I have to work this Saturday, which meant that today I had a short, three hour shift at the bank, so when I got off at two, and contemplated what to do with the rest of my day, the unbearable heat outside made the decision for me, and I retired to the comfort of my cool apartment. I read for a while, finishing the book “Dear American Airlines” by Jonathan Miles, a book that at times was funny, but over the course of the last eighty or so pages I was just ready to be done with it, so I’m pretty happy about being able to rid my free time of that book now. At 3:30 I turned on ESPN U, to do something I’ve never before in my life done, and watched and NBA Summer League game. I’m just so sick of the monotonous baseball season right now, that I’ve resorted to going back and watching re-airs of last year’s football games, and since the Grizzlies were playing live on TV today, I eagerly welcomed the chance to watch some of our young players who might eventually become impact players on the team, and after watching, here are my big takeaways.
Our young guards show promise, but have a lot of work to do. There were times this afternoon when Wade Baldwin and Kobi Simmons made some incredible plays on the offensive end, breezing past defenders and tossing up what looked like nearly impossible trick shots that somehow fell in, but unfortunately, it almost seemed more common that they were throwing bad passes, carelessly turning the ball over, both in transition and when a play was unfolding. I love the intensity that Baldwin brings on the defensive side of the ball, but what good is an acrobatic steal if your going to immediately throw the ball away trying to push it quickly downcourt? They’re both young and both seem to have a ton of potential, so it’s obviously not time to panic, but hopefully they continue to develop and tweak the weaker aspects of their game so they can be real contributors on the Grizzlies roster sometime in the future.
Signing Wayne Selden to a multiyear deal this offseason was a great decision. From what I’ve witnessed today, and from what I’ve heard from the previous two summer league games, Selden hasn’t missed a beat since ending the season as a starter on the Grizzlies playoff team. He and Dillon Brooks, the rookie out of Oregon were the only two players on the Memphis side of the court that gave me consistent confidence on the offensive side of the court. I think his well rounded playing ability, both offensive and defensively, Selden will be fun to watch in Memphis this year, and he’ll hopefully be able to impact the game with meaningful minutes on most nights.
Finally, my last takeaway from watching the NBA Summer League today is not to put too much stock into what you see in Las Vegas. The reality is that most of the players in the Summer League aren’t going to be the most impactful players in the NBA this year, let alone on their own teams, so while watching the games might give you a glimpse of hope for the future, it’s best to wait and see what happens when the regular season rolls around. It’s all of the young guys playing against each other, so it’s really hard to tell how impactful they can be for their respective teams until they reach the regular season and are matched up against the league’s best players.