NBA Summer League 2012: Big Men Who Have Enjoyed Success in Las Vegas

Sam R. QuinnSenior Analyst IIIJuly 19, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 10:  Byron Mullens #22 of the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on February 10, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The NBA big man is an enigma. The 2012 NBA Summer League is where we get our first chance at solving the puzzle that comes along with being a young big man.

Las Vegas is where the world gets a chance to see the lesser-known big men of the league, and decide for themselves whether or not the player will amount to anything in the future.

Some projects turn out to be great players. Some locks turn out to be busts. But that is what makes the NBA so fun and unpredictable.

We've seen our fair share of impressive big men out in the desert so far, and it's time to get to know them a little better.


Tobias Harris - Milwaukee Bucks

I had the pleasure of watching Tobias Harris run roughshod on my high school's basketball team a few years ago, and it wasn't hard to tell that this guy had the physical tools necessary to become a solid player in the NBA.

He hasn't exactly torn up the league since being drafted No. 19 overall in the 2011 NBA draft, but he has come into his own so far in Las Vegas.

On July 16 against the New Orleans Hornets, Harris scored 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting, but didn't contribute in many other ways. He had just one rebound in 35 minutes, which is pretty embarrassing for a 6'8" forward.

In his last game against the Washington Wizards, Harris showed that he has the ability to play like a near seven footer. In 36 minutes, he dropped 24 points on 10-of-20 shooting from the field, and pulled down 12 boards to notch the only double-double for his team.


John Henson - Milwaukee Bucks

John Henson, the No. 14 overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, was supposed to be an offensive liability at the start of his NBA career.

Fortunately for the Milwaukee Bucks, that wasn't the case in his first and only Summer League game. Henson scored 20 points on a respectable 8-of-14 shooting, and showed a variety of low-post moves in his debut.

Henson broke out a nice up-and-under move for an easy bucket early on, then showed a nice baby hook a bit later. The North Carolina product grabbed nine rebounds in 35 minutes, but surprisingly didn't show the defensive dominance that the Bucks are expecting to get out of him.

He also turned the ball over five times, but that is to be expected in a player's first professional game of any kind. If Henson and Harris can get it all together, they could prove to be one of the best young frontcourt duos in the league.


Byron Mullens - Charlotte Bobcats

Byron Mullens had maybe the best game that we've seen from any true big man throughout Summer League competition so far. The Charlotte Bobcats' seven-footer dominated on Tuesday, showing a wide array of moves that surely put him on Michael Jordan's radar.

Mullens poured in 33 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves on 13-of-24 shooting in 34 minutes of playing time.

He showed that he can bang around down low by breaking out some nifty post moves, but he also showcased his ability to step back and shoot from the outside. I'm not talking about a few mid-range jumpers either—Mullens went 3-of-5 from downtown.

The No. 24 overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft out of Ohio State racked up eight rebounds as well. He's now averaging 20.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.