NBA Summer League 2013: Early Takeaways from Las Vegas

Alex Kay@AlexPKayCorrespondent IJuly 16, 2013

Apr 9, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA;   New Orleans Hornets shooting guard Austin Rivers (25) watches warm ups before the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center. Rivers is out with a fractured right hand. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

The 2013 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas has been one of the major highlights of the offseason, as a number of promising prospects and future superstars are displaying their full range of talents in Sin City.

After nearly a week of action, it’s starting to become clear which players are dominating the field and which are struggling to keep their head above water.

Let’s take a look at some of the big-name stars who have been making noise this summer—and some who are failing to live up to expectations—in Tuesday’s recap.


Austin Rivers Making Strides

Rivers put together one of the most dreadful rookie seasons in the history of the NBA, consistently failing to meet expectations as the New Orleans Hornets’ No. 10 pick in the 2012 draft.

With the New Orleans franchise being reborn as the Pelicans, the young guard is also striving to rise from the ashes and reinvent himself after last year’s debacle.

Over his first two games in Nevada, Rivers is averaging 19.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals in 35 minutes.

His best performance came against the New York Knicks, as Rivers scored 24 points, grabbed seven boards, dished six assists and turned the ball over just twice in 35 minutes.

If he can keep this up, it should give the Pelicans hope that the former Duke star can resurrect his career and become a serviceable—if not better—NBA player.


Tony Wroten Needs More Time

When Wroten was selected out of Washington with the No. 25 pick in the 2012 draft, it was well known that his jumper would need work and his overall basketball abilities needed to be refined.

After a season on the end of the Memphis Grizzlies’ bench, Wroten still needs to improve in almost all facets of the game.

The athletic combo guard proved he is still immensely raw with a 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He had just seven points, four rebounds and two assists in the outing.

While he was better at the start of the summer league—posting 17 points on 4-of-9 shooting—Wroten has to get fundamentally better and stop relying on his athleticism to succeed.

Unless something drastic happens, it appears that Wroten will need at least one more season to develop.


Cody Zeller May Not Be a Terrible Draft Pick

The Charlotte Bobcats' decision to draft Cody Zeller with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2013 draft was widely panned.

There were a handful of higher-rated players still on the board when Michael Jordan’s franchise selected, but the ‘Cats still took Zeller.

That selection may not have been as bad as initially advertised, as Zeller started his summer league campaign on the right foot.

After a quiet eight-point, five-rebound performance against the San Antonio Spurs, the former Indiana Hoosiers star went off for 21 points and 13 rebounds against the Dallas Mavericks.

Those are big numbers and—regardless of the level of competition—impossible for even the biggest Zeller detractors to ignore.

Should the 7-footer continue to light up the scoreboard and clean the glass at this level, he may end up becoming  the steal of the draft.