Here is a compilation of Summer League Notes from all 30 NBA teams.
If there is an (O) at the beginning of a note, that is my own observation or opinion. Anything else is something that was shared with me directly. All quotes were interesting enough for me to share without paraphrasing it.
- Atlanta Hawks
1. The Hawks love John Collins and feel like he could have been the steal of the draft. They believe he has the form and touch to extend his range to the three-point line and should score inside immediately.
2. Atlanta is really excited for the future and believe they are in good shape to turn things around quickly while also being competitive this year.
3. They are still looking for another guard and a third PG.
- Boston Celtics
1. The Celtics insist Jayson Tatum would have been the pick at No. 1 overall had they stayed there and are thrilled with what he's shown early.
2. Tatum doesn't have a hitch in his shot as many believe. He's double jointed at both the wrist and elbow, so it creates what looks like a hitch, but is actually his natural shooting motion.
3. Boston believes Jaylen Brown will take a huge jump this year and be in the mix for Most Improved Player.
4. Ante Zizic will need some time, but will be better in the second half of the season than the first half. As some worry that he's played basically for a year straight, they want him to get some down time in August to recuperate.
5. With their roster getting full, someone will get squeezed out of Semi Ojeleye, Jabari Bird, Abdel Nader and Guerschon Yabusele. They are still undecided on how to handle the situation.
- Brooklyn Nets
1. The Nets believe Jarrett Allen will have an impact as the backup behind Timofey Mozgov and should recover fine in time for training camp. Brooklyn also thinks Mozgov will better than most think. “He’s not done. Overpaid sure. But he’s not done.”
2. The Nets are excited to have D’Angelo Russell and think he’ll have a big impact and can be a 20 PPG scorer.
3. Brooklyn believes they have great competition on the wing with lots of guys that will fight for minutes, which is what they want.
4. (O) – Expect the starting lineup to be Mozgov, Carroll, LeVert, Russell and Lin. The lineup is small, but they went small most of last year.
5. Tried RFA route again with Otto Porter. “As long as we have cap space, it is worth it to try. Didn’t cost us anything and took a FA off the market and ate up a bunch of cap space for a team we eventually need to pass.”
- Charlotte Hornets
1. They wish Malik Monk had been able to go, but were not going to risk it. The exact quote was "Not even worth it a little bit."
2. They were impressed with Dwayne Bacon a lot, thus the two-year guaranteed deal. His mid-range game was probably the best thing he had. Especially later in the week. He'll log NBAGL time, but the team thinks they have a player in him.
3. Briante Weber was a disappointment. He struggled quite a bit offensively and wasn't as solid on defense as they hoped he would be.
4. They seem very excited to have Michael Carter-Wiliams coming in. They feel like MCW will help Monk a lot, because he can play off the ball and not have to worry about running the offense. And they like that he brings some more size to the backcourt.
5. The Hornets were happy with both Treveon Graham and Johnny O'Bryant throughout the week. They believe O'Bryant can become a Brandon Bass level player.
6. Anthony Gill was impressive and could be brought to camp, pending what else the team adds. Same with Kris Joseph.
7. Everyone believes Steve Clifford can get Dwight Howard playing back to form. They are excited about the tandem of him and Cody Zeller. I asked who would start and they were non-committal and gave standard "We'll figure it out in camp" type of quotes.
- Chicago Bulls
1. The Bulls think Kris Dunn and Cameron Payne will bring the best out of each other at point guard in competition.
2. Chicabgo believes Zach LaVine could be ready for start of year, but will not rush him. They obviously view him as a key piece in rebuild.
3. The Bulls aren’t sure who will start up front. “We’ll let them battle it out in camp and go from there.”
4. Lauri Markkanen should be a solid scorer right away. While he’s likely to come off the bench, he’ll play a lot.
- Cleveland Cavaliers
1. The Cavs’ offseason went as expected as they retained Kyle Korver, added a couple of vets (Jeff Green & Jose Calderon) and got Cedi Osman over.
2. It is unclear how much Cedi Osman will play initially with a pretty big logjam on the wing.
3. The Cavaliers would still like to talk about Carmelo Anthony, but will not gut roster to make it happen.
- Dallas Mavericks
1. Orlando notes: http://forums.realgm.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1592675
2. Dallas believes Dennis Smith Jr. could win ROY. He’s an “@%^-kicking mother-#@$%^&”.
3. Early on in Las Vegas, Smith got matched with Josh Jackson and his eyes got big and he got a big smile on his face and destroyed him off the dribble.
4. (O) – Smith is on a mission to make those who passed on him in the draft pay.
