Summer League takeaways - What We Learned

Discussion in 'Portland Trail Blazers' started by TBpup, Jul 18, 2017.

  1. TBpup

    TBpup Writing Team

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    Summer League isn't much of a gauge on what a player might do in the NBA but there are some things that can translate at least a bit on a productive side and some that can ensure a player doesn't wear that teams jersey ever again.

    Obvious: Caleb "Biggie" Swanigan has a nose for the ball. He also has a nice outside touch and can pass quite well for a big man. Concerns would be that he is not very explosive and doesn't finish well around the rim in traffic and doesn't seem to have that Zach-like ability to create space from the ground....yet. But there is no denying this kids work ethic and you have to like what you saw from him on a consistent basis.

    Positive: Jake Layman has a multiple skill set probably larger than any other SF on our roster. That may not be saying a lot as so many of the SF options are severely limited in one area or another but he did well to display some of his arsenal. His shooting still needs to be better but as the games progress, he got better after a slow start, going 9-20 from '3' in his final three games of the Playoff on a 3-games-in-3-nights scenario. Averaged 18.3 points and 6 rebounds in those final three games and while not getting a lot of assists, made a lot of good passes that teammates just didn't finish. He also played good defense at times.

    Positive: Zach Collins. He didn't play much and there is much for him to work on from a strength standpoint and in making shots at the next level but what was a very positive note was his defense. He definitely made an impact there and was in the Top-5 in several advanced defensive categories. I'll be interested to see how he progresses with big-mans' camp and some time in the weight room.

    Positive: Who had Jarnell Stokes making any type of impact at all before this started? Yet the big man did a lot of very good thing on offense and on the boards just by being active. Averaged 13 points and 7.6 rebounds while shooting an eye-popping .672 from the field. However, in the 4 games that he started once Collins went out, he averaged 15. 5 points and 10.75 rebounds. I'm not sure where he fits in the NBA but you certainly can't fault his production in the opportunity given.

    Positive
    : Jorge Gutierrez can pass. He might not be able to shoot very well although he did have a nice Championship game but his passing was what turned the Summer League around once Pat C went down with an injury. He also is a decent defender and for a 15th guy, I'd wouldn't mind seeing someone like that on the roster.

    Flashes: Antonius Cleveland was probably the Blazers best wing defender on the floor. Unfortunately he didn't get many minutes but did well with those while he was on the court and shot it well in the few opportunities he had. Similar was Markel Brown who in very limited minutes before going out, showed a nice shot, was in the Top-5 in several offensive efficiency categories and has some serious hops.

    Be Gone and Never Wear that Jersey Again: No need to labor this. RJ Hunter and Nick Johnson were terrible. Both looked like they were individually trying to end the Blazers Playoff run every time they stepped on the court. Dismissed.
    Unfortunately, Pat Connaughton wasn't much better. He couldn't hit a shot to save his life and was getting scored on at will. Did have one nice assist game before going down with the hamstring injury but if I'm looking for a 15th player, I'd take the defense of Antonius Cleveland or the play making ability of Gutierrez and let Pat go play baseball where he has the chance to make a bigger impact.

    It was an unexpected run after starting out 1-2 and certainly a nice diversion for the middle of July. I'm curious to hear what the rest of you think about what you saw.
     
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  2. Denny Crane

    Denny Crane It's not even loaded! Staff Member Administrator

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    Seems like 3 or 4 of those guys will be on the roster:

    Swanigan, Layman, Collins, and Connaughton.
     
  3. Nikolokolus

    Nikolokolus There's always next year

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    Biggest takeaway: The Blazers always lose to the Lakers when it matters most.

    :wink:
     
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  4. riverman

    riverman Writing Team

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    Great breakdown Tpup.....my take after all is said and done is we need a G league team...I liked Guitierrez and Stokes a lot. I think Connaughton should play in Europe for a couple seasons
     
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  5. crandc

    crandc Well-Known Member

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    The young Blazers learned an important lesson. The faces wearing the jerseys change, but the Lakers are and always will be the enemies of humanity.
     
  6. TBpup

    TBpup Writing Team

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    Portland is something like 1 of 4 teams in the League that won't have their own G-League team.
     
  7. riverman

    riverman Writing Team

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    Vegas was such a homegame for the Lakers....the whole crowd plus announcers were gushing over them all through the series....wait until they play against a real roster
     
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  8. BoBoBREWSKI

    BoBoBREWSKI BURP!

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    Like you said, Pat needs to turn his focus to baseball ASAP.
     
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  9. PDXFonz

    PDXFonz I’m listening!

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    Maybe someone can confirm whether this is true or not, but I learned that summer league doesn't matter? :dunno:
     
  10. PtldPlatypus

    PtldPlatypus Global Moderator Staff Member Global Moderator Moderator

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    Whether or not summer league matters doesn't matter.
     
