The Daily Deal: July 21
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.
Maybe it's not enough time to convince everybody.
But 10 days -- and 58 games -- are certainly enough to start figuring out who belongs.
And through four games (with one still remaining), Malcolm Thomas has proven that he's no longer an NBA D-League talent. Maybe he'll stop by to stay hello at some point. He's a good guy, after all. Maybe he'll go down on a rehab assignment. But after four straight double-doubles for the Chicago Bulls (the latest -- a 21-point, 16-rebound performance on Saturday -- his best yet), Thomas looks like a fixture in the NBA for as long as he cares to be.
Meanwhile, a handful of players on the NBA D-League Select Team -- despite falling to the Timberwolves on Saturday to finish Summer League at 2-3 -- inflated their own quests to do the same thing, bounding up the Top Prospect Board. Leo Lyons and Chris Daniels answered a chorus of doubts about their abilities to produce on both ends of the floor. Andre Emmett and Jerry Smith delivered doses of brilliance. But the biggest send-off from Select came from NBA veteran Mardy Collins, whose 20-points night on Saturday revealed just how ready he is for a return trip to the Show.
1. MALCOLM THOMAS -- FORWARD -- CHICAGO BULLS
Coming out of a bulldozing, rampaging three games in the NBA D-League Finals (including a 25-rebound night in Game 1), Thomas just kept going at Summer League. And now, by comparison, his pleased-to-meet-you, 10-point, 13-rebound overtures in his first two games look like he was dogging it. Over the past two games -- including his 21-point, 16-rebound effort against the Clippers and their armada of 6-foot-11 hybrid centers -- he's averaged 16.5 points and 16 rebounds. Few skills (outside of foul shooting) translate from level-to-level as well as rebounding does -- including, as Adam Morrison's proven, facial hair -- and Thomas has wiped the boards clean this week as well as he ever did in his particularly strange season in the NBA D-League.
2. MARDY COLLINS -- GUARD -- NBA D-LEAGUE SELECT TEAM
Andre Emmett went big twice. So did Jerry Smith. Chris Daniels and Leo Lyons each had their own huge nights. But after five games the leading scorer on the NBA D-League Select Team was the 27-year old swingman out of Temple. Collins came into Summer League as a Mr. Everything-type player. He'd shed 20 pounds to get here -- after an injury-speckled season with the L.A. D-Fenders tacked on some excess padding -- so he seemed as prepared as ever to play any of the three-to-four positions he can play, from point to power forward in a pinch. But over his time in Vegas, he elevated himself to the team's most consistent force. A slow starter, he turned it up after the half time and time again (as he did in the NBA D-League Finals) -- except for Saturday, of course. On Saturday, he drove the Select Team from start to finish. With 20 points and two boards (after going 13 and nine on Friday) he looked like a player who'd had a week off, instead of someone playing his third game in three nights.
3. DESHAWN SIMS -- FORWARD -- PHOENIX SUNS
Sims, the 2010-11 NBA D-League Rookie of the Year, just put up 13 points and five boards in just 15 minutes to cap off a Summer League that saw him average 10.6 points and four rebounds per game. But one of the most exciting lines he put up this week -- at least to his Top Prospect status -- was his 5-for-9 mark from 3-point range. After an NBA D-League season that started late (after playing overseas) and ended after just four games due to injury, the 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward out of Michigan moved well and kept pace with a Phoenix team that spends close to 40 minutes in a full sprint. He narrowly edged out reigning NBA D-League MVP Justin Dentmon, who scored 16 points with seven rebounds in 28 minutes, but on 4-for-11 shooting.
Honorable Mentions: Charles Garcia, Phoenix Suns; Justin Dentmon, Dallas Mavericks; Dwight Buycks, San Antonio Spurs; Marcus Dove, NBA D-League Select; Jerome Randle, Memphis Grizzlies; Stefhon Hannah, Milwaukee Bucks.
With 8:48 left in the third quarter, Memphis' Xavi Rey and Charles Garcia fell to floor and grappled for a loose ball. The players tied the ball up, but Rey's shoulder came loose. But after the Grizzlies' Spanish big man headed back to the training room to have his shoulder popped back into socket, the jump ball still had to happen – even if Rey wasn’t available.
So, the honor went to the previous guy to touch the ball.
Five-foot-nine Jerome Randle.
With his teammates standing up and cheering him on – and Randle working the crowd – the former Cal guard (and NBA D-League alum) stood across from the 6-foot-10 Garcia. The referee tossed the ball in the air and Randle leaped as high as he ever had.
And Garcia still won by a good two feet.
But he also tipped it a little too hard to the side of the court, and the ball caromed out of bounds, giving the Grizzlies the ball and Randle, by default, the win. Randle just turned, smiled and pointed to his teammates as Garcia shook his head.
Dallas Mavericks 82, San Antonio Spurs 76: Well, it happened.
It took 53 games for it to happen, but an NBA Summer League game finally went into overtime. Sure, the San Antonio Spurs didn't really show up for it (the Mavs outscored their Lone Star State rivals, 6-0, in the extra two minutes), but it went into OT nonetheless, during a week that's featured a multitude of games settled by speed limits.
Jae Crowder led the way for the Mavs, with 21 points in 29 minutes, but Justin Dentmon followed close behind, with 16 of his own (along with seven rebounds for the 6-footer) in 28 minutes. Dentmon struggled to get to the hoop early, with long arms swatting his shots back toward the perimeter, but he found a burst late and played a key role in driving the Mavs to the win in a game that featured a point guard duel between him and his old teammate from Austin, Cory Joseph.
NBA D-League alum Dwight Buycks added 11 points and three rebounds for the Spurs in the loss.
"Winning anything is always important. I don't care if it's a Monopoly game -- I still want to win." - Select Team center Chris Daniels, on how important picking up a victory over the T-Wolves was to his team, instead of just giving scouts one last memory
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NBADLeague.com tracked down the reigning NBA D-League MVP after his fifth and final game of Summer League.
WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS
Boston's Craig Brackins and Larry Owens box out Milwaukee's Brian Butch -- all three are NBA D-League alums -- in Milwaukee's win on Saturday. | Jack Arent/NBAE/Getty Images
ON THE HORIZON
In the final day of NBA Summer League in Las Vegas there are only three games left to be played and after Sunday we'll have seen 62 total games between COX Pavilion and Thomas & Mack Arena. It's been a basketball junkie's heaven and the last day features matchups between Chicago and Milwaukee (4 p.m. ET/1p.m. PT), Boston and the Los Angeles Clippers (6 p.m ET/3 p.m. PT) and Minnesota and Memphis (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT). All eyes will be on Chicago's Malcolm Thomas as he tries to go for his fifth double-double in as many games.