Bleacher Report's Official 2014 NBA Summer League All-Star Team
The Orlando and Las Vegas summer leagues this year were loaded with talent, from the incoming rookies and returning sophomores to the third-year-players who had something to prove.
Between both leagues, we selected 16 All-Stars based on their production, efficiency and impact.
Only players who played in at least four games were taken into All-Star consideration. Conferences did not come into play during the selection process.
Glen Rice Jr., Washington Wizards
Glen Rice Jr. had just about everything working for him in Vegas, where he was named MVP of the event after leading it in scoring with 25 points a game.
He caught fire from outside throughout the tournament, hitting six threes against the San Antonio Spurs and four against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
But it was ultimately the damage he did inside the arc that stood out the most. Rice is exceptionally strong for a wing. He finished a number of plays after contact, while he used his body and off arm on others to bang and create separation into shots.
He took a whopping 64 free throws in just six games. Rice also averaged 7.8 boards and 2.5 steals, giving Washington a physical, active presence at both ends of the floor.
He'll need that shooting stroke to connect with a little more consistency, but with Rice's size and versatility, the Wizards should be able to find minutes for him this upcoming season.
Tim Hardaway Jr., New York Knicks
In Vegas, Tim Hardaway Jr. looked like an NBA scorer amongst incoming rookies and former castoffs. He reminded us how he cracked New York's rotation as a rookie, having connected on his catch-and-shoot opportunities and finishing with ease in the open floor.
But Hardaway always had the shot-making ability—in Vegas, he showcased some shot creativity we didn't see from him last year. He scored a number of buckets off the dribble, whether he was stopping and popping or using touch on the move. And in five games, he got to the line 34 times.
Hardaway has also clearly added some muscle to his frame and confidence to his game.
He averaged 22.8 points on 38.1 percent shooting from downtown with 16 made three-pointers. He should get regular minutes in New York's rotation this season.
Otto Porter, Washington Wizards
Otto Porter actually looked like a guy who at one point might have been taken No. 3 overall in the draft.
He averaged 19 points and 5.8 boards on 48.4 percent shooting and 38.9 percent from downtown over Washington's six games in Vegas.
It was the same Porter we saw out of Georgetown—a guy who can play without the ball and score off cuts, slashes, flashes and curls.
Though not necessarily considered a scorer by label, Porter's ability to catch, rise and fire from anywhere on the floor led to a whole lot of buckets in the mid- to long range.
He struggled shooting the ball in Washington's semifinal loss to the Sacramento Kings, but in his previous five games, he had made seven of 13 from downtown. I'm not sure fans could have asked for a more encouraging showing after Porter's disastrous rookie year.
With Trevor Ariza gone and 36-year-old Paul Pierce now in, the Wizards should be counting on Porter for minutes in 2014-15.
Tony Snell, Chicago Bulls
Tony Snell looked like a different player out there in Vegas, where he averaged 20 points a game on a scorching 50 percent shooting from downtown.
His confidence was at a whole other level. He was sticking jumpers left and right, whether he was open or challenged, inside the arc or behind it.
Inside, he was even creating his own shots with step-backs and pull-ups—something you rarely saw from him at New Mexico or as a rookie. And he used his handle, which is better than most know, to get to his spots on the floor and set up teammates for buckets (averaged 2.8 assists).
Behind the arc, he drilled 17 of 34 three-point attempts with that deep range and quick, effortless release.
Snell didn't shoot the ball with much consistency last season, but based on what we saw in Vegas, his rookie jitters appear to be gone.
Donatas Motiejunas, Houston Rockets
Donatas Motiejunas could be entering one of those make-or-break seasons on the last guaranteed year of his rookie deal. So it was a good thing he went out and averaged 16.8 points and 8.4 boards on 64.4 percent shooting in seven games in Orlando and Vegas.
He showed off his great skill level and feel for the game in the post, where he's got exceptional footwork and touch. The Rockets isolated him down low throughout Summer League, given his ability to create high-percentage shots for himself with his back to the rim.
And he delivered. Motiejunas hit a number of jump hooks with his left and right hand. And he made a couple of nice moves by facing up and attacking off the bounce.
Motiejunas even showed some stretch 4 potential by knocking down five of 12 three-point attempts.
Without any obvious frontcourt answers off Houston's bench, Motiejunas should have a real opportunity to earn regular minutes in his third year on the job.
