Over the last three weeks, the NBA had two summer leagues, the smaller one in Orlando and the larger one in Las Vegas.
It’s fairly sloppy basketball, since teams are mostly comprised of rookies, sophomores, undrafted free agents and journeymen.
Switching over to a tournament-style format has definitely upped the competition, and there were a couple standouts.
The top two picks
We’re just mere months removed from the tanking kerfuffles “Woeful for Wiggins” and “Sorry for Jabari.” While the top two picks, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, didn’t put up video game-like numbers, they showed flashes.
Parker showed a vast array of moves, some just didn’t go in, but he still scored a ton. The talent is there, he just couldn’t put the ball in the hoop efficiently, which is (kind of) important, but he’ll be fine.
Wiggins wowed fans with the athleticism that’s gotten him millions of hits on YouTube. From in-your-face dunks, to demoralizing chase-down blocks, he has the “it” factor. When he gets his perimeter game going, he’ll be a huge star for the Cleveland Cavaliers Minnesota Timberwolves.
Remember when “Dougie McBuckets” drew those Adam Morrison comparisons? Nope, me neither.
The former NCAA leading scorer showed his versatile offensive repertoire by coming off screens, posting up, hitting long-range bombs, etc.
His scoring alone gives Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau dreams of playing him more than 45 minutes a game.
Not all NBA sons have to sit in the shadows cast by their fathers. In this age, some can actually play, not just Stephen Curry!
New York Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. looked very comfortable in new coach Derek Fisher’s triangle offense, gunning his way to second in scoring and giving fans hope that someone will kind of want J.R. Smith.
Washington Wizards guard Glen Rice Jr. led everyone in scoring, including a 36-point, 11-rebound game, and took home MVP honors. Having to go up against Paul Pierce flailing around during practice can only help him in the near future.
• After missing his rookie season, Philadelphia 76ers’ center Nerlens Noel and his flat top will find your shot, wherever it may be, and block it.
• YouTube “Houston Rockets Nick Johnson dunks.” You’re welcome.
•Giannis Antetokounmpo. Remember that name. He and Parker are going to be studs and the only reason the Milwaukee Bucks may accidently pop up on your TV.
• Steve Holt! Played for the Atlanta Hawks.
• Delonte West (yes, that one) played for the Los Angeles Clippers.
• Dallas Mavericks forward Eric Griffin devoured the soul of Knicks guard Shane Larkin with the highlight of both summer leagues.
• Oh, and the Sacramento Kings won the Las Vegas tournament.
• However, the 76ers Joel Embiid won the entire summer. He may not be playing right now, but he’s at least a force on Twitter. A must read.