5. The Mavericks think Josh McRoberts will help some this year. “Dirk (Nowitzk) can’t play 82 games. McRoberts gives us some shooting and passing from that spot we didn’t have last year.”
6. They love Johnathan Motley and his intensity. He’s got a Two-Way contract, but will spend almost the entire year developing in the NBAGL.
- Denver Nuggets
1. The Nuggets are beyond excited to have Paul Millsap. “He changes everything for us. We’ll be a playoff time and these young guys need to experience that pressure to grow into something great.”
2. The Nuggets fully realize Nikola Jokic is the league’s best bargain, but “that only has one more year. We had to get Millsap now to take advantage before we pay the big guy.”
3. Denver wished it had worked out with Jusuf Nurkic but had to move on before it got unsalvageable.
4. They think their depth will make a major difference throughout a long season with 14 quality NBA players.
5. (O) – Expect Jameer Nelson to continue to start, but it might be somewhat token before Jamal Murray, or they hope, Emmanuel Mudiay slides in.
- Detroit Pistons
1. They were super impressed with Henry Ellenson. The quote that stood out was "He was brutal for most of last year. Barely functional in the NBAGL. But by the end of the year, he figured things out. He got in his own head too much. Once he started just playing, he was better."
2. They are really happy with Luke Kennard and that was part of what led to them moving on from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Kennard may not start this year with Avery Bradley now there, but he could be the starter long term.
3. The surprise of SL was Eric Moreland. He was one of the better bigs in Orlando for the week. That landed him a deal for camp that could turn into more.
4. This is a big year for Stanley Johnson. He needs to show real improvement on the offensive end. Most seem split on him.
5. Michael Gbinje was up and down. He's probably looking at some more NBAGL this year.
6. The Langston Galloway deal was a shock, but they think he'll be their top guard off the bench eventually. He may even start the year at the 2. They feel good about the backcourt with him added.
7. Don't be surprised if there is no other big move coming after the Bradley/Morris trade. They think if he's healthy from the jump, which he should be, Reggie Jackson will bounce back to form.
8. They are thrilled to have Avery Bradley. They believe he’ll help them towards an elite defense. And the intention is to sign him long-term.
- Golden State Warriors
1. The Warriors are very excited for Jordan Bell as they believe he can be their next super versatile guy, but realize it may take a year. He’ll log minutes in the G-League.
2. The Warriors think Damian Jones might get some backup center minutes, but he has to earn them.
3. (O) – Kevon Looney looks like he might not make it as he’s lost some athleticism and struggled at times.
4. Patrick McCaw played really well and will be a key rotation guy, likely replacing Ian Clark. “We need him to play, which sucks because he’s really good and it going to be really expensive to keep next summer.”
- Houston Rockets
1. The Rockets love the Chris Paul trade, but also excited to keep Nene and sign PJ Tucker. “They give us some toughness we didn’t have last year. They’ll fight a guy if they have to.”
2. Houston is still trying to put together something for Carmelo Anthony and think he’d fit in great as a version of “Olympics Melo” where he plays a secondary role.
3. Excited for both Cameron Oliver and Zhou Qi, but “there might not be enough minutes. They’ll both play with the Vipers (NBAGL) plenty. But they can both play.”
4. (O) - Isaiah Hartenstein is a long term project. He has size and touch, but needs lots of work on his body and to figure out how to play.
- Indiana Pacers
1. Everyone in Las Vegas was still talking about the Paul George trade. It was one of the first topics of every new conversation. As the two weeks of Summer League went on, most have been less critical of the Pacers’ return, as details come out that they weren’t getting great offers.
2. They were really hoping to get Georges Niang some run and see what he could do, but him tweaking his knee on day one ended that. He could also see some time this season.
3. T.J. Leaf was awful the first day, but figured it out pretty quickly. He has the potential to be good, but the team is concerned at least some with the crowd at PF with Leaf, Thaddeus Young and Domantas Sabonis.
4. Travis Leslie has a chance to make it back. Tremendous athlete. Needs to shoot it better, but he could camp with someone or play in the NBAGL if he doesn't get a big offer overseas.
5. Isaac Hamilton has a long way to go. He may not even be signed this year.
6. They think Darren Collison will help keep them competitive while they figure some things out and "We can always trade him. He's got a tradable deal" was the quote.
- Los Angeles Clippers
1. They think they’ve rebounded well from trading Chris Paul with good depth up and down the roster and more versatility.
2. “Gallo (Danilo Gallinari) is going to get close to 20 PPG. We haven’t had a scoring SF in forever.”
3. “Bev (Patrick Beverley) is going to give us some big time defense. CP was great on D, but Beverley is just as good.”
