July 20, 2018, 4:52 pm
Welcome back Hoop Ballers to our International Spotlight weekly feature where we will be taking a look at how some 2nd and 3rd year international players performed during this year’s Summer League. I don’t really like calling out winners and losers in the summer tournaments but there are always some highs and lows that give us a glimpse about the future of certain individuals in the league.
Guerschon Yabusele, Boston Celtics, PF
12.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.8 blocks in 26.3 minutes per game
Yabusele came out of the tournament claiming his time in Vegas was beneficial and positive, and he specifically emphasized on the opportunity to play both the 4 and the 5 position. The young forward looked more comfortable and as he is entering his second season with the Celtics it looks like he is still adjusting to the complicated offensive system of Brad Stevens. The team team is trying to develop him into a playmaking big just like Al Horford and while Yabusele still needs to shred some weight he should have more opportunities in his sophomore year.
Willy Hernangomez, Charlotte Hornets, C
18.3 points, 12.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.8 blocks in 28 minutes per game
Considered a veteran by Summer League standards, Hernangomez has been a double-double machine every time he gets the minutes. The Knicks and the Hornets were loaded at the center position last year and Hernangomez had a disappointing sophomore season but he was among the most consistent players in Las Vegas, notching a double-double in all four games. The Hornets shipped Dwight Howard out of Charlotte at the beginning of the summer but there is still a bit of a logjam there, with Cody Zeller, Frank Kaminsky and Bismack Biyombo all in contention for playing time so it’s not a lock that the Spaniard will be getting major minutes.
Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavs, SF
20.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.0 blocks per game in 31.5 minutes
Cedi clearly dominated Summer League in just a couple games with the Cavs, showing some much needed leadership skills. His game seems to slowly develop and Kyle Korver reportedly helped him with his stroke last year in Cleveland so the Turkish forward might be a breakout candidate this upcoming season.
Ante Zizic, Cleveland Cavs, C
20.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 26.5 minutes per game
The 21-year-old center was also extremely comfortable in a couple games in Las Vegas and he could see an expanded role if the Cavs fall out of playoff contention. I took a look into him a few months ago.
Zhou Qi, Houston Rockets, C
12 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 3.0 blocks per game in 21.3 minutes
Qi didn’t have many opportunities to see the floor for the Rockets last season, spending most of his time in the G-League where he averaged 11.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks while shooting 33.3 percent from deep. The Chinese center still has work to do, but his participation in Summer League this year was positive and he might be trending in the right direction as a rim protector who can stretch the floor for a Rockets team that still hasn’t re-signed Clint Capela.
Cheick Diallo, New Orleans Pelicans, PF/C
20.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks in 28.5 minutes
The third-year big man looked great making the case about earning more reserve frontcourt minutes but it’s going be tough to do so in New Orleans with Nikola Mirotic and Julius Randle destined to dominate the minutes next to Anthony Davis.
Furkan Korkmaz, Philadelphia Sixers, SG
16.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 25 minutes per game.
The former 26th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft played really well in Summer League and the team just traded away the two guys who he would’ve competed with for minutes (Justin Anderson and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot so it seems that there is finally a path for him to get some minutes.
Frank Ntilikina, New York Knicks, PG
11.0 points, 5.5 assists and 1.5 steals in 28.5 minutes per game
The French youngster played in only the Knicks’ first two games after sustaining a groin injury which isn’t considered serious. He offered a mixed bag, struggling in the opener and bouncing back the next day, showing some aggressiveness right from the beginning. Coach David Fizdale plans to stick with Ntilikina playing only the point guard position and he has been adamant about challenging him to play more selfishly on the offensive end of the floor. The competition for the starting job in New York looks open and the team will likely use the 2018-19 season to determine if Ntilikina is capable of potentially developing into a full-time, starting-caliber point guard.
