The NBA Summer League just concluded in Las Vegas and a number of young studs, especially rookies, put on impressive performances. OneManFastBreak.net ranks the 10 best players in the Vegas summer league:
Josh Selby, Memphis
After what the former Kansas star did in Vegas you’ll understand why the Grizzlies let O.J. Mayo leave for free agency and sign with the Mavericks. Selby averaged 29 points and shot a mind-boggling 73 percent from beyond the 3-point arc (19-for-26). Overvall, he made 60 percent of his field goal attempts. His best game came against the Bobcats, in which he scored 32 points and made seven of 11 threes.
Damian Lillard, Portland
The Blazers got a good one in Lillard, who should step right into the starting point guard spot vacated by Raymond Felton, who signed with the Knicks. The Weber State standout averaged 26.5 points in Vegas and made 44 percent of his field goals. Aside from his outstanding perimeter game and naturally scoring ability, Lillard also unleashed a nasty side when he posterized Keith Benson on a rim-rattling dunk.
Klay Thompson, Golden State
Thompson absolutely lit up Cox Pavilion on opening night by swishing six of eight shots from behind the 3-point arc and finished with 24 points. With Thompson, Barnes, and Steph Curry, the Warriors will have plenty of firepower from the outside. Thompson, son of former Laker Mychal Thompson, shut it down early in Vegas but he still made a great impression.
Jeremy Lamb, Houston
The UConn Huskies are well represented in the Association and Lamb is the latest offering from Jim Calhoun. Lamb is a smooth player who has the total game — and has a little bit of T-Mac in him. The 6-foot-5 swingman has the pull-up jumper, the floater, and can finish at the rim. He also plays under control, which is rare for a first-year player.
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio
Leonard had a short stint in the summer league (averaged 25 points in two games), but the Spurs had seen enough and there’s no reason for Leonard to prove himself. Head coach Gregg Popovich loves Leonard’s game and is already a major player in the Spurs’ starting lineup.
Bradley Beal, Washington
The former Florida Gater showed great poise and plays within himself. Beal doesn’t force things and is built like a running back. He should be a good complement to John Wall, who likes to attack the basket instead of stay out in the perimeter.
Terrence Ross, Toronto
Raptors coach Dwane Casey saw a lot of Ross when he played at the University of Washington and liked him enough to make him the Raptors’ first-round pick in the 2012 draft. Ross is a natural scorer with a boatload of confidence. He also had a spectacular reverse dunk in Vegas, letting everyone know he’s the real deal. Ross is Ricky Davis 2.0 without the off-the-court headaches.
Harrison Barnes, Golden State
The ex-Tar Heel scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a 66-57 win over Chicago Friday. He has proven he can create his own shot as well as knock down the long 3-pointer. Barnes should be the starting small forward for Golden State when the season begins.
Jared Sullinger, Boston
The former Ohio State All-American is using the disappointment on the draft as motivation. Sullinger is playing with a huge chip on his broad shoulders and taking it out on the competition. He may be undersized (listed at 6-9 but probably closer to 6-8) but Sullinger uses his body real well, especially on the boards. He has also displayed a decent face-up game, which is a prerequisite in Doc Rivers’ offense.
John Henson, Milwaukee
North Carolina is well represented in Vegas with Barnes, Henson, and Tyler Zeller all getting good reviews. Henson has surprised some with his low-post game. We all knew about his shot-blocking ability, but he opened some eyes with some jump hooks (with either hand) and an up-and-under move.