NBA Summer League 2013: Breaking Down the Biggest Surprises in Vegas
One of the best parts of the summer is that it’s the lone time where basketball players you may not have heard much about get the chance to shine.
Going up against some of the younger talents coming from college, overseas, the D-League and potentially even the NBA, these guys finally get the look they have worked so hard to get. While few may stumble early on, there have been several players who have made the most of these opportunities to play.
Let’s take a second to look at some of the players who are turning plenty of heads in the last week or so at the 2013 Las Vegas Summer League.
Andrew Goudelock, Chicago Bulls
Andrew Goudelock doesn’t have a contract for next season yet. But with the way he’s been playing for the Bulls at the Las Vegas Summer League, someone is bound to put him on their active roster soon enough.
He spent most of the 2012-13 season in the D-League and was named the league’s MVP, per a press release.
Goudelock has played 41 games in two seasons for the Lakers but is currently seeking a new home. In his time in Los Angeles, he averaged 4.3 points in 10.4 minutes per game. The last few days, the guard has shown why he deserved more time with the Lakers and why he deserves a contract for the 2013-14 season.
The College of Charleston product scored 26 points and grabbed four rebounds in 27 minutes, as Chicago defeated Memphis by 14 points. Two days later, he dropped 31 points in 29 minutes against the Nuggets in a 12-point victory. He’s shooting 67.9 percent from the field and 72.7 percent from downtown.
Goudelock is seeking the first guaranteed contract of his career, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. The guard told the scribe that he’s “motivated” and “just blessed to have this opportunity.” With the way he’s been playing, he deserves that guaranteed contract that will ensure he gets more opportunities next season.
Jeffrey Taylor, Charlotte Bobcats
The Bobcats used Jeffrey Taylor a bunch in his rookie season a year ago. The guard averaged 19.6 minutes per night for Charlotte, playing in 77 games—and starting 29 times. He wasn’t the team’s most threatening player, though. Despite playing close to 20 minutes per game in 2012-13, he only averaged 6.1 points.
Taylor was the 31st pick of the 2012 NBA draft and is playing in Las Vegas to try to improve different aspects of his game, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. The guard described this summer as “a completely different world.”
No matter what world he’s in, he has to hope he stays there.
The 6'7" guard has been on fire this summer for Charlotte’s Summer League squad. He’s played at least 30 minutes in three games and has scored at least 19 points in each of them. In the team’s opener against the Spurs, Taylor scored 24 points. He’s shooting 47.7 percent from the floor and 38.5 percent from downtown.
Charlotte already has several guards on its roster, meaning that Taylor really needs to play well this summer to at least have the role off the bench that he had a year ago. Playing time could be tight in 2013-14, but with Taylor scoring so often for the Bobcats, he should still see around 15-20 minutes each night.
Malcolm Thomas, Chicago Bulls
Malcolm Thomas has been all over the place since his days at San Diego State. He’s logged minutes with the Spurs, Warriors and Bulls in the last two years. The forward has also played overseas and in the D-League.
He’s yet to find a permanent home but could secure a spot with Chicago depending on how the summer goes.
In his final season with the Aztecs, he scored 11.4 points and grabbed 8.1 rebounds per night. Those numbers weren’t enough to get him drafted. Thomas has only played in 15 career regular-season games and hasn’t even averaged five minutes in those games. He did play in three playoff games this past year but only logged six minutes.
This summer, Thomas has played in both of Chicago’s games in Las Vegas and has created some noise. In his first game, he scored 11 points and had 10 rebounds. He was just getting warmed up, though. Against the Nuggets on July 15, he scored 13 points and grabbed an astounding 22 rebounds.
Thomas’ 22 rebounds set a league record, according to Bryan Crawford of NBC Chicago. The Bulls need a bit more help on the glass for next season and could get a good option on the low block by taking a chance on the power forward. He isn’t going to cost a lot and would be a risk worth taking for Chicago.
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