Doug McDermott, Chicago Bulls
Though not featured like he was for the last three years at Creighton, Doug McDermott still managed to generate plenty of offense in Vegas, where he averaged 18 points through four games.
McDermott erupted for 31 points on just 12 shots against the Denver Nuggets, and he followed with 20 points and six assists against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Throughout the event, McDermott showcased his ability to score without dominating the ball or over-dribbling. He consistently gave his guards and playmakers a target to hit in the half court by running off screens and stretching the floor.
And once he's open—forget about it. After shooting at least 40 percent from downtown in each of his four years at Creighton, McDermott hit 12 of 27 threes (44.4 percent) in Summer League. He also made 22 of 23 from the stripe.
Occasionally, we saw McDermott separate for jumpers one-on-one or attack his man off the bounce, but as a rookie, look for the Bulls to value his shot-making ability off the ball. With that high basketball IQ and elite stroke, he should be able to contribute right away.
T.J. Warren, Phoenix Suns
For the most part, T.J. Warren was unstoppable in Vegas, much like he was as a sophomore at N.C. State, where he finished third in the country in scoring.
He went for 26 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves, 28 against the Philadelphia 76ers and 22 against the Golden State Warriors, having converted at least 10 field goals in each.
With all 37 of his Summer League buckets coming inside the arc, Warren's scoring instincts and improvisation were on full display throughout the event.
He's constantly moving without the ball and finding ways to score off cuts, curls, slashes, flashes and spot-ups. With the ball, he's a threat to rise and fire off the dribble or weave between traffic.
And he was also automatic in transition thanks to some stunning body control and a mean open-floor Eurostep.
Warren didn't hit one three-pointer this summer, and as a small forward prospect, that's something he'll eventually need to address. But you just can't ignore the volume production, both in the ACC and in Vegas.
If I'm the Suns, I'm looking at Warren for some immediate firepower as a weapon off the bench.
C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers
C.J. McCollum averaged 21 points a game in the 2013 Vegas Summer League, only he shot just 36 percent. This summer, he went for 20.2 points on a much-improved 47.9 percent, which can be attributed to a better understanding of how to go about hunting for offense, as well as some extra confidence that naturally comes with being a second-year player.
And they both led to more consistent shot-making during the event. McCollum torched defenses off ball screens, where he can stop-and-pop over picks or use them to weave through traffic. And with that nifty handle, he showcased his shot creativity, particularly in the mid-range.
He's an undersized scorer, and at 6'3", he's probably not guarding many starting-caliber 2-guards. But the Blazers could use some offensive firepower off that bench.
Look for McCollum to battle Will Barton for backup minutes this season.
Jordan McRae, Philadelphia 76ers
Jordan McRae lit up Vegas for 21 points a game on 50 percent shooting for the Philadelphia 76ers. The No. 58 pick in the 2014 draft was the No. 3 scorer at the event.
A big-time athlete and offensive microwave, McRae put up points in bunches this summer. He caught fire from outside, where he can rise and release over defenders off the catch or off the dribble. And he showed off his explosive attack game and burst by getting to the line 37 times in four games.
The Sixers really don't pack much firepower in their backcourt. I wouldn't be surprised if McRae not only made the team, but also found a way to crack the rotation. He's got a sixth-man scorer's type of ceiling.
Isaiah Canaan, Houston Rockets
Isaiah Canaan has been the engine that's powered this Houston Rockets Summer League team into the Vegas championship game.
He went for 24 points in the semifinal game against the Charlotte Hornets, and two games prior, he dropped 28 on the Cleveland Cavaliers, which included a couple of big ones down the stretch that ultimately helped the Rockets prevail.
His signature play came against Cleveland, when he sized up Andrew Wiggins and beat him one-on-one to the rack with under 20 seconds left to play.
Canaan has strong, powerful legs and deceiving quickness off the bounce. And he's lethal from outside, especially when his confidence is pumping.
After trading Jeremy Lin, the Rockets could use a secondary ball-handler off the bench. The fact that Canaan can light it up from deep only enhances his appeal as a backup point guard candidate.
Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
Rudy Gobert was an eye-opener in Las Vegas.
He nearly averaged a double-double (11.8 points, 9.8 boards) in four games while missing a total of seven shots.
