This past weekend, Days 9 and 10 of action at the 2009 NBA Summer League brought the show in Sin City to a close. Of course ballers who had been rolling all week like Blake Griffin of the Clippers (Most Outstanding Player), the Spurs' DeJuan Blair and Portland's Jerryd Bayless left one final, lasting impression with their great play in the week's closeout games, but perhaps the Nuggets Ty Lawson (pictured at left) made the biggest impression.
The kid from UNC really showed what he is made of this week. Lawson hung tough through his early struggles in Vegas, stay composed and positive, then rallied strong over the final three days. HoopsTV 's James Kaikis has that story and all the rest of the details from the final games of the 2009 NBA Summer League. HoopsTV's James Kaikis has those stories and all the rest of the details from this past weekend at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Here are some notes from Day 9 & 10 of the NBA Summer League :
Bulls Rally in Final Minutes; Johnson and Hill Impress :
As New York Knicks Coach Mike D'Antoni was on the sidelines, the Chicago Bulls gave the Knicks their fourth loss of the NBA Summer League with a 19-3 run in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. James Johnson again looked very impressive on the court showing his well-rounded abilities. Johnson finished with 20 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists including a fast break ally-oop to Josh Shipp and a nasty crossover reverse lay-up on Jordan Hill. Hill looked impressive for the second straight day scoring 16 points with 9 boards.
Jonny Flynn Comments on the Ricky Rubio Situation :
Jonny Flynn again played lights out scoring 24 points with 4 rebounds and 4 assists in a loss against the New Orleans Hornets. After the game, HoopsTV was able to talk to Flynn about his stance on the Ricky Rubio situation. "It would be great for him to come over and play with me. He can make me a whole lot better of a player and I think I can make him a better player so I would love to have this situation resolved." Flynn went on to say that "He will do whatever it takes to get him (Rubio) to come [to Minnesota]." The combination of Flynn and Rubio in the backcourt together would be exciting for Minnesota and potentially dangerous for opponents.
Grizzles Stay Unbeaten Behind Sam Young's 20 points. :
The Memphis Grizzles smashed the Phoenix Suns 97-60 to push their record to 4-0 thus far. Second round draft pick Sam Young fueled the Grizzles with 20 points, 13 in the first half. No. 2 pick Hasheem Thabeet had his best showing thus far during Summer League but still only managed 10 points and 7 rebounds "I'm trying to play better. I want to be a force," Thabeet said in his postgame interview. In the Suns loss Robin Lopez struggled for the third consecutive game scoring only 1 point and 4 rebounds in 23 minutes.
Griffin, McGee battle as Wiz top Clipps :
Blake Griffin posted his third double-double in four games by scoring 19 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 4 steals, but it was Wizards JaVale McGee who led his team to victory. "Everybody came out and played a good game." McGee told HoopsTV in his postgame interview. The former first round pick finished with 19 points to go along with 4 rebounds and an impressive 7 blocked shots. Wizards guard Nick Young continued his hot streak scoring 19 points in the win.
The NCAA Champ Is Back :
Former UNC Tar Heel, now Nugget point man, Ty Lawson was impressessive for second straight game. Lawson responded after his 26-point effort Friday with a 21 point win in win against the D-League Select. Lawson, who had played much better as of late, was able to find his touch outside going 3-4 from three-point land. The Nuggets received another solid effort from guard Ronald Depree, who added a game-high 22 points off the bench. D-League Select forward Jasper Johnson scored 21 points in 20 minutes in the loss.
Bayless, Jeter, Pendergraph Lead Blazers Past Spurs :
Pooh Jeter and Jared Bayless scored 19 and 18 points as the Blazers guards shined in a 91-74 win over the Spurs. Jeters' shots were dropping throughout the game shooting 8-13 while splitting point guard duties with Bayless. Last years top rookie, Bayless, looked more comfortable against the Spurs but had his fourth straight game of at least 6 turnovers. "I did what I needed to do. Pooh had it going tonight. I just tried to put them [teammates] in spots,"Bayless said. Blazers center Jeff Pendergraph posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. For the Spurs, DeJaun Blair again led his team with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Blair Says He's in the Perfect Situation :
"I fell into the perfect team. This team loves me and it feels amazing." Blair told HoopsTV. DeJuan Blair, who was projected by some as a top 15 pick, slid to the 37th pick in the 2009 draft when the Spurs more than willingly snatched him up. The Spurs have been known for finding gems in the second round and it seems Blair may fit that stereotype. "I've come from nothing to having everything I ever dreamed of." The former Pitt Panther has already signed a three-year guaranteed contract, something that is not typical of second round picks."Hopefully after Timmy [Duncan] is gone, this will be my team until I retire." Blair said. Although those comments might be a little premature, Blair is averaging 16.3 points and 8.7 rebounds in three Summer League games. If Blair has it his way, every team will regret their decision to pass on him.
