Just four teams remain in the Las Vegas NBA Summer League tournament. A league that started with 24 teams is now down to the Portland Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers.
The Trail Blazers defeated the San Antonio Spurs 94-87 on Saturday, while the Mavericks beat the Boston Celtics 91-74. The Grizzlies outlasted the Miami Heat in a 98-95 contest, while the Los Angeles Lakers bested the Brooklyn Nets 115-106.
The semifinal round will take place on Sunday, July 16.
We’re here to break down the remaining Las Vegas Summer League schedule and to examine some of what has taken place over the weekend so far. We’ll examine some of the standout storylines and stats from Saturday’s action while also looking ahead.
Las Vegas NBA Summer League
Sunday, July 16
Portland vs. Memphis: 6 p.m. ET
L.A. Lakers vs. Dallas: 8 p.m. ET
Monday, July 17
Swanigan Continues to Roll
Portland power forward Caleb Swanigan has been a surprise standout of the Las Vegas Summer League and has helped his team reach the semifinal round. While Swanigan isn’t a flashy player, he’s a hard worker and is gritty enough to get the job done.
Jeremy Woo of SI.com had the following to say of Swanigan:
“He looks like he belongs. He’s the type of player who was easy to overthink during the draft process, but he’s looked mobile enough and has more than enough length to make up for the lack of height. Given Portland’s cap-sheet constraints, nabbing Swanigan at No. 26 looks prudent. Summer League stats come and go, but the hustle speaks volumes. How many guys are fun to watch rebound?”
The 26th overall draft selection in this year’s draft has been solid during the playoff portion of the summer league. In Las Vegas, he’s been averaging 10.3 rebounds, 14.8 points and 1.5 assists per game. According to ESPN Stats & Information, this puts him on pace to be just the fourth rookie to average a double-double in summer-league play:
Swanigan might not be the tallest guy on the court—though he’s still 6’9″. It’s his physicality and 250-pound frame that allows him to be such a force in the rebounding department.
In Saturday’s win over the Spurs, Swanigan produced 16 points, nine rebounds and three assists.
Lonzo Anderson Ball has been a less surprising star of the summer league so far. The second overall pick of the Los Angeles Lakers came with some fairly lofty expectations, but he has lived up to the hype to this point—at least after some early hiccups.
The UCLA product produced just five points in his first game of the summer, going 2-of-15 from the field and 1-of-11 from beyond the arc. It was a miserable introduction that was soon to be forgotten.
Ball followed up his introductory game with a pair of triple-double outings—the first by a rookie in the summer league over the past 10 years, per Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver:
Ball nearly pulled another triple-double during Saturday’s victory over the Nets. He finished that game with 14 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. As a pass-first point guard, Ball excelled Saturday, just as he has over the past week.
Ball leads all players in the Las Vegas league with over nine assists per game. Coming into the weekend, he had produced three straight games with more than 10 assists—a first for an NBA rookie, according to ESPN Stats & Information:
This means Ball joins Swanigan in some pretty elite rookie company.
Ball’s ability to see the court was one of the reasons the Lakers were willing to take him with the second overall pick in the draft. Marketability was another. Thanks in large part to the outspoken voice of his father, LaVar Ball, Lonzo has already become something of an NBA media sensation. The presence of LaVar‘s company, the Big Baller Brand, and its shoes have had something to do with that.
However, Lonzo hasn’t exclusively worn BBB shoes during the summer league. On Saturday, he donned a pair of Under Armour Curry 4s:
According to LaVar, Lonzo‘s decision to wear different shoes in Vegas came for a reason.
“It’s making a statement to the brands of what they could have had with an open mind,” LaVar said, per Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. “The players are the brand ambassadors. The brand is nothing without the players.”
One thing is for certain. If Ball plays during the regular season like he has over the past few days, he’s not going to have a shortage of companies willing to advertise on his shoe space.
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