The Daily Deal: July 20
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.
Only the weekend’s left.
After eight days at NBA Summer League – and 50 games in total – only Saturday and Sunday remain for coaches, scouts and front office personnel to get their final looks at rookies, prospects and bubble guys before the event ships out of Sin City.
But if Friday was any indication, there’s still a ton left in the tank. From another dominant performance from the Bulls’ Malcolm Thomas to an all-around rout on the part of the NBA D-League Select Team (and four Performance of the Day-worthy efforts from that squad), urgency carried the day, as Prospects up and down the Board looked to give scouts a final send-off.
1. CHRIS DANIELS -- FORWARD -- SELECT TEAM
For the second straight night, Daniels played the role of very, very (ok, somewhat) unlikely catalyst for the NBA D-League Select team, going off for 20 points and eight rebounds (three of them on the offensive end) to launch himself up the Top Prospect Board. Daniels, who’d spent four seasons in Korea, tiptoed into Summer League, but over the past two games, he’s asserted himself as one of the most interesting big men in all of Las Vegas. His body positioning, vigor on the boards and willingness to slam bodies in the paint have all improved dramatically from what he showed during the NBA D-League season last year – all without giving up his outside touch – and it’s shown. He limited Markieff Morris to just six rebounds on the night, went 3-for-4 from 3-point range and scored the five straight points for Select that ended the Suns’ 14-1 run to start the second half.
2. MALCOLM THOMAS -- FORWARD -- CHICAGO BULLS
Malcolm Thomas has continued his assault on the boards with a 16-rebound performance on Friday night. Thomas, who added 12 points, a Summer League high for him, recorded his third double-double in as many games in Vegas. What’s even more impressive for the 6-foot-11 Thomas is that of those 16 rebounds, nine came on the offensive end. Averaging 14 rebounds per game, our top forward Prospect has proven he can bang with NBA bodies and rebound at any level. Rumor has it, some teams like that. Expect Thomas to get an NBA look sooner rather than later
3. ANDRE EMMETT -- GUARD -- SELECT TEAM
Emmett spent all of Thursday night’s second half on the bench. Which gave him plenty of time to get a boil going. When NBADLeague.com talked to him before the game, he talked about going out and proving something. And from the moment he touched the floor, eight minutes into the first quarter, he did exactly that. Looking averse to rebounding in Games 2 and 3, he hammered the boards on Friday, grabbing 10 rebounds in addition to scoring 18 points (with four assists) by melting the Suns’ perimeter defense. He opened the game under control, creating for his teammates as Phoenix rolled to him, then exploded, scoring nine points in both the first and second halves, and doing it from everywhere on the floor.
Honorable Mentions: Mustapha Farrakhan, New York Knicks; Donald Sloan, D.J. Kennedy, T.J. Campbell, Cleveland Cavaliers; Eric Dawson, San Antonio Spurs; Charles Garcia, Phoenix Suns; Justin Dentmon, Dallas Mavericks
In the past, Chris Daniels has been accused of a little to a lot of aloofness.
You read that right.
Daniels, the NBA D-League Select’s 7-foot center, has faced criticism that he looks detached during play, and just waits for the play to come to him instead of asserting himself. That’s all changed this week.
En route to a 20-point, eight-board night on Friday, his signature moment came with 5:11 left in the second quarter. First, he shed former NBA D-Leaguer (and current Top Prospect Charles Garcia) on the block, received the pass and went right at Suns star forward Markieff Morris. He missed the shot, but gathered his own rebound and bodied Morris off the court while doing so – sumo-style – and finished with an easy layup.
Then, on the way back own the court, he made sure to take a couple skips backwards so he could stare down the Suns’ two big men.
It was a moment that crystallized the night for both Daniels and his Select Team, which went directly at the Suns all night long, including Jerry Smith breaking down rookie Kendall Marshall (4-for-14 from the field) for most of the first quarter.
Miami Heat 83, San Antonio Spurs 78: About a month and a half ago, it looked like the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs were on a collision course for the NBA Finals. Today’s meeting inside COX Pavilion between the two teams did not have quite the same consequence, but it was entertaining nonetheless.
Down three points with less than 30 seconds to go, the Spurs missed three 3-pointers on the same possession – two by Cory Joseph, one by James Anderson – in an attempt to tie the game. After dodging not one, not two, but three bullets, the Heat held on for the victory.
For our purposes, it was also a solid showcase of former NBA D-League alums. For Miami, Terrel Harris, who last played in the NBA D-League in 2010-11 and who sealed the victory on Friday with two free throws with 2.0 seconds left, scored a game-high 25 points and pulled down five rebounds. Adrian Thomas, who played for Bakersfield last year, chipped in with 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting for Miami.
For San Antonio, Cory Joseph had nine points and six assists to continue his stellar showing in Vegas while Eric Dawson added six points in 19 minutes. The Spurs also got quality minutes from L.D. Williams and Derrick Byars.
"That we belong. There's a lot of guys and a lot of talent on this team and I think there's a lot of guys that are going to play on the next level, so just showcase our ability and our will to win and I think that they'll like it." - Select Team guard Andre Emmett after being asked what the team has to prove tonight and before he went out and scored 18 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in the Select Team's 89-75 win over Phoenix.
MUST WATCH VIDEO
Watch how the Select Team earned their second win in Las Vegas.
WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS
Cleveland's Donald Sloan closed out a strong Summer League performance with eight points and four boards in the Cavaliers' fifth and final game in Vegas. | Jack Arent/NBAE/Getty Images
ON THE HORIZON
1) The NBA D-League Select Team will play its fifth and final game of Summer League – and third in three nights – when they take on the Timberwolves at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. It will be interesting to see how the Select Team game plans around and tries to contain Minnesota forward Derrick Williams – the No. 2 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, who is having a stellar Summer League.
2) Reigning NBA D-League MVP Justin Dentmon, playing with the Dallas Mavericks, will face the San Antonio Spurs, the NBA affiliate of his former NBA D-League team the Austin Toros, at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT. He will go up against several former teammates, including a potential matchup at the point against Cory Joseph, one of the most impressive players wearing any uniform in Las Vegas.
3) Two of our top point guard Prospects – Milwaukee’s Stefhon Hannah and Boston’s Jamar Smith – will likely see a lot of time pitted against each other when the Bucks face the Celtics in the day’s finale at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT.