Bleacher Report's Official NBA Summer League All-Star Team
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Wins and losses might not matter much in NBA Summer League, but the same can't be said about players' individual performances.
While recent first-round picks have the luxury of guaranteed NBA roster spots, the rest of the players in the summer session are battling for their basketball lives. At the very least, they're hoping to make enough of an impression on NBA teams to earn invitations to training camps.
That strange mixture of players leads to some admittedly disjointed, selfish play at times. It also opens the door for some of the league's younger players to shine in ways not often possible once the real NBA opens its doors.
In 2013, we've seen a host of breakout summer league performances from rookies and NBA veterans alike. Here, I've highlighted 12 of the best from each conference, using the All-Star Game format of picking two starting guards and three starting frontcourt players.
Let's start with the Eastern Conference, shall we?
Note: Both Orlando and Las Vegas Summer League players were eligible for an All-Star bid.
Starting Guard: Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic
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Orlando 2013: 19.0 PPG, 5.0 APG, 4.3 RPG, 3.0 SPG, 4.8 TOPG, 37.5 FG%
The Orlando Magic initially raised plenty of eyebrows by sticking Victor Oladipo at point guard on their summer league squad. Teams don't often draft a player with the No. 2 pick and immediately ask him to change positions, after all.
Based on how he handled himself down at the Orlando Summer League, the Oladipo-as-point-guard experiment sounds like it's just getting started.
The former Indiana Hoosier unsurprisingly struggled with his ball control at times, having never manned the point in his entire basketball career until summer league. However, he grew increasingly comfortable in his role as the week wore on, and he drained a game-winning jumper over Michael Carter-Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers in his final summer league game.
The Magic appear likely to continue testing Oladipo at both guard positions during the 2013-14 season. The early returns should have Orlando feeling pretty comfortable about its decision to grab him second overall in the 2013 draft.
Starting Guard: Dennis Schroeder, Atlanta Hawks
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Las Vegas 2013: 10.8 PPG, 5.6 APG, 1.8 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 3.4 TOPG, 34.0 FG%
Summer league isn't typically conducive to point guards thriving. Teams only get a few practices together before the games begin, which often leads to simplistic play-calling and selfish offense.
Dennis Schroeder managed to overcome those obstacles during the 2013 Las Vegas Summer League, however. His per-game averages might not jump out as overly impressive, but the little things he did throughout the week made him look like a seasoned veteran.
The Atlanta Hawks rookie dished a number of thread-the-needle passes to teammates, demonstrating excellent floor awareness. He also generated eight steals during his five summer league games, many of which resulted from nasty full-court defense.
Schroeder's jump shot is very much a work in progress, as evidenced by his 34 percent shooting during summer league. He's well aware of such limitations in his game, however, and hasn't been forcing his own offense at the expense of his teammates.
Starting Frontcourt: John Henson, Milwaukee Bucks
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Las Vegas 2013: 14.7 PPG, 13.7 RPG, 0.3 APG, 3.0 BPG, 5.0 TOPG, 54.8 FG%
If summer league is any indication, the Eastern Conference has a bevy of talented young frontcourt players ready to take the league by storm.
While Jonas Valanciunas received many of the early headlines in Las Vegas, Bleacher Report and ESPN.com's D.J. Foster dubbed John Henson as the best player there.
In three games, Henson gobbled a total of 41 rebounds, including 15 offensive boards. His 13.7 rebounds per game ranked second in Vegas behind Malcolm Thomas of the Chicago Bulls (15.0 RPG).
The Milwaukee Bucks forward also managed to block three shots in each of his summer league games, proving to be a total nightmare for opponents defensively. The thought of Henson and Larry Sanders playing side by side should be sending shivers down the spines of the Bucks' conference rivals.
Starting Frontcourt: Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons
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Orlando 2013: 15.5 PPG, 14.8 RPG, 2.5 SPG, 2.0 BPG, 5.0 TOPG, 51.9 FG%
Andre Drummond looked like a man playing against boys during the 2013 Orlando Summer League.
