorenzo Brown, PG, Second Year
Brown spent most of his time in the D-League last year, and he'll need a strong showing in Vegas to generate some buzz for himself. At 6'5", he's a crafty ball-handler and playmaker, but his jumper isn't a threat, and his decision-making can be wild. Still, given his size, athleticism, ball-handling and vision, there's some upside here at the point guard position.
DeAndre Liggins, SG, Fourth Year
Liggins has spent time with the Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat, though he hasn't been able to stick with any of them. Liggins is a solid defender with 6'6" size and athleticism. Unfortunately, he's just not much of an offensive threat at a position that requires skill. But a strong showing in Vegas could make him worth looking at as a specialist off the bench.
Cameron Clark, SF, Rookie
Clark went undrafted out of Oklahoma, but he's got the size for the wing position and the skill set to score. He reminds me a bit of Wilson Chandler. Clark could be a summer league sleeper if he's able to find any rhythm.
Los Angeles Lakers
Spotlight Prospect: Julius Randle, PF, Rookie
It's been a while since the Lakers had a showtime prospect like Julius Randle on their summer league squad. The No. 7 pick in the 2014 draft, Randle is fresh off a dynamite season at Kentucky, where he led the Wildcats to the national championship game as a freshman.
A double-double machine and constant motor in the paint, Randle will be a guy the Lakers likely count on to give them a physical presence inside right off the bat.
Prospects to Watch
Jordan Clarkson, PG/SG, Rookie
Clarkson took an unexpected slide in the 2014 draft, but his skill set fills an immediate need in Los Angeles, where the Lakers lack playmakers. At 6'5", Clarkson is an excellent athlete who can handle the ball, create, score and pass in the lane. If that jumper starts working, we could be talking about a big-time second-round steal.
Kendall Marshall, PG, Third Year
Marshall played relatively well for the Lakers last season, averaging 8.1 points and 9.5 assists in 45 starts. The Lakers picked up his option for the 2014-15 season, and with Steve Nash's outlook in question, expect Marshall to get minutes at the point once again.
Rodrigue Beaubois, PG
Remember Roddy Beaubois? Foot problems led to his decline, but Beaubois was regarded as a serious talent with the Dallas Mavericks before the injury. He's even had some big games and moments in important spots as a pro. After spending some time abroad and a year away from the NBA, he'll have a nice shot with the Lakers to revitalize his career.
Spotlight Prospect: James Ennis, SF, Second Year
James Ennis had a monster year in Australia after the Heat grabbed with him with their 2013 second-round pick. He carried over his strong play into the Orlando Summer League, where he averaged 17 points on 11-of-21 shooting from downtown over four games.
Ennis is a phenomenal athlete with a big offensive game that includes three-point touch, mid-range scoring and open-floor firepower. He opened eyes in Orlando—look for him to do the same in Vegas and ultimately make a strong case for a roster or rotation spot in 2014-15.
Prospects to Watch
Shabazz Napier, PG, Rookie
Napier's four-year track record at Connecticut, along with his playmaking ability at a position in need, was an obvious selling point to the Heat in the 2014 draft. Napier actually struggled a bit in Orlando—he shot just 27.5 percent in four games, and he turned the ball over 18 times to 16 assists.
However, with a few games under his belt, I'd expect a much more efficient performance from Napier in Vegas. The Heat will be counting on him next season.
Justin Hamilton, PF/C, Third Year
Hamilton looked good in Orlando, averaging 12 points and 6.8 boards in four games. He even knocked down four three-pointers. The Heat could definitely use depth and a motor up front this season, making Hamilton a prospect to watch in Vegas.
Ronald Roberts, PF, Rookie
Undrafted out of Saint Joseph's, Roberts had a productive Orlando Summer League for the Philadelphia 76ers. He's not much of a skill player, but Roberts' spectacular athleticism and length translate to points in the paint and easy buckets above the rim.
Spotlight Prospect: Jabari Parker, SF/PF, Rookie
The Milwaukee Bucks are finally looking at a new franchise player, and he'll make his debut this week in Vegas. Jabari Parker could be in line for a monster summer league, given his NBA-ready body and polished offensive game.
At 6'8", he complements post offense and interior activity with a smooth face-up game and a threatening jumper. He'll enter the 2014-15 season as the favorite for Rookie of the Year, but look for his campaign to start in Vegas. Parker should pose a mismatch right out of the gates.
