Thoughts on Las Vegas Summer League Day 1

Three Up, Three Down

UP — Austin Rivers, Pelicans: After a hyperbolically horrible rookie season, expectations seem pretty low for Rivers to bounce back in the Pelicans' crowded backcourt. With Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans entering the mix, Rivers will have to fight for his place all over again. Maybe this means he is no longer going to play point guard and can get back to what he does best — scoring. Rivers had 24 points, seven assists and six rebounds in the Summer League opener in Las Vegas. This was the player the Pelicans believed they were drafting a year ago.

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DOWN — Chris Douglas-Roberts, Lakers: Douglas-Roberts has bounced around the league plenty of times already in his short career. A stop with the Lakers may help him out. Or may end him. Douglas-Roberts did not have a strong debut. Starting for the Lakers, he scored six points and made only two of his eight shots.

UP – Cory Joseph, Spurs: Joseph might be fighting Nando de Colo for playing time in training camp and the summer might be used to help sort the two out. Joseph was the star Friday night as he hit the game-winning basket to cap off a pretty strong effort. Joseph scored 19 points to go with five assists and five rebounds as the Spurs held off the Bobcats after the Bobcats rallied late to tie the game.

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DOWN — Iman Shumpert, Knicks: Maybe Shumpert has instructions to take it easy this week and not go crazy on the scoring to work on other parts of his game. Shooting though should be one of the parts he needs to work on. Shumpert missed all five of his shots in the Knicks' opener and scored just two points. Expected him to take a more leading role.

UP — Reggie Bullock, Clippers: The Clippers got a good look at their first-round pick. Bullock scored 18 points on 8-for-15 shooting and made 2 of his 6 3-point attempts in the Clippers' win. Bullock was everything that he was advertised to be. At least through one game.

DOWN — Dion Waiters, Cavaliers: This is the kind of situation you would expect Waiters to come in and dominate. Waiters though looke da bit out of shape and did not get into a good rhythm at all. He scored three points and made just one of his 11 shots. While the five assists are nice, Waiters is known as a scorer and he still cannot do much to help his team when that is not happening.

Summer League Power Rankings
1. Clippers (1-0, 5 points)
2. Pelicans (1-0, 5 points)
3. Hawks (0-1, 2 points)
4. Spurs (1-0, 5 points)
5. Bobcats (0-1, 2 points)
6. Cavaliers (1-0, 6 points)
7. Knicks (0-1, 2 points)
8. Lakers (0-1, 1 point)

San Antonio Spurs 69, Charlotte Bobcats 67

The Summer League Bobcats are not your normal Bobcats. Unfortunately, the Summer League Spurs are still the Spurs. Jeff Taylor showed a nasty side to himself that was not there before and drained a 3-pointer to tie the game as the Bobcats came from behind to make it a game. But Cory Joseph froze the defender with a pump fake and drained a 15-footer to give the Spurs a win in the first day of play from Las Vegas. Taylor had 24 points for Charlotte and Joseph had 19 points. DeShaun Thomas added 18 for San Antonio.

Cleveland Cavaliers 70, Los Angeles Lakers 62

Despite a roster packed with NBA stalwarts such as Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller, Cleveland needed a boost from its bench to secure a win over the Lakers. Waiters made just 1 of his 11 shots and did not look to be in the best of shape. However, it was enough to overcome a bare bones Lakers roster. Zeller had 15 points and seven rebounds for the Cavs and Marcus Landry scored 14 points off the bench for the Lakers.

Los Angeles Clippers 90, Atlanta Hawks 83

The final score was probably not indicative of what either team saw in their teams. Both had reasons to be happy. Clippers first round pick Reggie Bullock scored 18 points and DaJuan Summers and Samardo Samuels each took their turn dominating play from the perimeter and in the post to help the Clippers build an insurmountable lead. Each scored 15. The Hawks had to be happy with the way John Jenkins (24 points) and rookie Lucas Nogueira (10 points, eight rebounds) played too.

New Orleans Pelicans 77, New York Knicks 72

If Austin Rivers plays like he did in Friday's Summer League opener, then the Pelicans wil have an absolutely loaded backcourt that could give many, many teams fits. Rivers scored 24 points and dished out six assists, shooting 8 for 15 from the floor. He also grabbed six rebounds to round out a really complete effort. Unfortunately this is Summer League, and we still have to see how he performs when the regular season kicks off. Jeremy Tyler had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Knicks.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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