4. (O) - If they let him go, Milos Teodosic is going to be one of the most fun players in the league. Especially because:
5. They intend to play at a faster pace. A lot of their pace was controlled by Paul and he didn’t like to run.
- Los Angeles Lakers
1. The Lakers are beyond excited for Brandon Ingram’s improvement. He hasn’t added much weight, but he’s added a ton of strength. They believe he’ll be a 20 PPG sooner rather than later.
2. (O) - Lonzo Ball’s passing is unreal. He has that passing gene. Not just direct assists, but his ability to create hit ahead passes is amazing.
3. (O) – Ball will struggle to get his jumper off on the dribble. Not as much off a lefty dribble, because it comes right up into his shooting pocket perfectly. Off a righty dribble, his wind up is exaggerated and he’ll struggle to get the shot up against tight defense. On spot ups, he’ll be fine.
4. They believe Kyle Kuzma will be a rotation guy by the end of the year. He’s been very good in Las Vegas.
5. Julius Randle is going to have a monster year. Brook Lopez will give him space and Ball will find him. He’s also shredded. His body looks incredibly impressive.
- Memphis Grizzlies
1. Wayne Selden has stepped up big time. He’s barely left the gym since the end of the season. He may be the best SG on the Grizzlies’ roster.
2. They believe they have the depth to get through the injuries that have cropped up over the last few years after adding Tyreke Evans and Ben McLemore.
3. They believe they’ll keep JaMychal Green, but he could just sign the Qualifying Offer and be a UFA next summer.
4. Memphis openly talked about how much they will miss Zach Randolph and Vince Carter and “It isn’t just on the floor. In the locker room and community they are major losses. Not be morbid, but it feels like someone died if Tony (Allen) leaves too, man. Man.”
- Miami Heat
1. Orlando notes: http://forums.realgm.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=1592663
2. Gian Clavell might have played well enough to earn a camp invited. They loved his shooting and toughness.
3. Bam Adebayo should be ready to play backup center minutes and eventually could play some power forward next to Hassan Whiteside.
4. Expect Kelly Olynyk to start because they need his shooting in the starting five. But James Johnson may end up playing more minutes per game.
5. They believe they are clearly a playoff team but “We can’t do the #$%^ we did to start last year. That was embarrassing and cannot happen again.”
- Milwaukee Bucks
1. The Bucks love D.J. Wilson’s athleticism, but they know he will take some time. He should log time with the new G-League team.
2. Jabari Parker is working very hard, but they will not push him. Much like Khris Middleton, they’ll wait until he is clearly ready before letting him play.
3. Thon Maker is ready to make a big jump. He’s going to be a candidate for MIP.
4. They’ll continue to look for trades, as they do not want to be a tax paying team. Not with an extension looming for Parker.
5. They intend to use their new NBAGL team heavily. “We wanted one and got it for a reason. It will be a tool for us to develop our young guys. Injured guys can even play a ‘rehab’ game or two there too.”
- Minnesota Timberwolves
1. The Wolves think Justin Patton will be ready for camp, but won’t push him. There’s no need as they have enough depth up front.
2. Maybe more than any team, Minnesota wants the season to get started. “We added all these vets and all we lost was Ricky (Rubio) and Bazz (Shabazz Muhammad). Love those guys, but we upgraded big time.”
3. More on their excitement for the season: “Our young cats are good already. We would have been a playoff team anyway. Now we’ll get homecourt.”
4. They are still looking for wing depth, as they have none. But it will be a later on, minimum only type of guys.
- New Orleans Pelicans
1. The Pelicans are worried about their SF depth. “We need another guy. Maybe Q (Quincy Pondexter) can play, but we can’t count on that. Someone is gonna want to get on board.”
2. They think Jrue Holiday might be best at SG, but are happy with E’Twaun Moore and Jordan Crawford there. This was their logic in signing Rajon Rondo.
3. “Anthony Davis is going to be in the mix for MVP this year. We’ll be a playoff team and a good one too. He’s going to be right there. Write that down.”
4. They believe DeMarcus Cousins and Davis will be fine together because “They can both pass. But more importantly, they are willing passers. And both of them can shoot it too. Underrated shooters from the outside.”
- New York Knicks
1. They were really happy to bring back Ron Baker. Buzz was he wanted to play Summer League, but the Knicks shut that down quickly.
2. Team folks seem a bit split on Frank Ntilikina. Some think he was Phil Jackson's guy and with Phil gone, they aren't all 100% sold. But that is pretty common. They were hoping to have him play the last couple of games, but decided it wasn't worth it.
