The Daily Deal: July 15
Each day, NBADLeague.com will be in Las Vegas to cover all of the Summer League action, focusing on the top NBA D-League alums that are trying to make an impact on their respective teams in order to earn a spot on an NBA roster.
After two days of games taking place only at COX Pavilion on the campus of University of Nevada - Las Vegas, Sunday marked the first time that the NBA Summer League expanded to UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center, not to mention the debut of the NBA D-League Select Team. And more hoops meant more eyes on Prospects. Find out what you might've missed here.
1. BRAD WANAMAKER -- GUARD -- ATLANTA HAWKS
Wanamaker, whose play down the stretch -- and especially in the Finals -- for Austin factored heavily in the Toros' title, gave one of the day's most efficient performances and showed just why the Hawks find him such an intriguing prospect at the point. Sure, he only scored nine points (compared to teammate and fellow Top Prospect Keith Benson's 20), but he needed just four shots to do so, driving his way to five (made) foul shots. Meanwhile, he racked up eight assists (second-most among all players on the day), to go along with seven rebounds, all in just 28 minutes. If he plays 35, he's closing in on a triple-double.
2. KEITH BENSON -- FORWARD/CENTER -- ATLANTA HAWKS
In his first action with the Hawks since he was drafted 48th overall in 2011, then promptly cut without playing a game, Benson's finally looking like the player Atlanta was after all along. Bigger and stronger than he was last year, he followed up Friday's 19-point, 6-rebound night with a 20-point, 6-board night against the Spurs on Sunday. He went 9-for-13 from the field to lower his Summer League shooting percentage to a frigid 72 percent.
3. ERIC DAWSON -- FORWARD -- SAN ANTONIO SPURS
Dawson was one of six players to record a double-double on Sunday, and one of three to do so with rebounds (Toronto's Ed Davis and former NBA D-Leaguer Lance Thomas were the others). The day's leader in boards (13) and reigning NBA D-League Impact Player of the Year muscled his way around the interior against the Hawks to continue his breakout 2012.
The Wizards, who'd played games on Friday and Saturday, left the half with a 37-28 lead on the Select Team. Looking crisp compared to the NBA D-League team's 25.7-percent shooting clip through the first 20 minutes (on 9-for-35 shooting), Washington looked like the more prepared team.
About seven minutes later, they were down, 49-43.
Using a pair of 3-pointers from Andre Emmett (who finished with a team-high 17 points and four assists) and one from center Chris Daniels, not to mention a defensive effort that (not coincidentally) doubled in intensity after coach Eric Musselman had a chance to lightly roast his team at the half, the Select Team blew out to a 21-5 run to start the quarter before going on to win.
The Select teamís after a lot more than respect, of course, but by out-working the Wizards over the final 20, they earned some on Sunday.
Portland 85, New Orleans 81: Sunday's final game featured a half-dozen big performances, including one from NBA D-League alum Luke Babbitt, who notched a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds to help the Trail Blazers hold off a Hornets club that got a bolt off the bench from Denzel Bowles, who blew up for 18 points and 12 rebounds in just 19 minutes of action.
While former Austin Toro Lance Thomas went for 12 and 11 for the Hornets, two of the NBA D-League's best Prospects didn't fair quite as well, with Nawlins' Jerome Dyson going 1-for-5 from the floor (though he did finish at plus-11) and 2011-12 D-League leading rebounder Marcus Lewis grabbing just one board in 7:27 for Portland.
"I've been playing against Keith in the D-League. He's a really good player. I just had to match his physicality and play harder ... throughout the course of the game. Just keep fighting and not give up" - Spurs and former Austin Toros forward Eric Dawson on his matchup with the current Hawks and former Sioux Falls Skyforce center.
MUST WATCH VIDEO
WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS
5-foot-9 Cleveland Cavaliers guard T.J. Campbell -- formerly of the Canton Charge -- stands in front of 7-foot Cavs rookie Tyler Zeller, a first-round Draft pick and brother of Austin Toros alum Luke Zeller. (Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images)
ON THE HORIZON
1) The NBA D-League Select team gets to see things a little more from the Wizards' perspective on Monday, when they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers at 8 p.m., which means two games in fewer than 24 hours. If the team can pick up another win -- and shut down the Cavs' offense the way they did to the Wiz in Sunday's second half -- it'll go a long way toward proving these guys have conditioned themselves into NBA shape.
2) After a blistering last month of the NBA D-League season and a performance at Elite Camp that melted a few scouts' smartphones, former Dakota Wizards guard Stefhon Hannah rocketed to the top of our Top Prospect Board. See him in action for the first time at Summer League when his Bucks take on the Hornets at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 PT.
3) The showdown between Atlanta and Boston at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT at COX Pavilion features 14 NBA D-League alums, including a low-post battle between Boston's Sean Williams and the scorching hot Benson.