The Detroit Pistons sophomore put his massive frame to good use by being the only player in Orlando to average more than 10 rebounds per game. He also set an Orlando Summer League record, according to ESPN.com's Jordan White, by recording 18 rebounds in a 78-77 win against the Miami Heat.
Then again, Drummond's freakish athleticism was never in doubt. Questions about his motor were the main reason he slipped all the way to the ninth pick in the 2012 draft.
Considering how thoroughly he dominated his competition at summer league, Drummond continues to put to rest any questions about his desire to play NBA basketball. If he can carry his summer league momentum into the regular season, Detroit may end up with the steal of the 2012 draft.
Starting Frontcourt: Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors
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Las Vegas 2013: 18.8 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.8 BPG, 5.0 TOPG, 56.1 FG%
Based upon his time at the 2013 Las Vegas Summer League, Jonas Valanciunas appears primed to make a major second-year leap in 2013-14.
The seven-footer clearly hit the weight room hard since the 2012-13 season ended, as observers quickly noticed his bulked-up frame upon arriving in Vegas. For those who didn't immediately catch on to his physical development, his bullying of opposing post defenders helped get the point across.
As Doug Smith of the Toronto Star noted, Valanciunas' summer league dominance "should be taken with the biggest grain of salt imaginable." There's no mistaking the difference between going up against overmatched rookies and 10-year NBA veterans, after all.
Valanciunas began coming on strong toward the end of 2012-13, though. If he can carry his momentum from summer league into the 2013-14 regular season, the Raptors may have a not-so-secret seven-foot weapon they're about to unleash upon the rest of the league.
Sixth Man: Jeff Taylor, Charlotte Bobcats
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Las Vegas 2013: 20.3 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.8 SPG, 2.2 TOPG, 47.5 FG%
Jeff Taylor went back and forth with Cody Zeller in Las Vegas for the distinction of being the Charlotte Bobcats' most pleasant summer league surprise.
While former No. 2 overall pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist continues to struggle with his shooting ability, Taylor seemingly had no such problems in Vegas. He rarely hesitated to create offense for himself, averaging over 20 points on nearly 15 field-goal attempts per game.
The Bobcats forward drilled seven of his 19 three-point shots in his four games, demonstrating a vital ability to stretch the floor when necessary. He also racked up 26 free-throw attempts, which speaks largely to his aggressiveness on offense.
Taylor failed to make a noticeable impact as a rookie in Charlotte, but his time spent at 2013 summer league was an entirely different story. Even though the Bobcats shut him down for their final two games, Taylor finished as the third-leading per-game scorer in Las Vegas.
Bench Guard: Andrew Goudelock, Chicago Bulls
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Las Vegas 2013: 19.0 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.0 APG, 0.8 SPG, 2.0 TOPG, 47.1 FG%
With Derrick Rose set to return in 2013-14, the Chicago Bulls won't need any help filling out the starting lineup. It's their bench that needs fortifying, especially with Nate Robinson headed to the Denver Nuggets.
Luckily for the Bulls, Andrew Goudelock demonstrated an ability during Las Vegas Summer League to fill Nate Rob's "microwave scorer" role off the bench.
Goudelock lit Vegas up with his scoring ability during much of summer league, including a 31-point night on 10-of-13 shooting. He also managed to shoot the Bulls' summer league team out of its tournament game against the Miami Heat, finishing with only five points on 2-of-14 shooting.
Those hot-and-cold fluctuations are prone to drive a routine-oriented coach like Tom Thibodeau up a wall, as evidenced by Robinson in 2012-13. The Bulls will need scorers off the bench, though, and could do far worse than Goudelock as an 11th or 12th man.
Bench Guard: Marquis Teague, Chicago Bulls
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Las Vegas 2013: 18.3 PPG, 4.8 APG, 2.8 RPG, 0.5 SPG, 3.5 TOPG, 44.0 FG%
When Derrick Rose rejoins the Chicago Bulls' starting lineup in 2013-14, it opens the door for Kirk Hinrich to return to his more natural position at backup point guard. If/when injuries befall the Bulls, Marquis Teague appears ready to step up into a larger role.