Prospects to Watch
Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG/SF, Second Year
Antetokounmpo just might be the most promising prospect from the 2013 draft, following the eye-opening flashes of potential we saw during his rookie year. He's an exceptional athlete with unique size and length to go with a tight handle and the ability to create.
The more reps he gets, the more polished and comfortable he'll become. Antetokounmpo will be a fun watch in Vegas, where he'll likely have the green light and a little more confidence than he had in 2013-14.
Nate Wolters, PG, Second Year
The Bucks got a nice steal in last year's second round with Nate Wolters, who got significant minutes as a rookie in Milwaukee. Wolters has good size, great vision and a solid all-around floor game. He'll just have to make more than 29 percent of his three-point attempts this season.
Johnny O'Bryant, PF, Rookie
O'Bryant could end up being a sneaky pickup for the Bucks in this year's second round. He's got an NBA body, a threatening face-up jumper and a refined scoring repertoire with his back to the rim. A strong summer league should land him on Milwaukee's final roster.
Spotlight Prospect: Zach LaVine, PG/SG, Rookie
There aren't many prospects we're more excited to see in Vegas than Zach LaVine, who flashed some wild upside at UCLA in a limited role off the bench. He's a spectacular athlete who can handle the ball at the point, score from the wing, shoot from outside and fly in transition.
But he averaged less than 10 points a game in college, and he was somewhat inconsistent. In Vegas, LaVine should finally get regular touches as a go-to playmaking weapon in the backcourt.
Prospects to Watch
Gorgui Dieng, C, Second Year
Dieng played well for Minnesota in his 13.6 minutes a game last season. Now he'll be counted on to provide a consistent presence in the paint as a sophomore. He's an option to feed on the low block, and he's a nice passer out of the post.
He's even got some touch in the mid-range. Defensively, he takes up a ton of room down low, where his footwork and length play to his strengths as a rim protector. Expect Dieng to enter the rotation in 2014-15.
Shabazz Muhammad, SG/SF, Second Year
Muhammad didn't get much action last season, but for what it's worth, he did average 24.5 points through four D-League games. He's a real competitor who plays hard and fights for his points in the half court. I wouldn't be shocked if Muhammad has some big offensive games in Vegas. Consistent shooting could help earn him a role in Minnesota this season.
Glenn Robinson III, SF, Rookie
Glenn Robinson III slipped into the second round this past June, where he offers the Timberwolves serious value. Robinson has all the tools—size, athleticism, a jumper and slash game. He just has to put them all together.
New Orleans Pelicans
Spotlight Prospect: Russ Smith, PG/SG, Rookie
The New Orleans Pelicans didn't have a first-round pick this year, so their summer league squad looks a bit underwhelming. But few players are more fun to watch than Russ Smith, who the Pelicans traded for in the second round on draft night.
Smith is a lightning rod with the ball, with the ability to get to any spot on the floor. He's an adrenaline player. Smith can heat up like a microwave and score points in bunches. This season at Louisville, he changed his image from a gunner to a playmaker by increasing his assist rate from 2.9 to 4.6 a game.
We're not talking about a starting-caliber prospect, but in a role with a short leash where he can play to his strengths, Smith has spark-plug potential off an NBA bench.
Prospects to Watch
Jeff Withey, C, Second Year
Withey averaged nearly one block in 11.8 minutes a game for New Orleans last year. That's what drives his NBA appeal. Withey has quick feet and terrific shot-blocking instincts. He's not much of an offensive option, but as a backup center, his defense is worth holding on to.
Patric Young, C, Rookie
Young seemed like a lock to go drafted in this year's second round, but it just didn't happen. At 6'10", his appeal stems from his size, strength and interior toughness. Young won't give you much offense, but he will give you intensity, defense and a few hard fouls per game.
James Southerland, SF, Second Year
He's a three-point specialist who can finish above the rim. Southerland is rather one-dimensional, but if he can master the three-ball, he's got the size and athleticism to hold his own physically.
New York Knicks
Spotlight Prospect: Cleanthony Early, SF, Rookie
The Knicks got two draft picks when they sent Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas. They turned one of them into Cleanthony Early, who's coming off a Final Four appearance in 2013 and an undefeated regular season with Wichita State in 2014.
He went on to drop 31 points on Kentucky in this year's NCAA tournament after improving throughout the season as a shooter and scorer.
