It was quite a different scene from the big boys matchup we see in the regular season.
The Spurs and Lakers met for a rumble to kick off Thursday at NBA Summer League Las Vegas. Still there were some things of note.
- Alonzo Gee, a D-League call-up to the Wizards who later signed with the Spurs (he played for the Spurs’ D-League affiliate Toros) continued his overwhelmingly impressive play, even with a diminished line. 10 points on 4 of 12 shooting certainly doesn’t sound like much, but it was how Gee was able to get to the rim whenever he wanted, and his vision in both the full and halfcourt sets. His halfcourt game was remarkably improved today, as he played more as a combo-forward, backing down smaller players and whipping past larger ones. Gee looks primed for a breakout season off the Spurs’ bench.
- Gerald Green stole the show for the Lakers, and finished with 18 points on 8 of 17 shooting, seven rebounds and the play of a game: a block on a corner three attempt that utilized every inch of his canoe-like frame. Green showed off the same athleticism that got him into the league and made him one of the elite dunkers in the league (remember the cupcake dunk?). But he also focused on leadership and elusiveness. Finishing with no turnovers certainly helped, as did responding from a cold streak in the second quarter.
- The surprise was Gary Neal for the Spurs, an overseas player out of Towson. Neal finished with 20 points on 8 of 16 shooting, including 4 of 9 from the arc. Neal especially showed off elite perimeter speed, and his baseline screen cuts almost always gave him wide open looks with feet to spare. With his lack of size, Neal needs to look more for assists to prove he can play points, but it was an especially strong outing for him.
- Derrick Caracter had a quiet game with 10 points, 6 boards and 7 fouls, but showed a lot of promise, as he’s done throughout Summer League. His frame is well suited to play inside, and the raw materials are definitely there, as all the scouts in town will tell you.
Bucks guard Sterling Brown said he’d sue the Milwaukee police department over his tasing and arrest last January. The now-filed lawsuit makes the involved police officers look even worse than videos of the incident already did.
Somehow, J.R. Smith and his gaffe in Game of the NBA Finals got involved.
Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post:
Lowery posted the full lawsuit here.
There is a systematic problem where police too frequently trample on the rights of people, disproportionately minorities. Celebrating that intrusion of governmental forces is disgusting and speaks to the mindset that fuels the problem.
A few suspensions won’t fix the problem. Brown’s lawsuit won’t fix the problem.
But, hopefully, it sheds light on the bigger issue and is a step toward a solution. Unfortunately, history suggests the city will settle and just views it as a cost of doing business.
It appears increasingly likely the Suns will draft DeAndre Ayton No. 1 and the Kings will take Marvin Bagley No. 2.
So, Luka Doncic – once more of a consensus top-two prospect – could fall.
All the way to the Mavericks at No. 5? They apparently hope so.
Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN:
Dallas at five, they’re asking themselves, “Can we stay at five and get Luka Doncic, or do we have to move up to get the player?” Because that is the guy they have targeted for the Mavericks.
I doubt Doncic gets past the Grizzlies at No. 4, though I wouldn’t rule it out. The Hawks could even take him at No. 3.
Could Dallas trade up with Atlanta at No. 3 to get Doncic ahead of Memphis? What about swapping picks with the Grizzlies, maybe even taking Chandler Parsons‘ toxic contract (though that’d come with complications)?
This is a common situation. The Mavericks have the No. 5 pick. They want a player most people rate higher than fifth. Many teams want players rated higher than where they’re drafting.
The big question: What will Dallas do about it?
Chris Paul is reportedly recruiting LeBron James very hard to the Rockets.
Stephen A. Smith of ESPN:
According to my sources, several things are happening. A, Chris Paul is telling folks Lebron ain’t trying to come to Houston. He wants to be in L.A. These are things I’m getting through the grapevine. Chris Paul is saying LeBron wants to be in L.A.
That’s quite believable. LeBron reportedly said he doesn’t like Houston as a city, and we know he likes Los Angeles. Lifestyle matters.
But it won’t be the only consideration. LeBron is still in “championship mode,” and the Rockets are closer than anyone to beating the Warriors. Perhaps, Paul can still convince his friend to join Houston.
But it sounds as if Paul recognizes he’s playing from behind – and so are all other non-Lakers suitors for LeBron.
The Clippers have (an ideally healthier) Patrick Beverley at point guard. Lou Williams and Austin Rivers are comfortable as lead ball-handlers. With the No. 12 or 13 pick, L.A. could add another point guard – Trae Young, Collin Sexton or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Where does that leave Milos Teodosic, a 31-year-old who’s coming off a rookie season in which he missed 37 games while dealing with a foot injury?
O. Cauchi of Sportando:
The Los Angeles Clippers, in fact, are not planning to keep the Serbian point guard for the next season, a league source told Sportando.
his health is one of the main concerns behind Clippers’ decision, a source told Sportando. The team would love to add a younger player in that position and fear that Teodosic’s foot issue won’t be fixed easily, sources told Sportando.
Teodosic holds a $6.3 million player option for next season, but just $2.1 million is guaranteed until July 15. He ought to opt in and collect his $2.1 million before moving on. And if he opts in, maybe the Clippers strike out in free agency, don’t need the additional cap flexibility and keep him.
If they go through with waiving him, Teodosic could land with another NBA team or return to Europe. His foot issues could determine whether another NBA team wants him.
Teodosic is a wonderfully creative passer and good shooter. He’s also a woeful defender, and foot problems would only set him back further.