The Daily Deal: July 17
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.
With the conclusion of Tuesday, we're past the halfway point of NBA Summer League. But with the way a few Prospects played today, there's still a ton to look forward to -- especially the way former L.A. D-Fender Malcolm Thomas follows up his Summer League debut.
1. MALCOLM THOMAS -- FORWARD -- CHICAGO BULLS
So, turns out Thomas can rebound against NBA players, too. He didn't have the 25 boards that he ripped down during Game 1 of the NBA D-League Finals last April, but he still managed to grab a paltry 13 for the game, to go along with 10 points and three blocks. Spending a good portion of the night out-jumping Jared Sullinger, Thomas brandished the timing and positioning of a guy who could clean the boards against full NBA rosters, not to mention the ability to get the ball out in transition immediately after bringing it down. He's played for more clubs than Drake in the past year, but it seems like he might've found his fit.
2. DONALD SLOAN -- GUARD -- CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
Sloan didn't completely cut up the Suns' defense on Tuesday -- with only one assist to his name -- but he proved that his night against the NBA D-League Select Team on Monday wasn't a fluke. He ran point for the Cavs for most of the game (his 28:29 were the most minutes on the team), initiating the offense with spark and poise and didn't turn the ball over a single time. His ability to get into the lane and find the open shooter will come in handy at this level, and now that he's getting consistent minutes, he's proving it.
3. MYCHEL THOMPSON -- GUARD/FORWARD -- NEW YORK KNICKS
The hyper-athletic Thompson could have snared a few more rebounds (he finished with two), but he disrupted the Denver offense all day, using his quickness and length to pick up three steals along the way. He finished with seven points.
If you need to see the penetration that the NBA D-League has had in the NBA game, look no further than a moment in the third quarter of the Cleveland-Phoenix game where four of the five players that the Cavs had on the floor had NBA D-League experience. The Cavs had NBA D-League alums T.J. Campbell, D.J. Kennedy, Luke Harangody and Garrett Temple on the floor with Michael Eric.
The Cavaliers, who have seven players with NBA D-League experience on their roster and are 2-1 so far in Summer League, made seven GATORADE Call-Ups in 2011-12 and the organizationís investment in NBA D-League players appears to be strong.
Boston 79, Chicago 74: When two teams with a whole lot invested in their Summer squads met, the results...paid dividends!
For Top Prospect purposes, Thomas' double-double led the way, but Boston's Jamar Smith continued his breakout run at both Summer Leagues, putting up 11 points with an assist and a steal, while the Bulls' Edwin Ubiles -- the 2011-12 NBA D-League Rookie of the Year -- pulled down four rebounds and hit a three on a night when he struggled to get in the flow, but looked capable handling the ball.
"It's very good. That's key for a guy like me. I think I'm a rhythm guy, so I won't say it takes me a while to start up, but it does take me a while to get going. And to be out there for five minutes, I don't really think that's gonna let you see what I can do." - Cleveland Cavaliers point guard and NBA D-League alum Donald Sloan, on getting regular playing time in Summer League
MUST WATCH VIDEO
NBA D-League alum Byron Mullens went off for 33 points in Charlotte's win over Minnesota. Here are two of them.
WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS
Phoenix's Charles Garcia (a 2011-12 NBA D-League alum) goes up for a shot with Cleveland's Luke Zeller in his face. Garcia, playing a much more controlled game than he'd earned a reputation for in the NBA D-League, finished with eight points on only four shots from the field and pulled down three rebounds in 17 minutes. (Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images)
ON THE HORIZON
1) Expect former teammates on the Austin Toros, Atlanta's Brad Wanamaker and Dallas' Justin Dentmon, to be going head-to-head at the point when the Hawks take on the Mavericks at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.
2) After scoring 25 points in Sacramento's Summer League opener, Josh Akognon did not suit up in the Kings' game on Monday. Sacramento faces Toronto at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT and it'll be interesting to see how many minutes he gets.
3) Center Jarrid Famous had a double-double (13 pts, 11 rebs) in his Summer League debut on Monday and he will likely be matched up with NBA mainstay Jan Vesely in the paint when the Bucks square off a against the Wizards at 4:00 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT.