And last year’s No. 2 pick, D’Angelo Russell, drained the game-winner. Here’s what was buzzing around the second day of Las Vegas Summer League:
Vegas Summer League buzz: Day 1
‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’
Jaylen Brown sat out two games at the Utah Jazz summer league after suffering a bone bruise on his knee in his debut Monday. He admitted to being a step slow Saturday, but also stressed those that doubt his draft position only motivate him more.
“Everything is fuel to the fire,” Brown said. “It’s all about getting better. I’ve said it before, I’m not trying to be cocky, I don’t care about the pick; I want to be a top-3 player one day. So I’m going to keep getting better. Rome wasn’t built in a day. The biggest room in the world is a room for improvement.”
— Chris Forsberg, ESPN
No more Mr. Nice Guy?
The Bulls’ offseason makeover has been a major topic of conversation among the coaches and scouts at the summer league this week. Consider them generally skeptical about how well newcomers Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade will mesh with Jimmy Butler and Chicago’s holdovers.
In particular, the consensus seems to be that Fred Hoiberg will have his hands full with the big personalities in his locker room. Hoiberg may be too nice to coach this team.
— Kevin Pelton, ESPN Insider
A raucous crowd at summer league?
‘MVP’ Larry Nance Jr. steals show in Las Vegas
With a trio of top-two picks on the court, it was the unsung second-year forward who fired up the crowd and led the comeback for the Lakers.
Jerami Grant turns heads with posterizing dunk in Summer League
Philadelphia 76ers forward Jerami Grant had one of the many highlights of the hyped summer league game against the Los Angeles Lakers with a huge dunk over Ivica Zubac.
2016 NBA summer league: Full coverage
The regular season is still a few months away, but prospects, second-year players and roster hopefuls are already on display during the NBA summer league. Follow along with our coverage.
Saturday broke a single-day attendance record for NBA summer league in Las Vegas. The total count for both gyms was 16,208. That tops the previous record of 12,422 set on July 10, 2015.
— Baxter Holmes, ESPN
Sixers summer league coach Lloyd Pierce on the crowd for Lakers-Sixers: “Unbelievable. I talked to the guys in there (in the Sixers locker room afterward) that there are 82 of these during the season. This is a great first step, especially for Ben [Simmons], just for everybody. The crowd, to feel the energy, one-point game. I don’t know how you can start summer league better than that, other than to get the win.”
— Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN
Worth a shot
Jonathon Simmons is working to change his jumper by keeping the ball away from his face, which will result in the second-year man’s form being “taller” when he releases the ball. The bulk of the work done to improve Simmons’ shot has been performed by Spurs assistant Chip Engelland and Marlon Garnett, a player development/video coordinating assistant who is also serving as an assistant on the Las Vegas Summer League squad.
— Michael C. Wright, ESPN
A Buddy by any other name…
Don’t worry about coming up with a nickname for New Orleans Pelicans rookie Buddy Hield. He already has three that he’s been cycling through since college: “Buddy Fresh,” “Buddy Love” and “Buddy Buckets.”
After a 5-for-20 performance in his debut Friday, Hield promised to put on the appropriate persona for the follow-up Sunday against the Utah Jazz: “It’s Buddy Buckets tomorrow.”
— Justin Verrier, ESPN
Checking in on Utah’s Trey Lyles
Having already played a few games in the Utah Summer League, Trey Lyles continues to show he has a well-grooved spot in an NBA rotation — a big shooter who can use shot-fake attack moves comfortably. His game is mostly about being a shooter, even when he posts up.
As for his foundation, that’s fine. Even if Lyles does not add more to his game, he has a place in the Jazz rotation with room to grow. His shot looks very good, with solid mechanics and pace. Which is good because Lyles isn’t shy about taking 2s and 3s.
— David Thorpe, ESPN Insider
All in the family
Nuggets-Grizzlies clearly was not the main event. Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram were facing off in the other gym, and Emmanuel Mudiay had bowed out of the rest of Denver’s summer league stretch. And yet, famed LeBron James business partner Maverick Carter was in the audience, sitting courtside and staying until the end.
The reason? Nuggets summer leaguer and former Wichita State Shocker Darius Carter is Carter’s cousin. The lanky forward was kept on the bench until garbage time in the fourth quarter, when his first contribution was a putback that garnered a pointing celebration from Carter.
“We’re family,” Darius Carter said after the game. “That’s what we do.”
— Ethan Sherwood Strauss, ESPN