Teague averaged roughly 18 points and five assists per game during his four appearances in this year's Las Vegas Summer League, exhibiting marked improvement from his time there one year ago. After shooting under 30 percent from the floor during his first summer league in 2012, Teague knocked down 44 percent of his field-goal attempts this time around.
The former Kentucky Wildcat also displayed a refined three-point jump shot that should come in handy once the actual NBA starts up. After draining only four of his 23 three-point attempts during his rookie NBA season, Teague knocked down six of his eight three-point shots in 2013 summer league.
If Teague can continue honing his jumper, he could become an invaluable option off the bench for the Bulls. With Nate Robinson headed to Denver, it's not unfathomable to imagine Teague in a backup point guard role at some point during the 2013-14 season.
Bench Forward: Moe Harkless, Orlando Magic
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Orlando 2013: 13.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 2.0 TOPG, 48.6 FG%
While Howard, Andrew Bynum and Andre Iguodala already left the teams that traded for them, the Magic will continue to reap the rewards from Harkless for the foreseeable future.
During his sophomore summer league stint, the young Magic forward demonstrated an increasing level of confidence in his ball-handling. That allowed him to have greater success attacking the basket off the bounce, which should make him a versatile offensive weapon this coming season.
Harkless started to catch fire for the Magic after the 2013 All-Star break, averaging 13.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in the final two months of the season. If his summer league performance is any indication, he's ready to take the next step in 2013-14.
Bench Forward: Kelly Olynyk, Boston Celtics
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Orlando 2013: 18.0 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 2.4 TOPG, 57.8 FG%
No rookie assuaged more concerns than Kelly Olynyk did with his performance during the 2013 Orlando Summer League.
Heading into the 2013 draft, Olynyk seemed like a guaranteed reach, even as a mid-first-round pick. His junior season with the Gonzaga Bulldogs was nothing short of spectacular, but his first two seasons in college were largely underwhelming.
Down in Orlando, Olynyk seemed to send the message that he wasn't going anywhere but up. He ranked fourth in points per game (18.0) and fifth in rebounds (7.8), becoming the only player to finish top-five in both categories.
Olynyk will still likely require an adjustment period once he begins facing NBA-level defenses, but he proved himself to be one of the more NBA-ready rookies in the 2013 draft class. If he can remain aggressive on the glass and on offense, the Boston Celtics could have themselves a late-lottery steal in the making.
Bench Forward: Solomon Hill, Indiana Pacers
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Orlando 2013: 12.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.6 APG, 0.8 SPG, 2.2 TOPG, 48.9 FG%, 55.6 3PT%
When the Indiana Pacers grabbed Solomon Hill with the 23rd overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, many experts immediately labeled it a massive reach.
If Hill's play down at the 2013 Orlando Summer League is any indication, the Pacers may have outsmarted a majority of the league's general managers and draft experts alike.
The Pacers, who pushed the Miami Heat to the brink of elimination in the Eastern Conference finals, didn't need to hit a home run with their late-first-round pick. They simply needed a potential contributor who could come off the bench and knock down the occasional shot when necessary.
Keeping in mind the small five-game sample size, Hill drained 10 of his 18 three-point shots during the week. He was one of only two rookies to earn a second-team All-Summer League nod, alongside Ian Clark of the Miami Heat.
Bench Forward: Cody Zeller, Charlotte Bobcats
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Las Vegas 2013: 16.3 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.8 BPG, 3.5 TOPG, 52.0 FG%
Had the Cleveland Cavaliers not grabbed Anthony Bennett first in the 2013 draft, the Charlotte Bobcats' selection of Cody Zeller at No. 4 would have been the biggest surprise of the night. They passed on Nerlens Noel, the longstanding favorite to go No. 1, for a player projected to be a late-lottery pick.
The pressure of being such a high draft pick hasn't seemed to faze Zeller yet, though. Despite a lackluster first game, he averaged over 16 points and nine rebounds per game for the Bobcats' Las Vegas Summer League team.