Young, Douglas sit out; McGee, Hill Battle as Wiz drop Knicks :
JaVale McGee came out firing on all cylinders for the second straight day in the Vegas Summer League. McGee was matched up against Knicks Jordan Hill for most of the game but managed 31 points, 8 rebounds and 4 block shots. The Wizards were playing without star guard Nick Young but reserve guard Tyrese Rice picked up the slack and chipped in with 17 points. The Knicks, playing without rookie Tony Douglas, dropped to 0-5 during the '09 NBA Summer League. While Jordan Hill initially struggled this week, Hill looked much better in his final two games. In the loss against the Wizards, Hill scored 21 points and chipped in 7 boards. Knicks Fourth year player Nikoloz Tskitishvilli showed his three-point touch shooting 4-6 from behind the arc in addition to 8 rebounds off the bench.
Flynn named T-Mobile Rookie of the Month :
Johnny Flynn was not only a fan favorite in Vegas this week but before Sunday's action he was announced as the T-Mobile Rookie of the Month. Flynn averaged 15 points and 7.4 assists in 27.4 minutes per game. The first round pick was not only impressive on the court but off the court as well. In numerous post-game interviews with HoopsTV, Flynn was a class act and more than willing to give his opinions on all subjects. "Vegas is great! It's [summer league] definitely been fun. It's good to come out here and learn the NBA game while just enjoying the whole process," Flynn said. If Flynn plays anything like he did during the Summer League, watch out NBA.
Leader of the Pack :
Corey Brewer, the former first round pick and second year guard out of Florida was happy he could help be a leader during the Wolves summer league. "I thought it was pretty good. I'm an old man," Brewer told HoopsTV. "Its cool being the old man though, I've been here a couple years and just teaching the guys the right way and wrong way." Brewer played in four games in the summer league, averaging 12.8 points per game in limited action. Brewers' best game came Sunday during a loss to the Bulls in which the ex-Gator dropped a game high 20 points.
James Johnson impresses as Bulls defeat Wolves :
Although Bulls rookie James Johnson didn't have the best numbers during the summer league, he was easily one of the best players on the court all week. The first rounder added 18 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists to his Vegas resume in a win vs. the T-Wolves. James was not only able to score and rebound but showed skills passing the ball as well as some nice moves for a big man. The Bulls finished with 5 players in double figures in the win.
Grizzles Go Perfect; Marcus Williams Continues His Roll :
The Memphis Grizzlies finished the Summer League with a 5-0 in a win against the San Antonio Spurs. Marcus Williams has looked great in Vegas and again today finished it for Memphis with the game winning layup. Williams finished with 11 points and 5 dimes while Sam Young and DeMarre Carroll each dropped 16 points and 5 rebounds. Hasheem Thabeet struggled offensively; scoring his first bucket with 3:54 left in the second half. Thabeet wasn't able to get into double figures for the fourth time in five games scoring 9 points. The Spurs who played without DeJuan Blair were led by Ian Mahinmi who scored 15 points and 9 rebounds.
Lawson Reflects on Week in Vegas :
Ty Lawson struggled early in the summer league but was able to get on track during the Nuggets win vs. Hornets in a triple-OT marathon. "I feel good about my performance. The first few games I struggled but it was a fun atmosphere especially with players like Kevin Durant out here," Lawson said. "The first two games I realized what I can and can't do but the next three I found my niche and everything so it was a real successful summer." Lawson finished with 24 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in the thriller.
Select Rally from 20 Down to Win on Buzzer Beater :
The D-League Select finished the Vegas Summer League with a win against the Trail Blazers and an impressive 3-2 record. During Sunday's action, Jasper Johnson and Will Frisby led the Select to a 74-73 win. During the last few seconds of the game Kurt Looby stole the Blazer inbound pass and kicked it to Marcus Hubbard, who nailed the long-range three pointer as time expired. With the Blazers playing without Jared Bayless, Dante Cunningham and David Moss each finished the game with 16 points. Cunningham played very well throughout the Summer League leading the Blazers with an average of 18.3 points per game.
Blake Griffin Named Summer Leagues Most Outstanding Player :
Blake Griffin was announced as the MOP of the Vegas Summer League before the beginning of the Clippers game vs the Suns. The No. 1 pick finished with averages of 19.2 points per game and 10.8 rebounds per game. Not only did Griffin win the award but also was far and wide the all-around best rookie during the summer league. Scouts marveled of his potential and playing power. Many believe he is ready to make an immediate role in the NBA this season.