Winners and Losers from Golden State Warriors Summer League
The Warriors' 7-0 run over the previous two weeks was incredibly positive, impressive and actually pretty fun to watch—which, considering the usual nature of summer league ball, is a credit to Golden State as well as an indication that the new semi-high stakes format is a good one.
Having said that, there are always winners and losers during the summer league. The tournament still serves primarily as a weeding-out process, one in which a team may bring in more than 15 players and leave with only three or four still being considered for a roster spot.
Here's a look at the winners and losers of the Warriors' summer league.
All stats are courtesy of NBA.com
Winner: Draymond Green
Draymond Green didn't have an especially good summer league. Sure, he averaged 12.7 PPG. 7.4 RPG and 2.0 SPG, but he also averaged 3.0 turnovers a night and shot only 31.1 percent from the field.
Considering he was one of the oldest, most experienced players in this year's summer league, those numbers actually appear underwhelming.
That being said, Green was a winner before the opening tip of the first game on July 13 against the Washington Wizards.
The 23-year-old forward showed up to Las Vegas 15 pounds lighter than he was two months prior when the Warriors' season ended.
Green showed an increased ability to run the floor, drive the lane, attack the rim and swat shots while also exhibiting greater stamina.
For a guy whose game is based around intense defense, rebounding and hustle plays, his improved body and physical abilities were far more important than a high shooting percentage would have been.
Loser: Scott Machado
Scott Machado was always a long shot to make the Warriors' opening day roster. After the team drafted Nemanja Nedovic, his odds decreased further.
They took a sharp downturn after the club added free agent Toney Douglas, and after his horrendous summer league performance, it's safe to call his exclusion from the roster a lock.
After starting at point guard for the first six games, Machado was relegated to the bench during the championship game. He only saw 49 seconds of playing time, and he had to know that it was the end of his Golden State career.
Machado finished the summer league with averages of 3.3 PPG, 1.9 RPG and 2.4 APG on 18.4 percent shooting in 15.4 minutes a night.
Winner: Kent Bazemore
The summer league is for two types of players: rookies or unsigned youngsters who are looking to earn a shot with an NBA team, and slightly more established players who are simply trying to work on their game.
This year, Kent Bazemore bridged the gap between these two categories.
After spending most of last season with the Warriors (although he did play for the D-League's Santa Cruz Warriors for a short while) and becoming a beloved locker room and bench presence, Bazemore was a lock to make Golden State's 2013-14 roster.
Still, another season of strict garbage-time minutes appeared to be more than likely. That is, until Bazemore set the summer league on fire, averaging 18.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 3.1 APG and 1.7 SPG on 44 percent shooting.
Combining his suddenly dynamic-looking offensive game with his already lauded defensive skill set made Bazemore look like the latter player I previously described, the one who is just in summer league to refine his game.
However, Bazemore had a lot to prove this summer. He did just that and elevated his status from deep benchwarmer to valuable role player in the process.
Loser: Jackie Carmichael
He's not a member of the Warriors, but the dirty dunk Bazemore threw down over the Dallas Mavericks' big man's head on July 18 may follow him around for a long time.
From the Warriors' standpoint, he's a big winner, as the dunk propelled the Dubs to a late surge and comeback victory over Dallas, eventually leading to an undefeated summer league and a championship.
Carmichael's memories of Las Vegas 2013 are sure to be less fond.
Winner: Golden State Warriors
The Warriors as a whole are the most obvious winners of all, but not primarily because they went a perfect 7-0 to claim the Las Vegas Summer League title.
Sure, winning the league is nice—and it's the first championship of any kind the Warriors' franchise has won since 1975—but it doesn't exactly increase their title odds.
What it does do is further establish Golden State as a breeding ground for young talent, its coaching staff as an elite group of mentors and its front office as a second-to-none team of talent evaluators.
The summer league roster featured guys who have played pivotal roles in NBA playoff games, some who may do so one day and others who will likely never see a minute of NBA action. Still, this wide-ranging mixture of talents played incredibly cohesively as a team. Many players showcased immense talent throughout, while others grew game by game.
The summer league title will not be long remembered, and neither will most players on that championship team.
Yet it's another reason to believe in the Golden State organization, an organization that has suddenly become known for doing everything the right way.