Early is a stud athlete with a 40-inch vertical, and he's got nice form on his jumper to match a smooth attack game. He's 23 years old, and the Knicks lack depth at the 3 and 4 positions. New York will be hoping it can count on Early for minutes as a rookie.
Prospects to Watch
Shane Larkin, PG, Second Year
Shane Larkin, who came over from Dallas in the Chandler trade, was the No. 18 pick in the 2013 draft after he led Miami to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. Larkin is a pick-and-roll machine with a tremendous 44-inch max vertical, though he's a bit undersized for the position.
Still, Larkin has admirable floor-general qualities, along with dangerous playmaking quickness and instincts. My money is on Larkin sticking in New York, where he'll have a great opportunity to get some minutes.
Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Second Year
Hardaway had a strong rookie season in New York, giving the Knicks a consistent three-point shooter and weapon on the break. This year, Hardaway should look to expand his off-the-dribble game and become a bigger threat as a passer and shot-creator in the half court. I wouldn't be surprised if he only plays one or two games in Vegas.
Jeremy Tyler, C
Tyler got minutes for the Knicks during the regular season, and given how shallow they are up front, we could see him back on the bench in 2014-15. He's big and athletic, and on occasion we've seen some nice touch from Tyler in the paint and mid-range. The Knicks need another center, and right now Tyler looks to be their best option.
Spotlight Prospect: Nerlens Noel, C, Rookie
I'm not sure Nerlens Noel could have asked for a better debut in the Orlando Summer League, where he averaged 13.7 points, 5.7 boards and three blocks over a three-game stretch. It's the first time he's seen competitive action since he tore his ACL in February 2013, before the Sixers traded up for him over a year ago in the draft.
Noel looked healthy, active and confident. He was finishing high above the rim and protecting it effectively at the other end. We even saw Noel attack from the elbows and create his own shot.
"Nerlens Noel looking like someone who was going to be No. 1 pick. Philly may have landed back-to-back would-be No. 1 overall guys," ESPN New York's Robin Lundberg tweeted.
Still, the best news for Noel is that he escaped Orlando unscathed. As long as he's on the floor, he's going to find a way to impact a game using his size, length, athleticism and bounce.
Prospects to Watch
K.J. McDaniels, SF, Rookie
McDaniels had a nice showing in Orlando, where he averaged 10 points through four games. The Sixers grabbed him early in this year's second round following his breakout season for Clemson. McDaniels' erratic jumper might have caused a number of teams to pass in the draft, which is why his 5-of-9 three-point-shooting performance in Orlando was noteworthy.
Jerami Grant, SF, Rookie
After a rough start in Orlando, Jerami Grant caught on the final three games. He nailed his last 4-of-5 from downtown, a promising sign considering Grant didn't hit one three-pointer his entire sophomore year at Syracuse. Grant is a fantastic athlete, and though he doesn't exactly have a position, adding a jumper will help him find one.
Spotlight Prospect: T.J. Warren, SF, Rookie
The Phoenix Suns took Warren No. 14 overall this year after he finished third in the country in scoring with nearly 25 points a game. The kid just knows how to get buckets, whether he's executing a go-to move or improvising on the fly.
The Suns could use another offensive weapon at the wing, and Warren has the potential to give them one right away. Based on his ability to take over games, I'm nominating Warren as a sneaky pick for Vegas MVP.
Prospects to Watch
Tyler Ennis, PG, Rookie
A true point guard with unteachable instincts for the position, Ennis brings passing, leadership and opportunistic scoring. He won't blow anyone away with speed or athleticism, but he'll beat the competition with timing and intelligence.
On a rookie contract, Ennis could be a valuable backup point guard over the next few years in Phoenix. But without that burst or explosion to pick up easy points and dimes, expect a few bumps along the way adjusting to the size and speed of the pros.
Alex Len, C, Second Year
In just 42 games last year, Len totaled 86 points and 68 personal fouls. Between the lack of production and his foot injuries, he's off to a rocky start. Summer league can be a confidence-booster for some prospects. The Suns should look to find a way to involve Len.
Archie Goodwin, Second Year
Archie Goodwin has plenty of talent, but he's just too young and raw at this point. Now a sophomore, this is a good chance for Goodwin to try to take that next step as a combo guard and ultimately tighten up his game.
Portland Trail Blazers
Spotlight Prospect: C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Second Year
McCollum averaged 21 points a game in Vegas last year, so he should be ready to roll once again as Portland's primary summer league playmaker. McCollum broke his foot before the start of his rookie season, and it cost him the majority of the year. He played in just 38 games, though he shot the ball fairly well from downtown.
