LAS VEGAS — The Warriors wrapped up Las Vegas Summer League on Monday with a 91-77 win over the Suns to take home the first ever championship trophy in the event’s history.
Undrafted rookie Ian Clark was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, after putting on a red-hot shooting display that netted him a game-high 33 points in 28 minutes, 19 of which came in the second quarter.
“My teammates kept looking for me,” Clark said afterward. “I made sure I spaced the floor out to let guys like [Kent Bazemore] and [Draymond Green] do what they need to do. And if they needed me, I’d be ready.”
He was more than ready.
The 33 points was a Las Vegas Summer League high for all 61 games played, and his seven three-pointers tied an all-time record set by Anthony Morrow with the Warriors back in 2009.
This wasn’t Clark’s first Summer League go around, however, as he played for the Miami Heat’s team in Orlando the week before the Vegas event kicked off. He was equally stellar there, averaging 16.4 points per game while earning second team all-league honors.
“Definitely [it helped], getting my first taste of the NBA Summer League playing in Orlando, playing with Miami, their coaching staff also had the utmost confidence in me and let me play,” Clark said. “And I just tried to carry that over here.”
Clark is hopeful that his combined performances will be enough to earn him a training camp invite somewhere.
“Hopefully pretty good,” he said, when asked what he thought his chances were of catching on with a team for training camp. “I try not to pay attention or worry about what I can’t control. I just come out and play basketball and do what my coaches tell me to do, and play well.”
Clark played particularly well in this one. The Suns had no one to match his torrid shooting, and simply couldn’t knock down the open looks that they had to keep pace. Thanks to Clark, Golden State ended up knocking down 42.3 percent of its shots from three-point distance, while Phoenix countered with just 29.4 percent, on nine fewer attempts.
The level of play was intense if nothing else, and the fact that something even with as little meaning as a Summer League title was on the line certainly mattered to the players on both teams. The defense was fierce, especially inside, and it was clear from the outset that guys wanted to leave Vegas with the victory.
But Clark was the wild card that gave the Warriors the edge they needed to take home the title.
A few final notes from Vegas Summer League:
– Kendall Marshall was benched to start the second half of this one in favor of Diante Garrett, after struggling on both ends of the floor in the first two quarters. He’s shown some signs of being able to initiate the new uptempo offense the Suns want to run this season under new coach Jeff Hornacek, but there still appear to be too many deficiencies in his game to see him getting regular minutes in the rotation next season, especially with the emergence of rookie Archie Goodwin.
– Jonas Valanciunas was named Summer League MVP, after posting averages of 18.8 points and 10.0 rebounds in four games for the Raptors.
– Here is your 2013 All-Summer League team, as announced by the NBA Monday night:
Kent Bazemore – Warriors
Jonas Valanciunas – Raptors
Jeff Taylor – Bobcats
John Henson – Bucks
Cody Zeller – Bobcats