The NBA Summer League is getting a lot of press this year as a bevy of talented NBA hopefuls mix it up with a number of "next big things" in Las Vegas. This year's Las Vegas tournament has featured some impressive individual performances and has proven that the NBA will be in more than capable hands for the foreseeable future.
The Las Vegas tourney is down to just four teams as the Bobcats and Warriors will do battle to see who gets to face the winner of the Heat-Suns in the Finals. As this year's Summer League winds down in Vegas, let's take a minute to look back on some of the biggest breakout stars who have made a name for themselves in this summer's tourney.
Dwight Buycks, Toronto Raptors
Dwight Buycks' unique last name is confusing people so much that the Raptors felt the need to include a pronunciation tip when they announced the signing of the talented point guard:
The #Raptors announced today they have signed free-agent guard Dwight Buycks (bikes).— RaptorsMR (@RaptorsMR) July 16, 2013
While his name may be causing some confusion, his game certainly is not. Buycks has seemingly earned himself the No. 2 point guard spot behind Kyle Lowry for the Raptors after putting on an incredible show in Las Vegas.
Not only is Buycks leading all scorers in Las Vegas with 23.0 points per game, but he's also leading the Summer League in assists with 7.0 per contest, looking much different than his college career. During his time at Marquette in 2009-2010, he started 11 games for the Golden Eagles and averaged just 6.3 points and three rebounds per game.
Buycks has been a monster in the Vegas Summer tournament and has come out of nowhere to take the No. 2 point guard spot for the Toronto Raptors. He's been able to find the open man with ease and has had no trouble getting to the rack.
Jeffery Taylor, Charlotte Bobcats
Jeffery Taylor comes to the Bobcats out of Vanderbilt and has shown that he just might have what it takes to help turn the franchise around. The 6'7'' big man from Sweden is averaging over 20 points per game in the Summer League and has been incredibly consistent throughout his four games in Vegas, scoring 18, 19, 20 and 24 points.
The Bobcats have been rough on the court and are full of young talent. Taylor is playing like he might be one of the missing pieces to the puzzle for MJ and his struggling franchise.
Malcolm Thomas, Chicago Bulls
Chicago Bulls Andrew Goudelock leads LV Summer League in PPG, Malcolm Thomas leads in RPG, Marquis Teague leads in APG. Bulls are dominating— Chicago Bulls Rumors (@chicagobullsbot) July 16, 2013
Malcolm Thomas isn't shocking anyone with his points, averaging 11 per game. His rebounds, however, are a different story. Thomas is averaging 15 rebounds per contest in his three games with the Chicago Bulls in Vegas. In the Bulls' second game Thomas swiped an astounding 22 rebounds, 10 of them on the offensive glass, and contributed 13 points as the Bulls picked up a win over the Nuggets.
Thomas has been a force on the boards for the Bulls, who could use some help in the frontcourt. He's put up some crazy numbers in Vegas and has been a big surprise to NBA fans. If you're familiar with South Korean basketball, you wouldn't be that surprised.
During the NBA lockout in 2011, Thomas took his talents to the Mobis Phoebus in the Korean Basketball League. While there he averaged 21 points, 11 rebounds and three assists per game.
Thomas has bounced around NBA D-League teams since coming out of San Diego State in the 2011 NBA Draft, but it appears that he's finally found a home in Chicago if he can continue to play like he has in Vegas.
CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers
CJ McCollum has been another breakout star in the NBA's Summer League. He's averaging 21 points per contest for the Trail Blazers and is bringing down over four boards per game as well. McCollum is an extremely talented shooter coming out of Lehigh and has shown that he has the offensive prowess to compete against NBA players of his age.
McCollum has dazzled audiences in Las Vegas, sitting at second in points per game behind Buycks and has shown that, with a little work, he can become a great guard in the NBA. He's already had a few impressive shows of ball-handling in summer league games and looks like he'll be a great fit with Damian Lillard and Lamarcus Aldridge and the rest of the talented, young Trail Blazers roster.