This summer, McCollum should be focusing on improving his floor game as a point guard, because at 6'3" without burst, he's at too much of a disadvantage playing the 2.
Prospects to Watch
Thomas Robinson, PF, Third Year
Now entering the final guaranteed year of his rookie contract, this is a big summer league for Thomas Robinson. He's been on three teams through two seasons, failing to stand out in either as anything more than an athletic frontcourt presence. Without a natural power forward to back up LaMarcus Aldridge, this is an opportunity Robinson must capitalize on in Portland.
Will Barton, SG, Third Year
Barton scored 17 points in Portland's Game 4 win over the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the playoffs. Last year, Barton flashed some promise on a number of occasions. Maybe this is the year he turns those flashes into steady production.
Allen Crabbe, SG, Second Year
Crabbe rarely got off the bench last season, but he still has offensive tools worth trying to develop. He has excellent size for the position, and when locked in, he's a dangerous shooter and mid-range scorer.
Spotlight Prospect: Nik Stauskas, SG, Rookie
The Kings drafted Nik Stauskas No. 8 overall with the likely vision he'd be able to help them right away, which seems probable given that smooth 44 percent three-pointer jumper and high basketball IQ. Stauskas should stretch the floor for DeMarcus Cousins from day one, as well as give new point guard Darren Collison a reliable target in the drive-and-kick game.
Stauskas is also an underrated passer who can create and dish out of pick-and-roll sets. I'd expect a strong showing from him in Vegas right off the bat when you take into account his mature approach and refined offensive game.
Prospects to Watch
Ben McLemore, SG, Second Year
Despite entering his rookie year with the reputation as a sharpshooter, McLemore sank just 32 percent of his three-point attempts last season. He wasn't much better inside the arc, where he struggled getting to and finishing at the rim.
He's still learning the game—poor shot selection ultimately fueled McLemore's ugly rookie shooting performance. But between his elite athleticism, shooting potential and defensive tools, there's still plenty of upside left in McLemore's tank.
Ray McCallum, PG, Second Year
McCallum has the skill set, but without standout athleticism or quickness, it's going to take him a while to adjust to the size and speed of the game. It got to him as a rookie. Now with a year under his belt, McCallum should have a little more confidence and familiarity with what to expect.
Sim Bhullar, C, Rookie
At 7'5", Bhullar is a prospect to watch whether he's got a pro future or not. "Guys my size don’t have very long careers and you have to take advantage of it and do the best you can with the time you have to play," Bhullar told Rachel Brady of The Globe and Mail.
Bhullar doesn't exactly move well, but he's got soft hands in the paint, where he takes up a hilarious amount of space.
San Antonio Spurs
Spotlight Prospect: Kyle Anderson, PG/SF, Rookie
It will be interesting to see how and where Kyle Anderson lines up in summer league after he spent the year playing point guard at UCLA. Anderson has exceptional vision and passing instincts—only he's 6'9" and slow without much lift or athleticism.
Still, Anderson has a terrific feel for the game whether he's operating from the point or the wing. If the whole point guard thing doesn't work out, he's got do-it-all glue guy written all over him—Boris Diaw style.
Prospects to Watch
Bryce Cotton, PG, Rookie
Cotton erupted this year for Providence, where he put up 21.8 points and 5.9 assists a game. He's lightning-quick off the bounce, which gives him the ability to create his own shot from anywhere on the floor. This past season, he improved his point guard skills by using that quickness to create for others. He's undersized, but Cotton has spark-plug potential.
Vander Blue, SG, Second Year
Blue went undrafted in 2013 but averaged nearly 17 points a game in the D-League last season. He's an active defender who can guard 1s and 2s, and he's a good-looking scorer inside the arc. But Blue will eventually need to expand his shooting range to crack an NBA rotation.
Melvin Ejim, SF, Rookie
The Spurs scooped up Ejim after he went undrafted following his Big 12 Player of the Year campaign. Without a true position, scouts have questioned if his game can translate. But Ejim's motor, instincts and do-it-all skill set will be worth a look in Vegas.
Spotlight Prospect: Lucas Nogueira, Spain, Rookie (drafted 2013)
Nogueira, a 2013 first-round pick of the Atlanta Hawks, was sent to Toronto with Lou Williams in a deal for John Salmons. Don't view him as just a toss-in—at 7'0" with long arms and a live motor, he projects as an interior specialist who finishes, rebounds and protects the rim.
