LAS VEGAS – Here is who shined and struggled in NBA summer league play on Friday, according to various front-office personnel and scouts around the league.
1. Anthony Roberson, New Orleans Hornets – Roberson is really a shooting guard in a point guard's body in the mold of Chucky Atkins. He shot the ball well in a 94-86 loss to Phoenix, scoring 23 points on 11-of-21 shooting. Roberson should find himself on a NBA roster next season.
2. D.J. Strawberry, Phoenix Suns – Although he struggled shooting the ball, Strawberry showed that he might be able to play point guard at the next level. He passed the ball well and got his teammates involved in recording nine assists. He looked like the best player for the Suns in their victory over the Hornets. Strawberry is a good defender and if he can continue to play like he did on Friday, then he has a good chance to make a team next season.
3. Al Thornton, Los Angeles Clippers – Thornton shoots the ball too much, but he plays hard and crashes the boards. He will be a scorer in the NBA as evidenced by his 19-point effort in a 90-84 win over Memphis. Thornton also added 10 rebounds.
4. Glen Davis, Boston Celtics – Davis is a space-eater inside, using his body well to rebound and draw fouls. He scored 16 points and added nine rebounds in Boston's 84-76 victory over Milwaukee. Davis needs to work on his explosiveness but with his size, he should be a fixture in the NBA.
5. Kevin Durant, Seattle SuperSonics – Durant finally grabbed his first summer league rebound, and he continued to fire away (attempting 23 shots) in an 85-74 loss to Golden State. Durant scored 32 points and showed yet again that he can get his shot off whenever he wants, but he has not yet proved he can shoot a decent percentage. Durant will get better and become more consistent. His play has been disappointing because of the hype, but the flashes of brilliance are certainly apparent.
6. Oleksiy Pecherov, Washington Wizards – Pecherov, who has been very solid throughout summer league, exploded for 26 points in a 74-69 defeat to Houston. The 18th overall pick in the 2006 draft is 7-foot and can shoot the NBA three (he finished 3-for-5). He is pretty skilled for someone his size and presents mismatch problems for opposing defenses. Adding him and Nick Young really helps the Wizards. Now, only if they can find a way to stop someone …
1. Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies – Gay has not shot the ball consistently throughout summer league. Against the Clippers on Friday, he made a mere four attempts out of 16. Although Gay gets good elevation on his jump shot, he does not make enough shots nor does he attack the basket frequently. Gay looks like he might just be a mediocre pro.
2. Alando Tucker, Phoenix Suns – Tucker went from great on Wednesday to awful on Friday. He could not make a shot in the Suns' victory over the Hornets, finishing 5-for-20 from the field with 14 points and four turnovers. The Suns need depth and Tucker has the ability to help them, but to find the court in Phoenix, you have to be able to make open shots.