3. Marshall Plumlee had a rough week. He ended up getting cut and one person said "That was a waste of $100k".
4. Chasson Randle had a rough week as well. If the team lands another PG, Randle might be gone.
5. The team expected to have another PG signed by now. They had interest in several of the vets out there, but none were overly interested in playing placeholder for Ntlikina.
6. Don't expect to see Louis Labeyrie ever in anything beyond a SL uniform. The quote was "What a waste of a pick. He has all the potential in the world, but just doesn't get it at all."
7. They love Luke Kornet. While most see him as a just a stretch 4, they were impressed with his finishing around the rim and he showed better than expected athleticism.
8. Damyean Dotson has a ways to go and will log considerable time in the NBAGL this year.
9. Ognjen Jaramaz showed some nice skills. He'll likely develop overseas for the next couple of years.
10. Nigel Hayes may get a camp deal and then assigned to the NBAGL as an Affiliate Player (different from the new two-way contract). He needs to improve, but showed enough for that. Same with Jamel Artis and possibly Canyon Barry.
11. The sense is that nothing big can get done until they resolve the Melo situation. Even the Hardaway offer sheet was a surprise. The number one question every FA asked was "Is Melo staying?" and that makes it hard to land anyone.
- Oklahoma City Thunder
1. The Paul George trade caught the entire NBA world by surprise. No one saw it coming. It was the buzz of the first day of SL. Obviously, everyone in OKC is excited to have him.
2. Follow up comment on PG13 was "At the very worst we cleared some not so great salary off the books. Can't beat that!"
3. Dakari Johnson had another strong SL, but the overall impression is that he's unlikely to ever crack and NBA roster.
4. Vince Hunter was terrific. He will go to training camp with someone, as scouts from several teams liked what he did this week.
5. They said they intended to upgrade at backup PG, ideally with someone who could play with Russ some. They did that with signing Raymond Felton.
6. Terrance Ferguson has a long way to go. Good athlete and shoots it ok, but he has a lot of work to do. He'll spend most, if not all, of his game action in the NBAGL.
- Orlando Magic
1. Marcus Georges-Hunt might have been the best player in Orlando. He was excellent all week long. Jeff Weltman was very happy with the way he played. He's also basically lived at the facility since the end of the year, working on his body and his game.
2. Jonathan Isaac was solid on defense and on the boards. His jumper was off most of the week. Both he and the team recognize the rest of the summer needs to be spent working on his body and his shot. The hip injury is of no concern.
3. Wesley Iwundu was bad. He struggled a lot and was visibly worn out at the end of the week. He will log considerable NBAGL time.
4. Patricio Garino did some things. He's got some versatility and good size for his position.
5. Stephen Zimmerman obviously struggled and was ultimately waived. Most feel he's not strong enough, nor skilled enough, to be an NBA player.
6. They loved all three PGs they had on the squad in Kalin Lucas, Derrick Walton Jr and Josh Gray. Chad Forcier believes all three deserve a shot at the NBA. Good bet at least one camps with Orlando.
7. Free agency going slowly was somewhat by design. Jeff Weltman said the team will not rush and will not be reckless in building the roster. They will take their time to do things the right way.
- Philadelphia 76ers
1. “J.J. (Redick) and Amir (Johnson) are our grownups this year like Gerald (Henderson) was last year. But those two can play and will help us a lot.
2. Philadelphia has major plans for Amir Johnson to help push all the young bigs. “Our guys are all super skilled, but they aren’t always the smartest and toughest because they are young. Amir will teach that to them.”
3. The 76ers still plan to let Ben Simmons be the main facilitator, but have backed off the point guard talk some. Sounds more like they want to just be position-less and just play.
4. They were worried and bummed out about Markelle Fultz getting hurt in Las Vegas. It happened right in front of me and looked really bad. All were thrilled it was nothing serious.
5. The 76ers think Fultz can probably score 10-15 PPG right off the jump because of his multiple ways to score. The question will be his defense. “Can’t get beat and hope for the comeback block every time. Won’t work here (NBA).”
6. They are excited for Furkan Korkmaz, but he may not play much. “We have a lot of guys in front of him and he’s young and needs to work on his body. But he’s not afraid and can shoot it. We’ll see how it plays out.”
7. They want to get something done with Joel Embiid extension-wise, but are content to let it play out for now. They fully expect it to take a max deal or matching a max offer sheet. They probably won’t allow it to get to the offer sheet point.
- Phoenix Suns
1. The Suns think Dragan Bender is ready for a big year. “The game was just way too fast for him last year. He’s adjusted and you can see him making plays now.”
2. Marquese Chriss is coming along quickly but “He’s gotta add consistent range on his jumper. He’s got all the tools. It will come eventually.”
