The Warriors accomplished a basketball first on Monday evening, winning the inaugural NBA Summer League Championship. The 91-77 win over the Suns capped a perfect 7-0 summer slate for the Warriors, who extended their Summer League winning streak, which dates back to 2010, to 14 games.
As cliché as it is to say the Warriors wanted it more than their opponents this summer, it might just be true. Time after time in Las Vegas, the Warriors would dig in and take control of the game when it mattered most. Coached by Warriors Assistant Darren Erman, the team posted back-to-back comebacks from double-digit deficits, against the Mavericks on Thursday and the Lakers on Saturday, and the Dubs out-scored their opponents in the fourth quarter by a cumulative score of 162-126. In fact, the only time the Warriors were out-scored in the fourth quarter was against the Kings, 22-20, on July 15, a game that the Dubs led by as many as 20.
It wasn’t always pretty; actually, it was rarely pretty. The Warriors shot 37.9 percent from the field in the Summer League and just 28.3 percent from long distance. Instead, the Warriors got it done with defense. They forced their opponents into an average of 18.9 turnovers per game and held them to 36.8 percent shooting and 69.8 points per game.
Check out highlights of each game and click on the links below for a full recap of each of the seven Warriors victories in Summer League.
|WARRIORS IN 2013 NBA SUMMER LEAGUE|
* NBA Summer League Tournament
** NBA Summer League Championship
Although the Warriors certainly came together as a team in Las Vegas, there were several noteworthy individual performances, and we showcase those here:
Kent Bazemore – A little less than a year ago, ESPN.com ranked Kent Bazemore as the 499th best player, out of 500, in the NBA. It’s safe to say that he has used that as motivation, as “499” is now stitched into the tongue of his shoes. That motivation was reflected in his play this summer, as Bazemore earned All-NBA Summer League Team honors. Bazemore handled the majority of the team’s point guard duties and ranked seventh in the summer circuit in scoring with 18.4 points per game. His length and agility also assisted him in becoming a lock-down defender, which should certainly translate to the regular season. A candidate for MVP of the Summer League (Toronto’s Jonas Valanciunas was awarded that honor), Bazemore was often the best player on the court, and he’ll look to bring that new sense of confidence with him when training camp begins this fall. For more on Bazemore’s summer campaign, click here.
Draymond Green – He didn’t attract all of the headlines like Bazemore, but Draymond Green certainly made his presence felt in the Summer League, whether he was making a play for another teammate, hustling for a loose ball or grabbing a crucial rebound, all of which he did on a seemingly nightly basis. His physical style of play made him a nightmare for the players he guarded, and the intensity he brought to each and every game certainly rubbed off on his teammates. Green was the team’s leading rebounder (7.4 boards per game) and second-leading scorer at 12.7 points per game. He recorded back-to-back double-doubles in the tournament quarterfinals and semifinals and, much like his role during the regular season and playoffs, he was the ultimate glue guy for the summer squad. Read more on Green’s progression as a pro player in this recent blog entry.
Ian Clark – Talk about stealing the spotlight … Ian Clark came up huge in Monday’s Summer League Championship game, earning the game’s MVP award with his 33-point effort, which was the highest scoring output by a reserve in the 2013 Summer League. Clark tied a Summer League record with seven made 3-pointers (7-for-10), putting an end to an eventful summer for the undrafted rookie out of Belmont (the university in Tennessee, not the city on the Peninsula). Clark played for Miami in the Orlando Summer League, averaging 16.4 points in Florida before joining the Warriors in Las Vegas. Clark averaged 12.4 points and shot 48.5 percent on threes for the Warriors, who now have to at least consider giving Clark an invite to training camp.
Cameron Jones – Perhaps the most consistent player on the Warriors’ summer roster was Cameron Jones. When teams became more focused on containing Bazemore, Jones stepped up and asserted himself. He scored in double-figures of each of the four games of tournament play, including an 18-point output against the Lakers in Saturday’s quarterfinals. After spending the 2012-13 season with the Santa Cruz Warriors, D-League affiliate of Golden State, Jones averaged 11.7 points this summer on 49.1 percent shooting and 53.8 percent on 3-pointers.
Lance Goulbourne – Like Jones, Goulbourne played in Santa Cruz during the 2012-13 season, and he also provided a spark for the Warriors’ summer squad. His numbers don’t pop out at you (6.9 ppg, 5. 6 rpg), but his activity around the basket certainly had an impact on each game he played.
About the only disappointment from Summer League was the absence of rookie Nemanja Nedovic. The 30th pick in last month’s draft was planning to play one game with the Warriors before returning to Serbia to fulfill duties with his national team, but he sprained his ankle in a summer practice and was unable to play in the team’s opener in Las Vegas. Alas, the team will have to wait until training camp to get an in-depth look at the young guard and see how he will fit in to the Warriors’ plans moving forward.
All things considered, the Warriors’ run in Las Vegas was a complete success. Seven games, seven wins, tremendous showing from the team’s vets, a good look at some free agents and great fan support from #DubNation. Now only if the 2013-14 season can start sooner!