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Final Notes From 2009 Vegas Summer League

All Summer League Team

Anthony Randolph, GSW - The silky smooth lefty averaged a Vegas high 26.8 points per game and established himself as a breakout candidate for the 2009-10 season.

Nick Young, WAS - Young scored the ball efficiently all week and hit five three-pointers en route to 36 points in the Wizards debut.  The Wizards traded for Randy Foye and Mike Miller in hopes of contending this season and a productive Young off the bench will be key.

Blake Griffin, LAC - The 2009 #1 overall pick looked as good as advertised as he dominated the paint all week.  As he did at Oklahoma, Griffin showed a knack for getting easy buckets around the hoop, something that will come easier in L.A. now that Zach Randolph is in Memphis.

Chase Buddinger, HOU - Buddinger shot a ridiculously efficient 68% from the field, while averaging 17.8 ppg and hitting 8 of his 11 three-point attempts.  If he proves he can handle himself defensively, don't be surprised to see Buddinger crack the rotation immediately.

Jodie Meeks, MIL - If you score 54 points in an SEC game, it probably means you can score the ball and although he slipped in the Draft, Meeks spent all week continuing to prove that (19 ppg).

Honorable Mentions

DaJuan Summers showed enough for the Pistons to trade away Aaron Affalo.  Tyreke Evans and Jason Thompson both played well for the Kings.  Although he was not as good as last season, Jerryd Bayless continued to push for playing time in Portland.  His teammate Dante Cunningham was a pleasant surprise and could be a sleeper.  Playing for his career, Adam Morrison proved he can still score the ball.  Darren Collison looked good and might be the backup for CP3 that the Hornets have been looking for.  Realizing they should no longer be forced to play in the Summer League, Andray Blatche and Quincy Douby each had a few nice games.  Rodrigue Beaubois gave the Mavericks a taste of what the future might look like when Jason Kidd hangs 'em up.

Quick Hits

- Anthony Morrow was hotter than the Vegas heat when he dropped 47 points on the Hornets in what was undoubtedly the single best performance of the VSL.

- Joey Dorsey was a beast on the boards and led the League in rebounding at 14.8 per game.

- After playing in Italy last season, Brandon Jennings led the Summer League with 8.2 assists per game.  Also averaging 8.2 assists was Memphis' Marcus Williams, who played about as much in the NBA last season as Jennings.

- Steph Curry really struggled with his shot, but there is little doubt he will find his stroke and it was encouraging to see him contribute in other ways throughout the week.

- Jonny Flynn was good all week and solidified himself as the Wolves starting PG.

- Knicks rookie Jordan Hill struggled most of the week, but finished with a strong game.  His teammate Toney Douglas looked like a playmaker, although he couldn't find his shot.  The most impressive Knick was former Jazz first round pick Morris Almond who averaged 14 points and don't be surprised to see him on the roster come opening night.

- Danilo Gallinari was working out with the team in Vegas and says he will be 100% by training camp.  Expect a big season from him as the Knicks look to prove that he and Wilson Chandler are enough entice free agents next summer.

- Omri Casspi, who will become the first Israeli to play in the NBA, struggled with his shot, but displayed the intangibles that made him a first round pick.

- Big men are certainly the most difficult to judge as they usually face the weakest competition during the Summer League.  Even so, Hasheem Thabeet really struggled and has a lot to improve.

- The NBDL Select team held their own finishing with a 3-2 record.

- The Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies finished with league best records of 5-0.

Breaking Down VSL '09, Version 1.0

The 2009 Vegas Summer League kicked off on Friday and there has been exciting action all weekend.  Here is a look at how some of the big names are performing, as well as a few surprise performances.

Stephen Curry, GSW - After being one of the best players in the nation for the past two seasons, everyone is anxious to see how Curry's game will translate at the pro level.  He has come out firing in his first two games, taking a total of 36 shots, but hitting only 12 of them.  Although his shot has struggled, Curry has been aggressively taking the ball to the basket and has been to the free throw line 17 times (15-17 FT) which has helped him average 22.5 pts. He might already have the quickest release in the League,  something that has made him very tough to guard on the pick and rolls.  Curry's shots will eventually fall and it is promising to see him doing the other things well.

Tyreke Evans, SAC - Evans played very well against the Warriors when he scored 25 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out 5 assists.  He got most of his points at the rim or the foul line, but did not appear comfortable with his outside shot.  The Kings coaching staff are playing Evans mostly at the point in attempt to get him more comfortable running the offense.

Anthony Randolph, GSW -  Randolph has been excellent so far, posting a double-double in both games.  His length and quickness have made him a threat in transition, while his ability to knock down the mid range jump shot has improved his ability to score in the half court offense.  The only thing that seems to be in Randolph's way of a breakout season is coach Don Nelson and his unpredictable rotation.

Adam Morrison, LAL - Jack Nicholson was more involved in the Lakers title run than Morrison, so the #3 overall pick from 2006 has come to Vegas with something to prove.  He has scored 46 points through two games, but Morrison has a lot more to prove before the Zen Master looks his way on the bench.

DeJuan Summers, DET - Summers surprised many by staying in the draft after a subpar Junior season, but Detroit's 2nd round pick is doing his best to prove his worth.  Summers uses his craftiness to get to the hoop, and has proven on multiple occasions he will hit an open jumper if left open.  

Brandon Jennings, MIL- Jennings really struggled in his debut, as he missed his first seven shots and finished 3-12 from the field.  He did respond with a 23 point, 8 assist, 5 steals performance in his second game and has not publicly insulted anybody so far.  