Nogueira was in Vegas with the Hawks last year, where he averaged 2.4 blocks in 21.8 minutes over a five-game stretch. Nogueira missed most of last season abroad with knee issues, which might have factored into Atlanta's decision to move him.
But he'll be expected to participate in this year's summer league, and given Toronto's lack of depth up front, Nogueira should have a real shot at minutes if he can stay healthy.
Prospects to Watch
Bruno Caboclo, SF, Rookie
There is a whole Toronto fanbase just waiting to see who the heck the Raptors drafted at No. 20 overall. At only 18 years old, Bruno Caboclo is probably years away from contributing, but you can see the type of potential Masai Ujiri reached on. Standing 6'9", he has great size and athleticism for the position, and he's got promising shooting mechanics and loads of defensive potential. Vegas should tell us where he stands in terms of his NBA-ready timetable.
DeAndre Daniels, SF, Rookie
Daniels certainly fits the physical profile of an NBA wing. At 6'8", he's long and athletic, and after shooting 41.7 percent from deep, he's added a jumper to the arsenal. Daniels has exciting scoring ability, but inconsistency over a three-year span at Connecticut kept the buzz in check.
Doron Lamb, PG/SG, Third Year
Lamb was recently let go by the Magic after Milwaukee traded him to Orlando. He has the talent—Lamb can handle the ball and shoot— but he's running out of time to put it all together. His 2014-15 season could hinge on his performance for Toronto in Vegas.
Spotlight Prospect: Dante Exum, PG/SG, Rookie
At this point, you're probably tired of watching the same Dante Exum YouTube clips over and over. Cue the Las Vegas Summer League, where we'll finally get a look at Exum and the mismatch he has the potential to present.
At 6'6", he's a scoring point guard with blurry quickness and above-the-rim explosiveness. He's automatic in the open floor and a nightmare attacking in the half court. Exum is also an exceptionally smart kid with a high basketball IQ.
But he's used to dominating the ball, so keep an eye on how well he performs playing alongside Trey Burke this summer.
Prospects to Watch
Rodney Hood, SF, Rookie
Hood was Utah's second first-round pick in the 2014 draft. At 6'8", he's got great size for the wing to match a silky-smooth shooting stroke. Hood is polished in the mid-range—he's a threat to stop-and-pop for a jumper or finish runners and floaters on the move. Don't expect Hood to get to the rack much, but the Jazz could use his shooting touch to spread the floor for Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors.
Trey Burke, PG, Second Year
Burke had a good but not great year in Utah, where he showed signs of promise and others of weakness. He's got a sharp floor game—Burke takes care of the ball, and he runs the pick-and-roll nicely. Given his lack of explosiveness and struggles finishing around the rim, he'll have to improve his shooting range and consistency in his second year on the job.
Rudy Gobert, C, Second Year
We know what he's out there to do. At 7'2", Gobert uses his incredible reach to block shots and his touch to finish them around the rim. But he definitely needs more reps, as he's just too raw offensively. Adding some extra muscle wouldn't hurt either.
Spotlight Prospect: Otto Porter, SF, Second Year
After injuring himself in last year's summer league, Porter started way behind the eight ball, which led to a disappointing rookie season. Upon returning, Porter struggled shooting the ball, and he couldn't figure out how to contribute offensively.
Hopefully, a full offseason and productive summer league can turn his career around. Porter has excellent physical tools, a versatile skill set and promising offensive instincts. As a 3, he'll have to shoot the ball better, but the jumper should start falling once his confidence rises. Vegas will give him the chance to lift it.
Prospects to Watch
Glen Rice Jr., SF, Second Year
The Wizards drafted Rice out of the D-League in 2013, and that's where he spent the majority of his rookie year, averaging 17.2 points on 35 percent shooting from downtown. He's a high-flier who can shoot, slash and pass, and if he's able to put it all together, he could be looking at minutes this year—especially if Washington loses Trevor Ariza in free agency.
Deonte Burton, PG, Rookie
Burton, an explosive playmaker and scorer from Nevada, put up 20.1 points a game as a senior. He went undrafted this past June, but it's tough to ignore the production he put up with a routine target on his head.
Khem Birch, C, Rookie
Birch also went undrafted, which you can attribute to his limited offensive game. Regardless, he combines size with athleticism and length to finish, rebound and block shots—and that holds NBA value.
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