NBA Summer League 2013: Predicting Vegas League's Top Scorers

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NBA Summer League 2013: Predicting Vegas League's Top Scorers
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
His rookie year was a struggle, but Austin Rivers should be among the top scorers in the Las Vegas Summer League.

The 2013 NBA Summer League is a golden opportunity for those on the bubble of pro rosters to establish themselves as legitimate potential factors in the Association.

One of the nicknames of the world-famous city of Las Vegas is the Capital of Second Chances. While a lot of eyes will be on rookies as they transition to the highest level of competition, other journeymen have a shot at redemption.

Whatever the individual's situation may be, putting up a lot of points is a great way to get noticed this summer—and as it turns out, a lot of the most promising scorers are younger.

Thus, it's worth analyzing some of the prime candidates to score in bunches in Las Vegas over the next week and a half.

Note: Statistics, video and summer league information are courtesy of NBA.com.

 

John Jenkins, SG, Atlanta Hawks

The former Vanderbilt sharpshooter played a relatively small role in Atlanta as a rookie, but he may see an increase in his 14.8 minutes per game if his early summer league form continues.

Jenkins may win the Vegas League scoring title by default due to the sheer number of shots he takes. He fired 23 shots in the opening contest against the Los Angeles Clippers, making 11 of them for a game-high 24 points.

With a quick release and teammates such as electric first-round point guard Dennis Schroeder and ex-Butler star Shelvin Mack to distribute the ball, Jenkins should continue getting good looks from the outside.

CBS Sports' Zach Harper was intrigued by the combination of Schroeder and Jenkins in particular:

Any lack of athleticism from Jenkins is made up for by the speed and ball-handling ability of Schroeder. The two should continue to be one of the more dynamic backcourts in the summer league, with Jenkins being the frequent beneficiary of Schroeder's distributing skills.

 

Ben McLemore, SG, Sacramento Kings

The No. 7 overall pick brings yet another perimeter player to the Kings roster, but he was the best player on the board at the time with the most upside. McLemore should flash plenty of that promise in Vegas as he commences his NBA acclimation.

Well, that was the hope—until McLemore went 4-of-23 in his debut, including 1-of-11 from downtown in a 76-73 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

The Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell couldn't help but make fun of the putrid numbers:

In his only year at Kansas, though, the youngster proved himself not only as a lethal catch-and-shoot threat but also displayed magnificent physicality, a spark on the defensive end and the knack to score in bunches.

Sacramento drafted point guard Ray McCallum out of Detroit early in Round 2, so the likely soon-to-be-dubbed "Mac Attack" will continue to be in full effect—hopefully for the Kings with more effectiveness than on Saturday.

The sheer fact that McLemore hoisted 23 shots shows that he won't shy away even when he's off, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him improve on his 11 points in the opener.

Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com brings up a wonderful point to thwart McLemore detractors:

As was the case for Kevin Durant and should be for a talent such as McLemore, it's hard to fathom his play getting any worse.

 

Austin Rivers, G, New Orleans Pelicans

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Speaking of players who aren't afraid to pull the trigger, it is safe to say Rivers falls into that category. Unfortunately, it translated to a disastrous rookie campaign in New Orleans, where he shot just 37.2 percent from the field.

For a top 10 pick in last year's draft, Rivers' play was disappointing to say the least, though he did show signs of improvement before breaking his hand in March and missing the rest of the season.

Apparently that shooting hand is as good as new, because Rivers was a rather dominant force against the New York Knicks in the first summer league game.

Rivers is known for being able to fill it up, but his proud college school, Duke University, highlighted how he stuffed the scoresheet:

There has to be some sort of chip on Rivers' shoulder, and his confidence that some criticize as arrogance seems to be serving him well thus far. It's unclear whether Rivers can keep up this type of play, but one thing is certain: He's not going to stop shooting.

In that context, don't be surprised if Rivers continues to play as if he has something to prove to the Pelicans. He'll do what he does best, which is scoring.

 

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