2013 Las Vegas Summer League: What to watch on Day 10
The 2013 Las Vegas Summer League is here, and we've got the players and teams to watch on Day 10. Here are the developing storylines.
We're down to just four teams and three games left in the Las Vegas Summer League. With the new tournament-style format, we've been allowed to concentrate better on the games as the competition becomes more centralized. We saw four good games on Saturday, and even though a lot of the teams held out their NBA players, we still had close games to satiate those looking for some solid basketball.
Can the Golden State Warriors continue their winning ways in the summer? Are the Miami Heat just going to keep winning everything as they continue to advance? Will the Phoenix Suns and Charlotte Bobcats have enough talent left to win this whole thing? Let's take a look at Sunday's storylines for Las Vegas Summer League.
6 p.m. ET -- Miami Heat vs. Phoenix Suns
Andrew Han of ClipperBlog asked an interesting question Saturday night on Twitter: what is the difference between Travis Leslie and Kent Bazemore? Leslie, a former second-round pick of the Los Angeles Clippers in 2011, has been playing for the Heat's summer league team in Las Vegas and has played well. He's averaging 10.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in 16.2 minutes in Vegas. He's made 57.5 percent of his shots too. When you compare bodies, they're the same height and Leslie's wingspan (6-foot-10 1/2) is just slightly shorter than Bazemore's (6-foot-11 1/2).
Is it possible to take a player like Leslie and try to mold him into a specialized role player like the Warriors are doing with Bazemore? The biggest difference between the two is that on offense Bazemore is much more comfortable moving the ball with either a pass or a dribble. Leslie seems pretty limited in that respect. But defensively, Leslie could take advantage of a similar wingspan and turn into a specialist on the court. If he wants to catch on with a team, that's probably his best way to go.
While the majority of the focus for the Suns' summer roster has been on the duo of Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris, there has been a wing player catching the eye of quite a few people once again. It's not Archie Goodwin or Kendall Marshall, either; it's Dionte Christmas, who had a great summer session last season, which earned him a two-year, partially guaranteed contract with the Boston Celtics before being waived in training camp. Christmas is averaging 12.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 20.8 minutes while shooting 48.8 percent from the field.
He spent last season in both Russia playing for CSKA Moscow and Montepaschi Siena in the Italian League. In 2012, he was the top scorer in the Greek League. He's certainly played well enough for the Suns' summer league team to earn a training camp invite from a few teams.
8 p.m. ET -- Charlotte Bobcats vs. Golden State Warriors
The Charlotte Bobcats sat all of their NBA players and still were led by Jerome Dyson to a victory over the D-League Select team. Dyson's had a nice summer league so far, showing he can run a basketball team. He's averaging 5.0 assists in 24.8 minutes and has also contributed 11.8 points. He's struggling to make 3-pointers (18.2 percent) and free throws (57.6 percent) and the turnovers (3.2) are a little high, but he's looked better and better as the week moves along and the roster of quality players has thinned out for his team.
The former University of Connecticut point guard played two seasons in the D-League from 2010-12 and had a very brief stint with the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012. He spent last season in the Israeli League with Hapoel Holon. Dyson may not get any serious consideration with a training camp invite this fall, but he'll have to decide between trying to go through the system of the D-League again or take more money and play overseas.
Somebody break up the Summer Warriors! They've won 12 straight games in summer league, dating to 2010, and advanced to the semifinals of this Las Vegas tournament after outlasting the Lakers in a pretty good game. Bazemore struggled taking care of the ball with seven turnovers, but he made up for it with 26 points in the victory. The Bazemore experiment of using him as a playmaker has had some mixed reviews. He's playing incredibly well just as a presence out there on both ends of the floor, but his assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.6 to 3.6 hasn't been good.
He may not be ready to handle any type of backup point guard duties, which would then fall on the recently signed Toney Douglas, but that doesn't mean they can't use him as a backup wing player who comes in as a defensive force that isn't a liability on offense. The development of Bazemore over the last two summer leagues has been impressive. And he gets to help his team continue the streak with a victory on Sunday that would let his team vie for the LVSL title on Monday.
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