Gobert shot a whopping 73.1 percent from the field and scored in double figures in each game. He's not much of a threat to beat defenders outside the paint, but inside, he showed he's capable of scoring over the shoulder and playing through contact.
Still, most of his offensive damage continues to be done as a finisher off dump passes, lobs and offensive put-backs. You just can't guard him two feet above the rim.
Defensively, he takes up a hilarious amount of space when you consider his 7'2" size and 7'8.5" wingspan. Gobert averaged 2.5 blocks a game in Vegas, where he was practically swatting shots with his elbows.
Though clearly raw and underdeveloped, Gobert serves a purpose out there even without the post moves and skills.
Russ Smith, New Orleans Pelicans
Russ Smith carried his much-improved floor game into Vegas by leading the league in assists.
Instead of looking for his own shot first, Smith made an obvious effort as a facilitator to get his teammates involved. This is something we saw more of from him during his senior year at Louisville, when he raised his assist average to 4.6 from 2.9 a game.
"I'm reading ball screens, attacking the defense and kicking the ball out," Smith said earlier to John Reid of The Times Picayune. "Just about everything we did at Louisville kind of carries over to here, so I feel very comfortable about my abilities."
Smith complemented his passing with his patented microwave scoring ability—he went for at least 19 points three different times, showing off that quickness attacking the rim and his shooting stroke on the perimeter.
He was named to the All-NBA Summer League second team after averaging 16 points, five boards and 6.4 assists.
Justin Hamilton, Miami Heat
Justin Hamilton was a standout in both Orlando and Las Vegas, having averaged 15.2 points and 6.8 boards on 50 percent shooting over eight total games.
He's an active 7-footer who can score around the rim, pick up easy buckets on the break and occasionally stretch the floor as a shooter. Hamilton actually hit seven three-pointers during the summer.
The jumper will be big for Hamilton moving forward—he can serve a much greater purpose if he's able to consistently threaten the defense as a shooter.
Miami will soon have to decide whether to keep him. If it doesn't, expect Europe to come calling.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit Pistons
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope quickly established himself as the Detroit Pistons' top scoring option in Summer League with a 26-point outburst against the Houston Rockets.
And then he just took off.
Following his debut, Caldwell-Pope went for 30 points against the Memphis Grizzlies, 26 against the Miami Heat and 26 against the Boston Celtics. He put on a perimeter-scoring clinic with pull-up, step-back and deep, spot-up jumpers. And when the lane was available, he showcased his ability to attack in line drives.
However, he took 18.8 shots a game this summer. In the regular season, he'll be lucky if he gets half of that. Caldwell-Pope's challenge as a sophomore will be staying consistent as a fourth or fifth option.
Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia 76ers
Nerlens Noel looked as good as anyone could have hoped in Orlando, finishing as the league leader in shot-blocking and steals (tied) and the No. 13 scorer with 13.7 points a game.
He also played two games in Las Vegas, where he averaged 13 points and 5.5 boards.
Defensively, he posed as a massive disruption, both at the rim and away from it. Inside, if he wasn't blocking shots, he was changing them. Outside, he was defending pick-and-rolls, picking up deflections and intercepting passes.
Offensively, he showed off some moves in the post we've never seen him deliver before. Noel converted a couple of floaters, a number of lefty jump hooks, a few dribble-drives and even an 18-foot jumper.
ProBasketballTalk's Kurt Helin thought Noel looked like the best player in Vegas. And I wouldn't argue against it.
After a torn ACL cost him his entire rookie year, the bounce in Noel's step appears to be back.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
At times, Giannis Antetokounmpo looked like the top prospect in all of Summer League. He averaged 17 points and 5.8 boards on 46.2 percent shooting, and though the production contributed to his All-Star invitation, the strides he's made were what stood out the most.
Between the through-the-legs step-back jumpers, the nifty crossovers on the perimeter and fadeaways in the post, Antetokounmpo's offensive game looks a lot more polished and refined. He also connected on 37.5 percent of his three-point attempts.
Coach Jason Kidd even experimented with the "Greek Freak" at the point, where he dished out five assists against the Utah Jazz.
He was consistent throughout his four games in Vegas, scoring at least 15 points in each. The Milwaukee Bucks should be excited about Jabari Parker, the No. 2 pick in the 2014 draft, but I wouldn't be shocked if Antetokounmpo steals the spotlight this year with more flashes of jaw-dropping upside.
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