|2014 Las Vegas Summer League|
|July 11, 2014|
|Thomas & Mack Center | Las Vegas, NV|
|NBATV | NBA Summer League Live|
|Jordan Taylor||PG||Matthew Dellavedova (probably?)|
|Gilbert Brown (maybe?)||SG||Carrick Felix (maybe?)|
|Giannis Antetokounmpo||SF||Andrew Wiggins|
|Jabari Parker||PF||Anthony Bennett|
|Johnny O'Bryant III||C||Jack Cooley (perhaps?)|
LEBRONLEBRONLEBRONLEBRON. While Bucks fans have been eagerly awaiting tonight's game ever since draft night, Cavs fans have some *slightly* bigger fish to fry at the moment. After weeks of speculation, the greatest player in the world is returning to Cleveland, and with it he changes the complexion of the Central Division, Eastern Conference and the NBA as a whole. LeBron James' return could also have immediate implications for members of the Cavs' summer league roster--would the Cavs really give up Andrew Wiggins to make a deal for Kevin Love?--but for now let's focus on the guys who are in Vegas.
With his future in Cleveland decidedly murkier following LeBron's announcement, Wiggins will indeed play tonight and understandably take top billing, though perhaps not for all the reasons he would have liked. He should defend right out of the box, but all eyes will be on whether he can consistently create (and make) shots for himself. Even so, you could argue that no one has more to prove than last year's first overall pick Anthony Bennett, who has reportedly slimmed down from nearly 270 pounds to a svelte 243.
Matchups. While the storyline heading into tonight's game understandably revolves around Wiggins vs. second overall pick Jabari Parker, in all likelihood we'll see Wiggins spending more time matched up with Greek utility knife Giannis Antetokounmpo and Parker squaring off against the similarly-sized Bennett. Both matchups offer plenty of intrigue, and we're sure to see some crossmatching as well. Antetokounmpo and Wiggins are both prototypically long and athletic swingmen while Bennett and Parker are both beefier combo forwards (or tweeners if you're feeling pejorative about it), so it should be a good test of where all four guys currently are in terms of their games.
Taylor's chance. Former Badger standout Jordan Taylor is likely to start in place of Nate Wolters (ankle) at the point, providing a huge opportunity for Taylor to re-establish himself after a hip injury ended his season at Virtus Roma last January. Fellow Badger alum Ben Brust is also likely to see minutes tonight.
Sanders speaks. It's been months since we last heard from Larry Sanders, which made it especially encouraging to see the beleaguered big man looking refreshed and taking part in practices with the young Bucks in Vegas the past two days. Check out his video interview with Jim Paschke here while Charles Gardner writes that Jason Kidd was very happy to have the big man with the team in Vegas.
"I think it's five or six months that he hasn't had any physical contact," Kidd said. "He looks great. The biggest thing is when he leaves here he's tired, that's he given everything during the drills, he's competing. He's going the whole 2 hours.
"So one, we're excited he's here. Two, he's working extremely hard. It's been great."
Among the veterans, Carlos Delfino is also in Vegas working with Bucks' trainers (video with Jim Paschke here) while John Henson was reportedly heading to Vegas as well. Sidenote: How many vets would show up to hang out at summer league if it was in Kansas City?
- Upside and Motor: Bucks summer preview. Really good look at the Vegas Bucks from Seth Partnow
- JS: Johnny O'Bryant uses size to his advantage. We've barely had a chance to talk about JOB3, but thankfully Gardner does here.
- Prunty signs on as top assistant. Also from the above piece, Nets assistant Joe Prunty will reportedly become Jason Kidd's lead assistant, joining Eric Hughes and Sean Sweeney in making the move to Milwaukee. Before joining the Nets last year, Prunty had spent the past decade with the Spurs (winning titles in 2003 and 2005), Mavericks, Blazers and Cavaliers.