  11. riverman

    riverman Writing Team

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    he could struggle in the minors in baseball for a decade....34 year old rookies pitch their debut games in baseball often....he's got plenty of time to try pitching but after a couple seasons with an NBA franchise....riding the bus in some small town in Alabama and staying in a motel 6 making less money than a schoolteacher.....he'd make a million bucks in Europe or China playing hoops....
     
  12. Wizard Mentor

    Wizard Mentor Wizard Mentor

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    Biggie is the next Brian Grant.

    Zach Collins is the next Rasheed Wallace.

    Pat shouldn't be asked to play PG.

    Jake is athletic and has long strides, even with the ball in his hands. If he shot better, he'd be a great rat-baller.
     
  13. lawai'a

    lawai'a Well-Known Member

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    are there rules against PA owning a euro league team? seems they practice a lot more during the season. It also seems euro players are more refined in many ways, especially fundamentals, P&R, P&R defense. what are the rules governing fiba-nba contracts and ownership?
     
  14. riverman

    riverman Writing Team

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    great question
     
  15. SIeepwalker

    SIeepwalker The lone sane poster

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    We learned that a lot of people would say the dumbest shit after watching a guy play 50 minutes of sumer league. Oh but wait, we already knew that
     
  16. Rastapopoulos

    Rastapopoulos Miss me?

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    I wasn't as high on Layman as some. His shot always looks good but misses badly far too often and he just can't finish in traffic or through even the slightest contact. And his handle is very suspect for a wing. I'd honestly rather have Gutierrez.

    My ranking:
    Swanigan (possible future starter)
    Stokes (possible future backup big)
    Gutierrez (decent 3rd PG)
    Collins (incomplete)

    Everybody else. Cleveland is the only one who I think might eventually make it to the league.
     
  17. Pinwheel1

    Pinwheel1 Well-Known Member

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    But Jake did finish in traffic with contact. Granted most of the time he scored at the basket be blew by the defender to dunk it untouched, (which is not exactly a negative) but the last 3 games he showed he could finish with a driving layup off the glass.
    I agree his first few games he did not finish well, but to say he "he just can't finish in traffic" when he got some "and 1's the last few games puzzles me why you keep saying it. What am I missing?
     
  18. BBert

    BBert Weasels Ripped My Flesh

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    I think some people are underestimating Layman. He started scoring, then his confidence improved, then his shooting improved, then his confidence improved, then his all around offensive repertoire improved, and then his shooting improved some more. He has a good all around game, good athlete, decent defender. Not bad for a second rounder.

    I liked Gutierrez a lot in contrast to every other guard on the team. That's called damning with faint praise, BTW. Bad shooter. Shaky decision making. Average Summer League defender. Not NBA caliber. Sorry.

    Cleveland was pretty bad overall, with flashes of good plays, and surprisingly good defense thanks to long arms and quick reflexes. This is the type of young inexperienced high potential player that we should take a flyer on. We usually have one every year, and I'd try to find a spot at the end of the bench for him.

    Stokes saved our bacon in the summer league playoffs. I really appreciate his effort and toughness. Keep in mind he was probably one of the most experienced players there. Blazers maybe should bring him to camp, maybe keep him around if a trade opens up a spot, but Summer League isn't the NBA and Stokes isn't an NBA player. Sad really: a couple of inches taller and he'd probably have a shot.

    Swanigan: Possible steal of the draft considering where he was picked. We all know what he's good at. His three point shooting might be overrated (he shot 25%), or maybe that's just a "meaningless" summer league stat. I'd like to think his misses were the result of fatigue. We'll see. Will have trouble finishing around the rim his first year in the league, has a little trouble keeping up running the court. How many fan favorites can the Blazers have? LOL We love our blue collar tough guys, like Nurk, Grant, Buck, and now Biggie.

    :cheers:
     
  19. Rastapopoulos

    Rastapopoulos Miss me?

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    I guess it was me that missed him finishing. I kept seeing him miss badly, and on one occasion get stuffed by two Grizzlies at once.

    Now, it may be that he will actually be better playing for the real Blazers because he won't attract the attention he did in SL, but on the other hand, he'll only earn minutes if he can do the dirty work like defend. I saw a little of that, and he certainly put in the effort, but he didn't wow me.
     
  20. Rastapopoulos

    Rastapopoulos Miss me?

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    I call bullshit on this. He was a GREAT Summer League defender.

    Plus if there was one player who really set the tone for the team, it was him. Non-stop grit and grind and he was prepared to get nasty. We need someone like him with a real edge. Come on - surely he can be our Quarterman replacement?
     

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