While the start of the 2013-2014 NBA campaign is still months away, the 2013 NBA Summer League has given basketball junkies plenty to talk about.
The competition obviously lacks the presence of big names, but hardcore fans have been treated to basketball played by both future stars and NBA hopefuls.
Though several players, such as Andre Drummond and Jonas Valanciunas, stepped in and dominated as expected, other players made names for themselves through both impressive and lackluster performances.
Let’s take a look at both the biggest surprises and letdowns of the 2013 NBA Summer League.
Even the most dedicated basketball fans would have had trouble telling you much about the former Marquette point guard.
However, after a series of strong Summer League performances, Buycks has played his way into an NBA job.
The first thing that should be said about Buycks is that he has displayed a tremendous work ethic this summer. The 24-year-old took a calculated risk, as he played in both summer locations for the Thunder and the Heat.
While decisions like this are rare due to the generally sloppy and physical nature of Summer League contest, Buycks chose to double his chances at impressing NBA scouts.
And impress is what Buycks did, averaging 14 points per game on 51.7 percent shooting while also dishing out 6.3 assists per game.
Buycks, who has played in both the D-League and overseas since his time at Marquette, did enough to impress the Toronto Raptors, who went on to sign Buycks with the hope that he’ll compete for a backup gig.
If Buycks isn’t the definition of a Summer League dream, I don’t know what is.
The D-League Selects
Speaking of players living the dream, the story of the D-League Select squad seems like a fairytale.
Take a bunch of no-names, throw them up against NBA players and watch them get demolished.
Not this bunch.
Despite being a mishmash of D-League stars with only days to practice together, the Selects did more than hold their own against their NBA counterparts, going 4-1 in the tournament.
The biggest thing about this team was that it had no fears, no expectations and, most importantly, no doubts.
"They sent us e-mails about the team, and then we came together the Sunday before last, in Vegas," said point guard Stefhon Hannah in an interview with Grantland's Rembert Browne. "On that Sunday we had a meeting, and our whole mind-set from the jump was 'Let's come in and win a championship.’”
Despite falling short in the quarterfinals, the D-League team showed how far heart and desire can take a team that appears to be overmatched.
The former Kansas Jayhawk did little to justify his status as seventh overall pick in the 2013 draft, showing that he still has one major flaw in his game: his shooting.
The Sacramento Kings rookie shot a putrid 33.3 percent from the field, raising doubts over his shooting touch. McLemore also struggled with passing the ball, as he recorded zero assists despite averaging 3.6 turnovers per game.
McLemore’s worst performance came in a 92-54 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, putting up a disastrous one point on 0-for-8 shooting.
While McLemore never got discouraged throughout his time at the Summer League, he is going to have to improve his shooting percentage if he wants to play a big part in Sacramento this season.
Despite being touted as one of the most NBA-ready prospects in this year’s draft, Otto Porter didn’t exactly impress during his limited time in Vegas.
Before being knocked out by a hamstring injury, the Georgetown product made little to no impact for the Wizards.
Porter put up a very pedestrian 6.3 points per game while shooting 30 percent from the field.
Porter, who was chosen third overall in this year’s draft, was expected to be dominant against the obviously weaker Summer League competition, so his struggles are definitely worrying.
He is going to have to really elevate his game if he ever wants to live up to the Wizards fans’ already lofty expectations.
Statistics courtesy of NBA.com.
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