Day 4: Sights and Sounds of Vegas Summer League — Featuring Glen Rice, Jr. and Steve Javie | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Day 4: Sights and Sounds of Vegas Summer League — Featuring Glen Rice, Jr. and Steve Javie

By
Updated: July 14, 2015
Washington Bullets mascot "Hoops" pictured with family members. Photo - Czabe.com)

(Washington Bullets mascot “Hoops” pictured in happier times. Photo from czabe.com)

It was an off day for the Washington Wizards summer league team before they take on Jordan Crawford and the Dallas Mavericks at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) on Tuesday, July 14. But there is always Wizards-related news to be had in Vegas. On Day 4 that news came courtesy of Glen Rice, Jr. and Steve Javie.

Glen Rice, Jr.’s Silence Speaks Volumes

Glen Rice, Jr. head to the locker room after the Houston Rockets lost to the Toronto Raptors on July 13, 2015. Photo - A.Rubin)

Glen Rice, Jr. heads to the locker room after the Houston Rockets lost to the Toronto Raptors on July 13, 2015. Photo – A.Rubin)

Rice is playing with the Houston Rockets’ summer league team in Vegas after playing with the Orlando Magic’s White Team in the Orlando summer league. Rice did not play particularly well in Orlando. In one game he attempted 14 shots in 16 minutes, hitting only three. However, in Las Vegas he has returned to form and is bullying his way to points from all over the court. Rice’s Day 4 performance was reminiscent of last year’s MVP run, as he almost single-handedly carried the Rockets to victory after being down double-digits late in the fourth quarter. Houston came up short, but Rice finished with 28 points on 7-for-18 shooting.

After the game I put in a request with Houston’s PR person to speak to Rice. The conversation did not start on the right foot. I opened by telling Rice I cover the Wizards and wanted to ask a few questions. He immediately turned his back to me and jokingly said, “Oh, no you can’t.” After an assurance of no nefarious intent, I started with a broad inquiry.

Adam Rubin: We all know you can score in this league. What is it you think you need to do to get back in the NBA? What are you trying to establish here in summer league?

Glen Rice, Jr.: I want to just play whatever role the coach wants me to play. I’m really determined to come out here and showcase that I can play a role, that I can adapt to whatever role.

AR: What do you think was the issue in Washington in terms of why it didn’t work out?

GR: [Silence.]

AR: Do you think you were given a fair chance?

GR: [Silence.]

AR: Do you have any positive memories of your time in Washington?

GR: Yeah, of course.

AR: Do you keep in touch with any of the players that were there?

GR: I talk to a lot of the guys.

AR: Which guys are you still in touch with?

GR: Beal, John Wall, Garrett Temple.

In fairness to Rice, the questions did not give him much room to respond—at least not in a positive way. Rice could have given a diplomatic non-answer or just remained silent, and he chose the latter. I think we can guess what his honest response would be.

Steve Javie: A Mascot’s Worst Enemy

Retired NBA referee Steve Javie happened to be sitting courtside next to the Houston Rockets’ make-shift locker room while I was waiting for Glen Rice, Jr. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Steve Javie is when he ejected “Hoops,” the Washington Bullets mascot, from the Capital Centre for being too demonstrative while inciting the crowd to boo the refs. Javie had just ejected Pervis Ellison and Coach Wes Unseld—and Hoops was not happy about it.

"HOOPS!" ... in pin form.

“HOOPS!” … in pin form.

I decided to broach the subject. After all, how many times do you get the chance to talk to Steve Javie?

So I asked, “Do you know that you are responsible for one of the greatest moments in Bullets history?”

Before I could even mention the name “Hoops,” Javie smiled and said he hears it all the time. I asked how the league office responded to the unorthodox ejection. Did they have to institute a new policy on mascot disqualifications?

Javie paused and I added “or did they just tell you they frowned upon it?”

Javie laughed and said, “I like that. That’s funny. I like how you put it. They told me it’s frowned upon.”

[Full disclosure: When I first decided to ask Javie about the infamous incident, I did a quick Google search to confirm the facts. After I read that Javie was indeed disciplined for his behavior, I had second thoughts about how well he would receive my inquiry. But I am glad I proceeded. Javie was extremely nice and very funny about the whole thing.]

