LAS VEGAS – Here is who shined and struggled in NBA summer league play Sunday and Monday, according to various front-office personnel and scouts around the league.
1. Al Thornton, Los Angeles Clippers – The 14th overall selection in last month's draft is athletic but needs to learn to play under control. He can definitely score in the NBA, but the Clippers already have a scorer in Corey Maggette. Thornton needs to find other ways to contribute in order for the Clips to improve. In his first NBA summer league game, he scored 24 points and had eight rebounds as L.A. fell to Denver 108-104.
2. Paul Davis, Los Angeles Clippers – Davis was extremely active and finished with 11 rebounds, including four offensive. He also scored 18 points with several points coming on putbacks. Although he looks solid, time will tell whether Davis can be just as effective against more accomplished NBA players.
3. Cheikh Samb, Detroit Pistons – Samb showed a nice touch around the basket in scoring 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting. He also rebounded well (10) and played physically despite his lanky build in Detroit's 80-78 win over Memphis. Despite his positive play, the 7-foot-1 Samb is still most likely a season or two away from being a contributor due to his very thin 195-pound frame.
4. Rodney Stuckey, Detroit Pistons – The No. 15 pick last month, Stuckey is very strong with the ball and is very smooth. He can score when he wants but does not force anything. He has a nice jumper and he can take it strong to the basket. Stuckey was 9-for-16 from the floor and 9-for-9 from the free-throw line as he led all scorers with 27 points.
5. Kyle Lowry, Memphis Grizzlies – Lowry had a very good game Monday in scoring a team-high 23 points. He got into the lane and either passed the ball to an open teammate or drew contact and made his way to the free-throw line (where he finished 12-of-13). He and Mike Conley Jr. played a good portion of the game together and it will be interesting to see how Memphis uses that tandem.
6. Louis Williams, Philadelphia 76ers – Williams played well Monday and is at his best with the ball in his hands. He plays hard and is all over the court. He is like Allen Iverson in the sense that it seems that every offensive possession involves him either shooting or driving and dishing. Williams finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in a 94-87 loss to Golden State.
7. Corey Brewer, Minnesota Timberwolves – Brewer had an impressive debut. Although he did not shoot the ball that well (only 5-of-13 from the field), he showed a solid all-around game. He played good defense, scored 16 points and had eight rebounds as Minnesota defeated New Orleans 85-83 in overtime.
1. Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies – Gay continued with his inconsistent play. He had a good first game Friday when he scored 21 points on 7-for-11 shooting, but on Monday, he was a mere 3-for-16 from the field and had five turnovers. The Grizzlies need constant offensive production from Gay or else they will be praying for the No. 1 pick again come lottery time.
2. Patrick O'Bryant, Golden State Warriors – O'Bryant rarely looks like he wants to play or enjoys playing. The 7-foot-1 center logged a lackluster 15 minutes and finished with four points and three rebounds. It will be hard for O'Bryant to find the court as long as Don Nelson is coaching.
3. Kevin Durant, Seattle SuperSonics – Durant seemed very frustrated by the aggressive defense of Renaldo Balkman, and he will need to bulk up over the next couple of years to endure such physical play. Durant will still be effective because he is long, knows how to get his shot off and understands the game. But, to be a top-10 player in the NBA, he needs to find a way to score against the Bruce Bowens of the league. Durant finished with 18 points but was a miserable 4-for-19 from the floor as Seattle fell to New York 87-74.
4. Randy Foye, Minnesota Timberwolves – Foye did not play terribly but he should do better than seven points on 3-for-10 shooting. He never dominated like he did last year in Vegas. Foye played the point for most of the game and seemed too concerned with passing than attacking the basket.
5. Rashad McCants, Minnesota Timberwolves – If McCants is not making shots, he offers very little. Such was the case on Monday when he forced shots and ended up an awful 1-for-11 from the field. Minnesota still beat New Orleans despite the poor play of McCants and Foye.