Chinanu Onuaku, Houston Rockets, C
5.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 11.8 minutes per game
It’s hard to see Chinanu Onuaku making it past this summer on the Rockets and it’s really just his awkward free throw shooting that has made him famous in the NBA so far.
Terrance Ferguson, Oklahoma City Thunder, SG
7.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.0 steals in a team-leading 28.8 minutes per game
The 20-year-old was handed heavy responsibility by the Thunder staff who put the ball in his hands, but he didn’t look fluid as he shot just 30 percent and averaged a little bit over one assist. It’s unclear whether Dennis Schroder’s arrival will have any impact on his minutes but the path for a starting gig is definitely something on the deep horizon.
Jonah Bolden, Philadelphia Sixers, PF/C
6.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks in 23 minutes per game
A subpar Summer League by the Aussie had many wondering if he would end up playing in Philadelphia this year but the Sixers are really high on him and they ended up trading away Richaun Holmes today in order to sign him to a four-year deal. Bolden was too eager to try and make a play, often rushing and forcing a mistake while shooting just 35 percent from the field but even though he had his ups and downs on the defensive side of the ball, he has shown the ability to be a solid defender. Bolden didn’t really put up great numbers in Europe last season and finding minutes for him in Philadelphia is still going to be tough but he will only get better by training with NBA coaches and getting a handful of minutes in the G-League.
Dragan Bender, Phoenix Suns, PF/C
6.6 points and 5.2 rebounds on just 37 percent shooting from the field
The Dragon’s third Summer League was highlighted by the inconsistency that has been characterizing his NBA career so far. Bender shot better from deep last season while becoming a more active playmaker and I’m looking forward to seeing how the new coaching staff under Igor Kokoskov utilizes him in Phoenix.
Other Names to Watch
Alpha Kaba, Atlanta Hawks, PF/C
7.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.4 blocks in just 16 minutes in five games
Kaba, the last pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, had a promising Summer League after gaining some weight and being able to hold his ground against NBA caliber players but I think he’s still 1-2 years away from being on an NBA roster. A 6’10”, 225 lb. big man who played last season in the French Pro A League, his season was interrupted due to knee tendinitis but he returned for the playoffs and had a strong finish to the year.
Isaiah Hartenstein, Houston Rockets, C
10.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.3 blocks in 22.0 minutes per game
As expected, last year, during his first Summer League, Hartenstein looked shaky, nervous, and somewhat afraid on the court but a year of professional experience has done wonders as he looks stronger, more confident and eager to prove himself. The German big man can shoot the ball well, is a sneaky source of rim protection, makes his free throws and is a capable ball handler that can pass out of the pick-and-roll action. With Nene getting older, and Onuaku still a ways from contributing, Hartenstein is discussing a potential deal with the Rockets and there is a chance he gets some backup big man minutes for Houston this upcoming season.
April 19, 2019, 6:03 pmTony Snell - G - Milwaukee Bucks
Tony Snell (left ankle sprain) is not on the injury report for Saturday's Game 3 vs. the Pistons.
Snell has been expected to miss Games 1 and 2 (he did) so it looks like his timetable to return is correct. He's an important part of what the Bucks do but his value isn't as apparent in fantasy. Snell also might be eased into it since he's been out of action for a while.
Source: NBA Injury Report
April 19, 2019, 5:59 pmPat McCaw - G - Toronto Raptors
Pat McCaw (right thumb sprain) will be available to play on Friday vs. the Magic.
McCaw is just emergency depth at this point and won’t get much run while the team is healthy. He can be ignored in DFS although coach Nick Nurse mentioned that he wanted to get McCaw in the game for his defensive abilities.
Source: Eric Smith on Twitter
April 19, 2019, 5:56 pmJoel Embiid - F/C - Philadelphia Sixers
Joel Embiid (left knee soreness) has been downgraded to doubtful for Saturday’s Game 4 vs. the Nets.