Odds and Ends

As the Sacramento Kings Turn…

The biggest soap opera in the NBA—outside a 24-hour DeAndre Jordan kidnapping—is the Sacramento Kings. The plot lines are well known. Just a few weeks ago it appeared unfathomable that the entire cast could co-exist in Vegas. During Sacramento’s first summer league game, Coach George Karl and VP of Basketball Operations Vlade Divac sat together courtside but All-Star DeMarcus Cousins was nowhere in sight. In Sacramento’s second game, Cousins showed up to loud cheers and sat next to Divac, but Karl was nowhere in sight.

That division of labor may work in summer league, but you cannot split custody in the regular season. It all came to a head in Sacramento’s third game. George Karl arrived first, followed by team owner Vivek Ranadive, who reportedly hired attorneys to determine whether he could fire Karl for cause based on his treatment of Cousins. Then came Vlade Divac. All three men embraced and were surrounded by a circle of reporters and cameramen who just stared at the trio, waiting for something to happen.

Divac and Ranadive then retreated to a more private area for a serious-looking discussion.

There was still no sign of Cousins and it appeared the NBA’s version of “Real Housewives” would be extended for a few more episodes. Then, in a climax that could not have been scripted, Cousins and Karl finally embraced, and it could not have been more awkward.

New Orleans Pelicans Offense.

The Pelicans summer league team is not fooling around on offense. They push the ball on all made baskets and love to run in transition. Larry Drew, Jr. has them running on all cylinders. Unfortunately, he is one of those players who looks real good in summer league but never seems to earn a roster spot. Seth Curry has been raining 3s and scoring in bunches and Khem Birch, a Wizards summer leaguer last year, has been doing the dirty work. They are the Big 3 of Vegas and very fun to watch.

Los Angeles Lakers Take Center Stage Again.

This has been the summer of the Lakers so far. All three of Los Angeles’ games have been against a top four draft pick (Minnesota, Philadelphia and New York), and all have been scheduled for prime summer league time in the evening at the larger Thomas & Mack Center.

(A bird's eye view of the packed Thomas & Mack center for the Los Angeles Lakers vs. New York Knicks game. Photo - A.Rubin)

(A bird’s eye view of the packed Thomas & Mack center for the Los Angeles Lakers vs. New York Knicks game. Photo – A.Rubin)

The Lakers’ young stars have been remarkably consistent through three games. Most of what I wrote after game one still applied in game three. Once again, Jordan Clarkson was the best player on the court. At least a few times a game he breaks a guy’s ankles with an inside-out dribble or quick crossover and gets to the rim with ease.

D’Angelo Russell keeps showing flashes but he has not yet put it all together. He will make passes that let you know he has elite court vision, and he’ll drain a nasty step back jumper on a helpless defender, but he’ll also play lackadaisically and disappear at times.

Julius Randle remains out of control. His offensive repertoire is limited to a bull rush. That is not going to work against NBA-caliber power forwards. He’ll make a few highlight plays with ferocious dunks but on far more occasions he’ll clang contested runners off the back board, fumble it out of bounds, or commit an offensive foul.

Summer League Power Rankings.

Emmanuel Mudiay sits alone atop the rankings of summer league rookies thus far. It’s striking how much more talented he is than Willie Cauley-Stein, the player who was picked one spot ahead of Mudiay by the Sacramento Kings. Then again, it’s not like Sacramento was in desperate need of a point guard and already had one of the best centers in the league.

Adam Rubin on EmailAdam Rubin on Twitter
Adam Rubin
Reporter / Writer at TAI
Adam grew up in the D.C. area and has been a Washington Bullets fan for over 25 years. He will not refer to the franchise as anything other than the Bullets unless required to do so by Truth About It editorial standards. Adam spent many nights at the Capital Centre in the ‘90s where he witnessed such things as Michael Jordan’s “LaBradford Smith game,” the inexcusable under-usage of Gheorghe Muresan’s unstoppable post moves, and the basketball stylings of Ledell Eackles.




  • Brett I

    Good stuff Rubes. Keep ‘me coming. Maybe a play by play of jordan Crawford v the wiz?

  • Free the Secret Service Dunkrs

    Solid reporting as always from the Wizards’ top summer league correspondent. You could have cropped off everything from Bill Cartwright’s waist up and he would still be identifiable just by his knees.