3. Phoenix is really excited for Josh Jackson. They think he’ll play because of his defense and ability to run the floor, but his halfcourt offensive game will take time to develop.
4. The Suns are thrilled to bring Alan Williams back. They think he’ll play a bigger role this year. With the right minutes, the Suns believe he would lead the league in rebounding.
- Portland Trail Blazers
1. Zach Collins showed some stuff, but he needs a lot of work. Portland has solid depth and he can take a year or two to develop.
2. Caleb Swanigan is more ready to play now than Collins. “Zach (Collins) is the better prospect long term, but Caleb (Swanigan) can play now. He’s not afraid of anyone and he’ll bang. And he’s working on adding range to his jumper.”
3. The Blazers really had hoped to use a pick to shed a contract, but found no takers. “We weren’t going to give up all our assets. The contracts and tax are tough to swallow, but not impossible. Better to ride it out than waste assets.”
4. They plan to use Evan Turner on the ball a lot more. “It took us half the year to figure out how to use him. Once we did, we took off as a team. He’s basically our backup PG now. He’ll have a much better year.”
- Sacramento Kings
1. “We had the best draft of anyone. We got three guys who will all be long term rotation pieces. No one else can say that.”
2. The Kings are really excited for De’Aaron Fox/George Hill pairing. Fox will back up Hill initially, but they can also play together too. With some depth lacking at SF, they’ll go three guards with Fox, Hill and Buddy Hield.
3. “We added the vets because too many young guys isn’t great in a locker room. Philly learned that the hard way. We kept the deals reasonable, so it won’t hurt us. And all three are great teachers.”
4. They think they can push for the playoffs, but aren’t stating that as a goal at this point. “We just want to be exciting and improve. We believe we have done both.”
- San Antonio Spurs
1. (O) – I very much got the sense something bigger was planned. They didn’t get guys to opt out to add just Rudy Gay and Joffrey Lauvergne. But they can still finagle the cap to do something big.
2. Brandon Paul is going to be a steal for them. He was very good overseas last year and in Summer League. He’s the next great Spurs find.
3. They are worried about depth up front. While they’re still looking at options there, Pau Gasol will be back for sure and probably Lee. Boris Diaw could return as well now htat he’s a free agent.
- Toronto Raptors
1. Once healthy, OG Anunoby could be the long term starter at SF. “He gives us toughness and defense. If his shot comes along, he’s a lock eventually.”
2. They think Delon Wright and Norman Powell are both ready for bigger roles. They wanted to keep PJ Tucker and Cory Joseph, but had to go in a different direction because the tax would have gotten crazy.
3. Toronto is really excited they kept Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. “We have a great core. If we’re healthy, we’re in the mix with Cleveland and Boston at the top of the East.”
- Utah Jazz
1. The Jazz were clearly sad to see Gordon Hayward leave but “We rebounded nicely. Kept Joe (Ingles) and some others on the way (turned out to be Jonas Jerebko, Thabo Sefolosha and Ekpe Udoh). Our defense will carry us, but we might have to work a bit more to create offense. But Rodney (Hood) will step up big time.”
2. They think Donovan Mitchell will be a big time star. “He’s going to be like Dame (Damian Lillard) or CJ (McCollum) with the way he’ll score the ball. We traded up for a reason and that is because this kid has star written all over him.”
3. The Jazz believe Rudy Gobert can carry more offensive responsibility, while remaining the best defender in the NBA.
4. “Ricky (Rubio) is going to help us a lot. We need a little flash occasionally. Sometimes we were too structured. And he’s a great fit with our defense.”
- Washington Wizards
1. The Wizards had to match Otto Porter. “We couldn’t replace him. Nothing left to give out and we weren’t overpaying for (Bojan) Bogdanovic. Otto is fine value for what we paid. He keeps getting better.”
2. Kelly Oubre Jr. is putting in work on his shot. “He’s going to be even better. He gets a bad rap at times, but he’s a tough kid who works hard. Sure he lost it on (Kelly) Olynyk, but enough was enough.”
3. Washington is disappointed John Wall hasn’t signed the DPVE, but they understand why. “We’ll get it done. He wants to be here. We want him here. This isn’t ending ugly.”
4. The Wizards predicted a big year for Jodie Meeks. “If he’s healthy, he’s one of the best shooters in the game. Best thing is with him behind Brad (Beal), we don’t have to change the offense at all. He can run all the same routes as Brad does.”
5. Washington was amazed they could get Tim Frazier so cheaply. They believe he’ll give them a quality backup behind Wall, which they have lacked for a while now.