Summer League Standouts
4MP HyAli and I traveled to Sin City with three goals: Bullshit in paradise, indulge in debauchery and soak in the hoops at the 2019 Las Vegas Summer League. Needless to say, we crossed off our checklist with many hiccups and several ratchet-ass stories. I kid you not: In between the basketball, I guzzled down two fifths of Jameson, swigged a half of Jose Cuervo and got kicked out of Drai’s Beachclub for almost falling in the pool. I’ll save the story for the next podcast, but in the meantime, here’s our five standouts from the summer extravaganza.
Miami Heat G Tyler Herro
I called Herro no-calorie Devin Booker in my mock draft. At the Las Vegas Summer League, “Boy Wonder” looked the part, feeding buckets to whomever wanted a snack. He got to his spots whenever he wanted, showing off creativity with his handle. He torched boys with his feathery jumper. And he even showed off the court vision to succeed as a secondary playmaker. Shooting percentages don’t matter when it comes to the Summer League. It’s about whose game translates and whether or not can they create their own shot. A lite 19.8 points in a variety of ways over a four-game span suffices.
New Orleans Pelicans G Nickeil Alexander-Walker
Them boys from The Six want all the smoke. I don’t know if the weather in Toronto makes it impossible to go outside so dudes just stay in the gym, or if there’s something in the Degrassi High Kool Aid that rivals MJ’s Secret Stuff from Space Jam. Those boys can ball. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander put on for T.dot in 2018-19, proving to be a two-way force who’s about three years away from being mentioned with the NBA’s best point guards. His cousin, Alexander-Walker, arrived in Las Vegas for this year’s Summer League and stole the show. Among players who appeared in at least four games, the combo guard ranked first in scoring (24.3 ppg), fourth in assists (6.0 apg) and third in steals (2.8 spg).
Oklahoma City Thunder F Kevin Hervey
We nearly got kidnapped by an Uber driver over the weekend. Like, I shit you not, a black Israelite (the elite alpha hoteps) had us cooped up in the back of his car listening to copious amounts of bullshit. Through all the fluff, he fucked around and dropped a gem. In confidence, he told us that “prestigious” colleges don’t matter. Through the intoxication and the assault on our ears, I swear he mentioned Hervey. When it comes to blueblood hoops programs, The University of Texas at Arlington ain’t on the map. Quietly as kept, they do win games and make tournament appearances. Hervey can attest to that. The two-time Sun Belt Player of the Year went loco in Las Vegas, splashing triples, using his length to control both glass and paint while averaging 15.3 points, 10.3 boards and 1.5 rejections over four games. The former Maverick earned his seat at the table. .
Toronto Raptors F Chris Boucher
Big men need love too, Craig. And I’m not showing it to guys who had no business in Vegas. Why Jarrett Allen and Mitchell Robinson played is beyond me. I can somewhat understand Mitchell playing, but who plays a soon-to-be third-year center who just started 80 games for a playoff team? Sounds like bad business to me. Anyways, did y’all see Boucher? He ate last year in the G League, winning the MVP award after averaging 27.2 points, 11.4 rebounds and 4.1 blocks for the Raptors 905, got himself a ring with the Raptors and then dominated the 2019 Summer League, where he averaged 23.0 points, 9.8 boards and 1.3 blocks. Not bad for a Montreal kid who dropped out of high school at 16 and was washing dishes for less than $10 per hour at 19. Talk about a come up.
Washington Wizards F Rui Hachimura
No need to vote on the NBA’s most dysfunctional franchise. Washington dons the red nose proudly, taking clownery to new heights. Something might be awry when drafting a guy who nobody in the organization has ever spoken with, but I’m just a spectator who puts his drawers on one leg at a time. For some reason, the Wizards’ bizarre blind pick worked, as Hachimura turned out to be one of the Summer League’s best players. The first Japanese-born hooper to ever be selected in the NBA draft gave boys the blues with his silky-smooth inside-outside game, gobbled up every board in sight and protected the rim like a club bouncer who takes his job much too seriously. Check please.