Zeller isn't strong enough to play like a traditional 5 in the NBA, but his transition to a face-up 4 appears off to a solid start. He peppered opponents with a mixture of mid-range jumpers and drives to the basket, putting his athleticism and ball-handling to good use.
The Bobcats shut Zeller down after four games in Las Vegas, clearly content with his performance. It's difficult to imagine the former Indiana Hoosier experiencing as smooth of a transition to the actual NBA, but he had a far better summer league than Otto Porter, the player picked one spot before him.
Starting Guard: Reggie Jackson, Oklahoma City Thunder
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Orlando 2013: 19.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.0 SPG, 4.0 TOPG, 53.8 FG%
Our first selection for the Western Conference, Reggie Jackson only appeared in two games during the 2013 Orlando Summer League, but he certainly made his impact felt during his limited time.
After replacing the injured Russell Westbrook in the 2013 playoffs, no one could blame Jackson for struggling to conjure motivation for Orlando Summer League. He labored through his first game, finishing with four points on 2-of-7 shooting with four rebounds, four assists and seven turnovers.
One day later, Jackson flipped the switch and went nuclear. Against the Detroit Pistons, Jackson set an Orlando Summer League record by scoring 35 points on 12-of-19 shooting, 23 of which came in the fourth quarter.
Jackson sat out the rest of the week, allowing his younger teammates to gain valuable experience, and yet he still finished with a second-team All-Summer League nod. While his first game was a dud (comparatively speaking), he did manage to jam a vicious dunk down the throat of Moe Harkless.
Starting Guard: Kent Bazemore, Golden State Warriors
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Las Vegas 2013: 18.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.7 SPG, 3.7 TOPG, 44.0 FG%
While Reggie Jackson was a known commodity heading into 2013 NBA Summer League, Kent Bazemore only gained notoriety as a rookie due to his outlandish bench celebrations.
In Las Vegas, however, Bazemore's on-court contributions have been doing all the talking. The Golden State Warriors plugged Bazemore in as a point forward, similar to how he played in college at Old Dominion, and he thrived accordingly.
There's no understating his defensive impact either, after he harassed two of the top seven picks in the 2013 draft (Otto Porter and Ben McLemore) into absolutely miserable performances. His near-seven-foot wingspan allows him to blanket opposing guards, which spells doom for those without a tight handle on the ball.
Considering the way he's dominated both ends of the court in Las Vegas, Bazemore appears poised to become a valuable contributor for the Warriors this upcoming season.
Starting Frontcourt: Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
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Las Vegas 2013: 12.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 2.3 SPG, 3.5 TOPG, 30.8 FG%
Draymond Green's place as a starter for the Western Conference Summer League All-Stars is largely aided by the West's underwhelming summer league frontcourt options.
Shooting just over 30 percent from the floor isn't exactly All-Star material. Neither is draining only four of 24 three-point attempts.
Since the 2013 playoffs, however, Green has noticeably trimmed down his figure. His reduced weight helps him get up and down the floor more quickly, but it hasn't affected his ability to rebound like a madman.
He remains somewhat of a tweener—not quite quick enough to work his way past small forwards offensively, but too undersized to bang against the bigger 4's in the league. Despite the lackluster shooting percentages, though, Green has shown signs of progress in Vegas.
Starting Frontcourt: Terrence Jones, Houston Rockets
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Orlando 2013: 15.8 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.5 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.2 BPG, 3.2 TOPG, 42.2 FG%, 36.4 3PT%
Few players may benefit more from Dwight Howard joining the Houston Rockets than Terrence Jones.
Howard appears to thrive most in a four-out, one-in offense, which requires Houston to find a power forward capable of knocking down outside shots. Jones, the No. 18 pick in the 2012 draft, demonstrated his ability to do just that during the 2013 Orlando Summer League.
The former Kentucky Wildcat drilled four of his 11 three-point attempts throughout the week. Long-range shooting may not be a strength of Jones just yet, but at the very least, he has the shot in his arsenal, and it's ready to be unleashed at a moment's notice.
