2013 NBA Summer League: Top 10 Overlooked Players to Watch in Vegas
The 2013 NBA Summer League continues in Las Vegas, where some of the NBA’s newest additions and elder statesmen alike will be battling on the hardwood.
Although players like C.J. McCollum, Iman Shumpert and Ben McLemore will be at the top of many must-watch lists, underrated talents like Austin Rivers, C.J. Leslie and Jonas Valanciunas will be sure to turn heads.
Hence, let’s check out the 10 most overlooked players to look out for during the 2013 NBA Summer League in Vegas.
10. Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, New York Knicks
Unless you are a Knicks fan (and yes, there are plenty of you), Tim Hardaway Jr. does not immediately come to mind regarding players to keep tabs on from the 2013 NBA draft class.
Equipped with a 6’6”, 205-pound frame and a trey ball that’s capable of putting the lights out, Hardaway is going to be around for a very long time.
In summer league games, players aren't afraid to jack up shots, contested or not. Expect Hardaway to display the range we all grew accustomed to seeing during his collegiate years.
Given that he knocked down a respectable 37 percent of his shots from deep during his three years at Michigan, expect the bulk of his shots to splash through the net.
9. John Jenkins, SG, Atlanta Hawks
John Jenkins can flat-out put the rock through the hoop. He is a sniper from anywhere on the court.
During the Hawks' first summer league game in Vegas, Jenkins dropped a cool 24 points on a respectable 47.8 percent shooting from the field.
Do not be surprised if that type of production translates to the regular season.
With all the changes in personnel in Atlanta, expect head coach Mike Budenholzer to turn to the young man often throughout the upcoming regular season.
8. Kendall Marshall, PG, Phoenix Suns
Not too long ago, the point-guard-heavy Suns went out and acquired point guard Eric Bledsoe from the Los Angeles Clippers, creating a very challenging task for first-year head coach Jeff Hornacek in regards to who will play and who won’t.
Therefore, it’s now or never for Marshall—Phoenix’s 13th-overall selection last year—to show he has what it takes to be a part of Phoenix’s future plans.
Although his superior court vision is matched by no player on the Suns, his athleticism and below-average shooting ability has led many to question whether he can make it in the NBA.
With that said, look for Marshall to put in some of the top performances of the games and prove that he does, indeed, belong.
7. Marquis Teague, PG, Chicago Bulls
When Hinrich went down with a calf injury during the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs, Teague stepped in and provided quality minutes when called upon.
Although the summer league may not seem like a big deal to some, Bulls fans will be looking to see what improvements Teague has made thus far and, more importantly, if he is ready to be Derrick Rose’s primary backup.
6. Nate Wolters, PG, Milwaukee Bucks
Summer league games are very similar to pickup games. Guys like to run down the court and jack up shots, relishing every opportunity they get to touch the ball.
Nate Wolters is that type of guy.
When it comes to Wolters, the scouting report should simply state, “The guy gets buckets, anytime, anywhere.”
Hence, just like the shots will be in abundance for Wolters during the summer league, the same will be true once the 2013-14 season rolls around.
5. Jeffery Taylor, SF, Charlotte Bobcats
No one really talks about the Charlotte Bobcats, at least in terms of something positive anyway.
However, when something good does appear on the surface about the team, rarely will second-year forward Jeffery Taylor be mentioned in the conversation.
Taylor has a terrific spot-up jumper that enables him to make it rain at any moment in a game. And in the Cats' first game in Vegas, Taylor did just that, scoring 24 points on 9-of-17 shooting.
Look for his name to be featured more and more next season.
4. Andrew Goudelock, SG, Chicago Bulls
Andrew Goudelock is another player who can straight up shoot the lights out at any given point of a game.
Playing for a Bulls summer league team whose only other threats shooting the ball are Erik Murphy, Andy Rautins and Tony Snell, Goudelock will get an ample amount of opportunities to display his shooting prowess as the week goes on.
Although Goudelock is playing for Chicago's summer league squad, the young guard is currently on the free-agent market.
It will be interesting to see how many clubs line up at Goudelock’s door trying to get his signature following the shootout he is about to put on in Vegas.
3. C.J. Leslie, PF, New York Knicks
C.J. Leslie is hungry and ready to prove all of the doubters wrong.
Leslie had a tough pill to swallow following the NBA draft after no team—not even with one of the last picks—drafted him.
Without question, many basketball fans were perplexed that Leslie—a guy all of us grew accustomed to seeing inflict damage upon the opposition during his tenure at NC State—went undrafted.
Plus, in the majority of mock drafts, the guy was slotted to go in the first round for crying out loud.
Realizing the gem that Leslie is, the Knicks wasted no time in signing him the day after the draft.
Look for Leslie to shine for the Knicks not only during the summer league, but during the regular season as well.
Teams will be kicking themselves for passing on Leslie. Just watch.
2. Jonas Valanciunas, C, Toronto Raptors
Jonas Valanciunas is a unique talent.
He can take anyone inside the paint and finish, as well as defend a team's most skilled big man.
You name it, Valanciunas can do it.
In addition, Valanciunas has already made significant improvements during the offseason.
CBS Sports' Zach Harper noted that Valanciunas has already added on a significant amount of muscle to his frame. His added size will prove useful when battling against the top-tier talent the NBA has to offer.
With a year of experience under his belt, Valanciunas is acclimated to the rigors that come with playing in the NBA.
Expect the 8.9 points and 6.0 rebounds he averaged last season to be elementary compared to what he will do with added playing time next season.
1. Austin Rivers, SG, New Orleans Pelicans
“He can’t ball,” “he’s weak,” and my personal favorite, “he's hyped up because he went to Duke.”
How often have you heard the aforementioned or something similar said about Austin Rivers? Better yet, how many times have you caught yourself saying something of that nature?
It’s no secret that Austin Rivers’ rookie year was somewhat of a disappointment. However, one cannot ignore the gifts that he possesses.
His handles are top-notch, his confidence is unbreakable, and his jump shot, although still developing, is at times, smooth as butter.
With all the recent additions to the Pelicans, Rivers will have to prove to head coach Monty Williams and the staff that he deserves major minutes off the bench.
Based on the focus and sheer determination he displays, he will not have a difficult time doing so.