Friday was a busy day in the NBA, as it saw not only conclusion of the Orlando Summer League, but the beginning of the Las Vegas Summer League. In all, four games were played in Vegas on Day One. Here’s a look at what stands out from each contest, with the caveat that these observations are based on only one game (and a summer league game, to boot).
Atlanta Hawks 102, Washington Wizards 82
Atlanta took this one easily, outscoring Washington in each of the first three quarters before the splitting the last quarter, 25-25. The Wizards’ Bradley Beal, the No. 3 overall pick in June’s draft, led all scorers with 22 points, shooting 6-for-14 from the field. Beal was just 1-for-3 on three-pointers, which the Wizards hope will be a major part of his game, but he did look good getting to the line, converting 9 of 10 free throws. 2011 first-rounder Chris Singleton was the other Wizard to impress, contributing in all areas of the game. He finished with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals, though his 5 turnovers were a minor scare.
Atlanta shot very well (54% FG as a team), led by 2011 second-rounder Keith Benson and former Pitt Panther Brad Wanamaker, who combined to go 14-for-18 from the field for 32 points. Benson was +25 in the contest (despite the fact that Benson played the fewest minutes – 19 – of any Hawks’ starter) and his inside scoring coupled with 2012 first-rounder John Jenkins’ outside stroke (4-for-5 on threes) led Atlanta to an easy victory. Wanamaker also added six assists, the day’s second-highest total.
Houston Rockets 93, Toronto Raptors 81
The biggest story in this one, and indeed, in the entire first day of the Las Vegas Summer League, was the play of Donatas Motiejunas, the Raptors’ 21-year-old 7-foot center, who was better than advertised in his first action with an NBA club. The #20 pick a year ago by Minnesota, the Rockets acquired Motiejunas’ rights in the Jonny Flynn trade. D-Mo, as he was dubbed by Rockets’ head coach Kevin McHale, had 25 points and 9 rebounds (both the top marks of the day) in just 25 minutes, and also registered 2 steals in helping Houston to the victory. Though his shooting numbers are unsustainable (11-for-13 from the field, including 2-for-2 on threes), he showed everything you could ask for from a player his size and will definitely bear watching for the rest of summer league and beyond. The only place where Motiejunas struggled was the free throw line, where he was just 1-for-5 against Toronto.
Chandler Parsons also looked good for Houston, scoring 16 points on 6-for-11 shooting while grabbing 5 rebounds and dishing out 4 assists. Iona’s Scott Machado had 5 assists (though also 4 turnovers) in 19 minutes. First-rounders Marcus Morris (2011) and Royce White (2012) were both fairly disappointing (combined 12 points, 7 rebounds on 5-for-13 shooting). Terrence Jones looked good on the glass with 9 boards and made all eight of his free throws en route to 17 points, while Jeremy Lamb added 16 points on 6-for-11 shooting.
Ed Davis was the only Raptor who showed much of anything, scoring 18 points on 7-for-12 shooting while grabbing 8 rebounds. First-rounder Terrence Ross had an inefficient 21 points on 19 shots.
Golden State Warriors 90, Los Angeles Lakers 50
Break up the Warriors! Okay, maybe that’s a bit premature for a club that has one playoff appearance in 18 years, but Golden State must be happy with the performance of its young core on Friday. Top pick Harrison Barnes demonstrated a nice combination of athleticism and shooting ability, going off for 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting (4-for-4 on threes) while committing no turnovers. Meanwhile, three-point gunner Klay Thompson lived up to his reputation, knocking down 6 of 8 from deep en route to a game-high 24 points.
It must be noted that these performances came mostly against players who have a very slim chance of actually suiting up with the Lakers next season, but Warriors coach Mark Jackson will be encouraged nonetheless. You can only play your opponent, and it’s never a bad sign when you win by 40.
No one on the Lakers was very impressive, though two of their players did manage to put together a couple interesting box scores. Australian forward Ater Majok grabbed seven rebounds (but committed eight fouls) in 27 minutes, while guard Darius Johnson-Odom of Marquette shot 0-for-8 from the field.
Charlotte Bobcats 121, Sacramento Kings 87
Charlotte’s first “win” since St. Patricks’ Day was a collective effort, as all five starters reached double-digits, as well as backup Cory Higgins. Kemba Walker did his best impression of a legitimate point guard, handing out seven assists to one turnover, while #2 pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist brought his trademark hustle and energy, stuffing the stat sheet with 18 point (7-for-12 FG), 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals. Second-rounder Jeffery Taylor also flashed his potential, tallying 17 points and making 3 of 4 threes.
For the Kings, Thomas Robinson was a beast on the low block, bulling his way to 19 points and 15 free throw attempts. Though he’ll be unhappy with his six FT misses, it’s nice to see Robinson’s penchant for getting to the line (he ranked 12th in the NCAA in attempts last season) continue against slightly better competition. Jimmer Fredette looked awful, shooting just 2-for-11, including 0-for-8 on threes. The bright side is, Fredette will probably never miss that many in a real NBA game because he won’t get the ball enough from his teammates to attempt that many shots again. Hassan Whiteside put together a nice line of 7 points (3-for-5 FG) and 8 rebounds in 18 minutes of play.