This news isn’t surprising seeing as Embiid missed Game 3 due to the knee pain. With the Sixers up 2-1 in the first round series, Embiid could sit out another one. Greg Monroe, who started Game 3, Jonah Bolden and Boban Marjanovic would be the prime beneficiaries with Amir Johnson also in line to pick up a few minutes.
Source: NBA Injury Report
April 19, 2019, 4:48 pmTrajan Langdon - Team - Minnesota Timberwolves
Nets Assistant GM Trajan Langdon will interview for the President of Basketball Operations job with the Minnesota Timberwolves according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Langdon, a former Duke sharpshooter, has been with Brooklyn for three years and has quickly made a name for himself. With the Wolves rebuilding after the departure of Tom Thibodeau, there are several management spots that need to be filled before the start of the 2019-20 season and ideally before the NBA draft on June 20.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
April 19, 2019, 3:37 pmKyle Korver - G/F - Utah Jazz
Kyle Korver (right knee soreness) has increased his practice participation and is feeling good ahead of Game 3.
Korver has logged under 13 minutes combined in the series' first two contests and the Jazz offense has struggled mightily, with bricked open threes becoming an ongoing issue. Today, Korver said, "I did the most today in practice that I’ve done in a bunch of weeks, so I’ll be ready." We'll see if he can make a bigger impact as the series shifts to Utah.
Source: Tim MacMahon on Twitter
April 19, 2019, 3:20 pmKemba Walker - G - Charlotte Hornets
Kemba Walker reportedly soured on the Hornets after their plan to acquire Marc Gasol fell through, per Adrian Wojnarowski.
Walker was apparently deflated by Charlotte's lack of moves at the deadline. The deal for Gasol was apparently centered around Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and a first-rounder but the teams couldn't work through the protections on the pick. That's a fair move for the Hornets, as a playoff berth that resulted in a quick exit might not have been enough to entice Walker to stay anyway, and losing Walker and a lightly protected first-round pick, either this year or in the future, would've been catastrophic. Memphis got a far superior package from the Raptors to boot. Walker has been fairly insistent that he wants to stay in Charlotte but recent reports give off the vibe that he'll be heading elsewhere this summer. The team's inability to become a consistent playoff team appears to be the big factor in his potential departure.
Source: The Woj Pod
April 19, 2019, 2:47 pmEd Davis - C - Brooklyn Nets
Ed Davis has been ruled out for Saturday's Game 4 against the Sixers.
Davis has been nursing this ankle issue for a while now. This will really put the onus on Jarrett Allen to step up and be huge for the Nets to have a chance. Davis is the only one physical enough to body up to Joel Embiid if he does get back on the court in Game 4.
Source: Brian Lewis on Twitter
April 19, 2019, 2:40 pmJoel Embiid - F/C - Philadelphia Sixers
Joel Embiid (left knee soreness) is questionable for Saturday's Game 4 against the Nets.
This isn't surprising at all after Embiid sat out Game 3. The Sixers won that game, so seeing Embiid sit out another one wouldn't be unprecedented. The Sixers clearly have the talent to put the Nets away without their best player. We'll have to see if this status improves before Saturday's tipoff.
April 19, 2019, 2:34 pmKevin Durant - F - Golden State Warriors
The NBA rescinded the double-technicals handed out to JaMychal Green and Kevin Durant in Thursday's Game 3.
The main impact of this is on Durant's side, who was sitting on two technicals before this one and he would face a suspension if he picked up four more over the course of the playoffs. It seems like a lofty number to begin with, but it's a good thing to keep in check.
Source: Kyle Goon on Twitter
April 19, 2019, 2:30 pmEnes Kanter - C - Trail Blazers
Enes Kanter said on Friday that his right hand is "feeling better, but isn't at 100%."
Kanter continues to play through some discomfort in his right hand, but this is to be expected given the gravity of the setting. It's the end of the season, anyone that's playing at 100% isn't playing hard enough.
Source: Casey Holdahl on Twitter