Summer League continued Tuesday in Orlando with three games of varying intrigue.
You do not want to put a whole lot of stock into results or into statistics coming out of these game,s but there is still quite a bit we can learn. And, as I noted yesterday, lots of storylines to follow. We will be trying to keep track of them as the week goes on with these daily recaps of Summer League action.
KCP is the truth
We have talked about Kentavious Caldwell-Pope several times already this week. He is in line to be the MVP of the week with his scoring ability and the way he has dominated games. It is hard not to miss him.
Tuesday was not his best game. He did not shoot the ball well — 8 for 20 and just 3 for 10 from beyond the arc. He still scored decently in getting 26 points for the game.
Caldwell-Pope was hard to miss though. He eventually found his rhythm in the fourth quarter and made the pull-up 3-pointer that won the Pistons the game (perhaps cementing themselves as the best team in the Summer League). That came with six seconds left and came with a lot of emotion.
Caldwell-Pope will not get 20 field goal attempts in the Pistons offense during the regular season. This is not the player he will become in the end. But the Pistons like to see how aggressive and confident he was playing and has played this entire week.
It is noticeable that Caldwell-Pope is looking for his shot. The Pistons have to want to see him be aggressive and gain confidence. Even as he missed shots Tuesday, Caldwell-Pope kept at it and played his role on this team. His shot eventually fell and in a big moment.
Highlight of the Day: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Scottie Wilbekin’s guarantee
Scottie Wilbekin was seen as a potential late second round pick before the draft. The veteran point guard really grew into his role at Florida and eventually led them to the top overall seed and a trip to the Final Four last year. He was a solid defender, a great leader and a capable shooter and scorer. His play was not elite by any means though.
Wilbekin had to prove himself this week at Summer League.
Tuesday was a great day for that. Wilbekin stood toe to toe with Victor Oladipo for most of the game. Oladipo struggled to shoot with just 4 makes in 12 attempts. Wilbekin posted seven points, five assists and three steals in a very efficient and solid performance off the bench.
During Summer League, Wilbekin has not put up great numbers. He had scored just two points in the first two games before this point. His shot looked a bit shaky and he seemed to struggle with the increased physicality. Things clicked against the Magic and he helped Memphis push through.
The good news for him is it is starting to sound like the Grizzlies will give him a closer look at training camp despite all of this. Between Wilbekin and Kalin Lucas, there were some impressive defensive performances put on. A reason to believe the Grizzlies will keep one of the two moving forward.
Guy You Should Know: Jahii Carson
The Rockets fell to the 76ers, but point guard Jahii Carson continues to put in a solid showing at Summer League. Maybe not good enough to get an NBA invite, but he has been noticeable with his energy and production.
Carson scored 18 points on 4-for-9 shooting. He got to the line 11 times for nine makes there.
Carson is not a pass-first point guard by any means. He is not dishing the ball very well but he can put the ball in the basket and get to the rim. That is what the Rockets probably want to see. This is not a roster with many potential roster guys.
Noel’s second run
Nerlens Noel got the second game of the Sixers run off and returned to action today.
Noel scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds on 3-for-6 shooting. He was not as active or noticeable as he was in the first game. But he still recorded three blocks and four steals again. He is a good defender and is going to be active. Conditioning and timing are probably still an issue.
It is hard not to run into thoughts on him or forget Noel is out there with that flat top.
Noel is not going to have to prove everything once the season starts.
Summer League Power Rankings
1. Pistons (3-0, 17 points)
2. Grizzlies (2-1, 16 points)
3. Magic (2-1, 15 points)
4. Heat (1-2, 12.5 points)
5. 76ers (2-1, 15 points)
6. Thunder (1-2, 10 points)
7. Pacers (1-1, 8 points)
8. Nets (1-2, 7 points)
9. Celtics (1-1, 8 points)
10. Rockets (0-3, 3.5 points)
All Summer League Team