The second-year forward finished his time in Orlando ranked seventh in scoring and ninth in rebounding. He was one of three sophomores named to the All-Summer League first team, along with Andre Drummond and Jeremy Lamb.
Starting Frontcourt: Thomas Robinson, Portland Trail Blazers
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Las Vegas 2013: 10.4 PPG, 12.8 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.2 BPG, 3.0 TOPG, 37.7 FG%
After bouncing around the league since being drafted by the Sacramento Kings with the No. 5 pick in 2012, Thomas Robinson appears to have found a (relatively) permanent home in Portland.
The former Kansas product struggled from the get-go during his first Las Vegas Summer League stint in 2012. While he averaged 13 points and nearly 10 rebounds per game, he also gave the ball away 24 times in five games and shot only 34.4 percent from the field.
One year later, Robinson began to atone for his past summer league sins. While the shooting percentage and turnover problems didn't go away, Robinson took his aggression out on the glass, finishing with 64 rebounds in five games.
His 12.8 rebounds per game ranked third in Vegas behind only Malcolm Thomas and John Henson, suggesting that he has at least one NBA-ready skill in his toolbox. If Robinson develops a reliable mid-range jump shot, the Kings and Houston Rockets could soon regret cutting ties with him.
Sixth Man: Jeremy Lamb, Oklahoma City Thunder
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Orlando 2013: 18.8 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 3.8 TOPG, 39.1 FG%
With Kevin Martin having departed in free agency this summer, the Oklahoma City Thunder will rely upon Jeremy Lamb to fill the "microwave scorer" role off the bench in 2013-14.
For at least one game during the 2013 Orlando Summer League, Lamb appeared up for the challenge.
One day after his teammate Reggie Jackson set an Orlando Summer League record by dropping 35 points, Lamb followed up with his own scoring tour de force against the Philadelphia 76ers. He finished with 32 points on 10-of-14 shooting, although he did turn the ball over eight times that game.
His shooting accuracy betrayed him during the other three games in which he appeared, but the 32-point game was enough to earn him a first-team All-Summer League nod. If the Thunder hope to return to the NBA Finals in 2013-14, they'll need Lamb to have a quick learning curve.
Bench Guard: Dwight Buycks, Oklahoma City Thunder; Toronto Raptors
Orlando 2013 (Thunder): 9.5 PPG, 6.0 APG, 2.5 RPG, 2.0 SPG, 1.8 TOPG, 48.1 FG%
Las Vegas 2013 (Raptors): 18.3 PPG, 5.3 APG, 3.3 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 4.3 TOPG, 55.6 FG%
Unless you're a fan of the Marquette Golden Eagles, the name Dwight Buycks likely didn't ring a bell before the 2013 summer league. After going undrafted in 2011, he played in the D-League with the Tulsa 66ers for a year before heading overseas during the 2012-13 season.
After his performance at this year's Orlando Summer League, Buycks' days of worrying about securing an NBA contract are over. During his opening game in Orlando with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the third-year point guard dished out 13 assists by pick-and-rolling the Indiana Pacers into submission.
Buycks parlayed his strong play at the Orlando Summer League into a contract with the Toronto Raptors, who reportedly offered him their backup point guard spot, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman. He quickly rewarded Toronto by averaging over 18 points and five assists per game during the three games he played in Las Vegas.
I'm admittedly cheating by featuring Buycks on the Western Conference side, seeing as he's now under contract with the Raptors. However, his play in Orlando with the Thunder earned him that contract, so that somewhat justifies his placement here.
Bench Guard: C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers
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Las Vegas 2013: 21.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.0 SPG, 3.6 TOPG, 36.6 FG%
One can't help but get the feeling that C.J. McCollum will be the 2013 version of Damian Lillard.
Both McCollum and Lillard stayed all four years in college, playing for mid-major schools. Heading into draft night, both players faced questions about their ability to compete against the best of the best.