Quick Hits

- Jonny Flynn was solid in his debut, scoring 11 and dishing out 7...

- 09' D-League All-Star Cartier Martin scored 27 against SAC

- Mavs rookie Rodrigue Beabois from France had the best performance of the weekend, hitting 7 threes en route to 34 points and 8 assists against Houston

- James Harden struggled badly in his Vegas debut as he had trouble getting off his shot and finished with 4 points

- Lakers big man Ben McCauley had the best performance of any undrafted FA when he put up 24 pts and 10 reb against TOR

- Russell Westbrook was very effective in OKC's only game

- Austin Daye furthered his reputation of being inconsistent, playing poorly in the opener, but bounced back for a strong performance in Detroit's next game

- Chase Buddinger scored 25 on 9-10 shooting in Houston's second game

- Hasheem Thabeet was decent in his debut, but showed little more than the ability to turn and lay it in and his shot blocking prowess was not on display

- George Hill (25 pts) and DeJuan Blair (13 pts, 10 reb) both impressed for the Spurs.  It will be fun to see a Big East rematch when Blair's Spurs take on Thabeet's Grizzlies later in the week

- Darren Collison scored 19 in his attempt to prove that the Hornets can rest CP3 a little this season.  

Looking Forward To...  

- Blake Griffin's debut on Monday

- 2008 VSL MVP Jerryd Bayless plays against the Raptors on Monday

- The Knicks take the court on Tuesday with a roster that includes six players that were taken in the first round, including 4 lottery picks.

Final 2008 VSL Recap

After 10 days and 59 games it's time to take a look back at what happened in Vegas.

MVP:  Jerryd Bayless, POR ? It was clear who the best player was this week as Bayless scored at least 26 in all his four games and got to the hoop at will.  He should contribute to the Blazers immediately and will be in the running for Rookie of the Year.

First Team
Jerryd Bayless, POR - See above

D.J. Augustin, CHA ? The premier passing point guard in Vegas ran the offense beautifully and put up an impressive 20.0 PPG.

J.J. Hickson, CLE ? Hickson was impossible to stop when he caught within 7 feet from the basket, and he crashed the offensive boards hard all week.

Marreese Speights, PHI ? Speights was the most physically dominant player in Vegas as he ferociously threw down dunk after dunk while knocking down the occasional jumper.

Kevin Love, MIN ? Love played well in each of his games as he averaged 18.0 PPG and a league-leading 13.5 REB.

Second Team
O.J. Mayo, MEM ? The highly touted guard was impressive all week as he seemed more comfortable with each passing game.  He struggled a bit with his shot and must cut down on the turnovers.

Alando Tucker, PHX ? The former Big Ten POY was impressive in all five games as he averaged 21.6 PPG while shooting 57% from the field.

Donte Greene, HOU ? Greene?s 40 point performance was the most impressive all week.

Al Thronton, LAC - The FSU alum continues to build on a successful rookie campaign.

Anthony Randolph, GSW ? Randolph used his versatility to create open looks and proved that his thin frame would not prevent him from attacking the rim.

Honorable Mention
Quincy Douby (SAC), Thaddeus Young (PHI), Dahntay Jones (DEN),  Joey Graham (TOR),  Wilson Chanlder (NYK), Jason Smith (PHI), Spencer Hawes (SAC), Anthony Roberson (NYK).

Most Disappointing
Danilo Gallinari, NYK - This had nothing to do with the way Gallinari played but rather with the fact that he only appeared in one game.  In that game he showed off an impressive set of skills; however, we would have liked to see more.

Joe Alexander, MIL ? Alexander picked up his play a bit as the week went on; however, he never looked truly comfortable in the Bucks? offense.  He must find a way to best use his freakish athleticism along with his mid-range jump shot.

Eric Gordon, LAC ? Similarly to Gallinari, it was Gordon?s injury that landed him on this list rather than his play.

Most Suprising
Spencer Hawes, SAC ? After doing little in his rookie campaign, Hawes played very well in Vegas (17.0 PPG, 8.4 REB).

Pops Mensah-Bonsu, MIN - The man with the best name in sports played well in each of his four games and finished the week off with an impressive 21 points and 8 rebounds in the finale against the Knicks.

Ian Mahinmi, SAS ? The little-known Frenchman looked solid while averaging 14 points and 9 rebounds.

Marreese Speights, PHI & J.J. Hickson, CLE ? While both were first round picks, Speights and Hickson played above expectations and dominated all week long.

News, Notes and Sights
JR Pinnock dropped 30 points for the Blazers as Jerryd Bayless sat out the finale against New Orleans?Joey Dorsey managed to get ejected from a game in which he was not even playing?Kings' G Quincy Douby went off for 36 in the Kings' finale. Five Vegas participants Kevin Love, Jerryd Bayless, O.J. Mayo, Rodney Stuckey, and Robin Lopez were added to the USA Select Team that will train and help prepare the USA National team for Beijing.

Breaking Down The VSL, Version 2.0

JJ Hickson, Jerryd Bayless and Donte Greene have been impressing during the second stretch of games from Vegas.

Breaking Down The VSL, Volume 1.0

Marresse Speights, Anthony Randolph, and Thaddeus Young have all been impressive during the early stretch of the VSL.

Great Rookie Expectations

Many players in the 2007 Draft will be expected to contribute immediately to winning teams, while others will be asked to help rebuild their team from the bottom. Let?s take a look at what to expect from the thirty first-rounders during the 2007-08 season.
 

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