After their respective rookie stints in NBA Summer League, both players put many of those questions to rest. McCollum, like Lillard, dominated his competition, leading all Las Vegas Summer League scorers with 21 points per game.
Most importantly for the Portland Trail Blazers, McCollum demonstrated an ability to thrive both on and off the ball. It's only fitting, then, that Lillard and McCollum will share a backcourt at times this coming season.
Bench Guard: Austin Rivers, New Orleans Pelicans
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Las Vegas 2013: 18.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.4 SPG, 2.6 TOPG, 48.6 FG%
It's difficult to imagine Austin Rivers' rookie season going any worse than it actually did.
Rivers couldn't get out of his own way during the 2012-13 season, shooting a miserable 37.2 percent from the field. He finished the season with a PER of 5.9 and recorded minus-1.1 win shares, both of which were by far the lowest of any 2012 first-round pick.
While it's too early to say that Rivers definitively turned a corner in his career, his performance at the 2013 Las Vegas Summer League should pique the interest of his New Orleans Pelicans. Rivers demonstrated much more offensive awareness while leading the Pelicans' summer league squad, which also led to his own shot beginning to fall more.
"Tunnel vision" remains a problem for Rivers at times, but he's not the only young point guard to be plagued with that issue. So long as he doesn't look to create his own offense every time he touches the ball, he'll continue to evolve into a much better point guard.
Bench Guard/Forward: Reggie Bullock, Los Angeles Clippers
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Las Vegas 2013: 18.0 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.2 APG, 0.6 SPG, 1.6 TOPG, 42.3 FG%
On the surface, Reggie Bullock and the Los Angeles Clippers appear to be a match made in heaven.
Once Chris Paul re-signed with the Clippers at the start of 2013 free agency, they began adding complementary wing pieces en masse. They traded Eric Bledsoe for J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley and then re-signed Matt Barnes at a discount as a free agent.
That depth means that the Clippers, who have their eyes set on championship contention in 2013-14, won't need to throw Bullock into the fire right away. Based on what he did during Las Vegas Summer League, Bullock shouldn't have any problem knowing his boundaries when he sees the court this season.
He only knocked down 28.2 percent of his three-point attempts during summer league, but he's not the only rookie sharpshooter to have struggled with his shot. Things will only get easier during the regular season with CP3 feeding him perfect passes as he spots up on the wing.
Bench Forward: Aron Baynes, San Antonio Spurs
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Las Vegas 2013: 12.0 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 0.3 APG, 1.2 BPG, 2.8 TOPG, 46.8 FG%
Is Aron Baynes the next great international member of the San Antonio Spurs? Doubtful.
Can he become a solid role player in the Spurs' post-Tim Duncan era? That appears more likely.
After leaving Europe in January 2013 to sign with San Antonio, Baynes bounced between the D-League and the NBA as a rookie. He only played 23 total minutes in the Spurs' run to the 2013 NBA Finals, all of which came against the beaten-and-battered Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.
Baynes showed off far more of his talent during the 2013 Las Vegas Summer League, averaging 12 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. The 26-year-old likely won't replace Tiago Splitter as the Spurs' prized post-Duncan big man, but his physicality should help him carve out a role nevertheless.
Bench Forward: Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns
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Las Vegas 2013: 14.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.2 BPG, 1.0 SPG, 2.5 TOPG, 56.9 FG%
Both Markieff and Marcus Morris have been turning heads in Las Vegas, but for this final spot on the Western Conference Summer League All-Star Team, Markieff takes the cake.
Morris hasn't made a major splash with the Phoenix Suns since being drafted with the No. 13 overall pick in 2011. He shot just under 40 percent as a rookie and only improved slightly in 2012-13, shooting 40.7 percent from the field.
During the 2013 Las Vegas Summer League, Markieff got back to basics. He began attacking the glass with reckless abandon and appeared intent on taking as many high-efficiency shots as possible.
While many players use summer league as an excuse to jack up as many shots as humanly possible, Morris took the opposite approach. If he's able to carry his improved shooting efficiency back to the regular NBA, that strategy could end up paying dividends down the line.