Day 3: Sights and Sounds of Vegas NBA Summer League — Starring Hasheem Thabeet | Wizards Blog Truth About

Day 3: Sights and Sounds of Vegas NBA Summer League — Starring Hasheem Thabeet

Updated: July 13, 2015

(North Bethesda's own Drew Gooden arrives in Vegas. Photo - A. Rubin)

[North Bethesda’s own Drew Gooden arrives in Vegas. Photo – A. Rubin]

Let’s get the Wizards game out of the way. It was an ugly second showing for Washington’s summer league team. Then again, Washington doesn’t seem to be very good. The D-league Select team was a 3.5 point favorite against the Wizards, which should tell you something.

The highlight of the game was not even basketball-related, although it did involve a player, Hasheem Thabeet. Thabeet, playing for the D-League team, was upset about a non-call and voiced his frustration in a very deep and raspy, Dikembe Mutombo-like voice. The ref quickly assessed a technical. Thabeet, undeterred, reiterated whatever he said to get the first technical. The ref paused for a second, reaching for his whistle and giving Thabeet a chance to be quiet, but he chirped again. Ejection. Thabeet raised his hand in disgust as he left the floor.

The problem is that the game was played in the Cox Pavilion, the high-school sized secondary gym at UNLV. Unlike a real NBA arena, the Cox Pavilion does not have a locker room. It’s just a make-shift area behind a curtain under the bleachers in the far corners of the gym. There’s no TV, no bathroom, no food, no trainers’ room—no nothing.

Here’s your mandatory Wizards coverage … it will be brief: click here for the rapid Game 2 reaction from TAI’s Conor Dirks. Keep reading for sights and sounds from Day 3.

Kelly Oubre, Jr.

Oubre was not nearly as aggressive in Game 2 as he was in his debut, although he still drove to the rim plenty. He spent large portions of possessions floating to the corner. Scotty Hopson and Oubre were getting into it a little bit (Hopson drove past Oubre and scored at the buzzer at the end of the half and gave Oubre a nasty look), but I guess that’s what happens when you like to talk. Oubre shot 5-for-17, including five missed 3-pointers, and they weren’t the good kind of missed 3-pointers like Bradley Beal a couple years ago. They didn’t look like they were going in. Amazingly, Oubre’s shooting did not lower the team’s overall shooting percentage. Washington shot 18-for-72 as a team (25 percent).

Aaron White

White told reporters after game one that he would be more aggressive. He did not lie. White attempted to establish his stretch-4 bona fides early with a couple 3-point attempts. Neither were close. On the bright side, his form is nice—or at least it shows potential for development. White ended the game 1-of-8 and 0-for-4 from downtown. Like Oubre, they weren’t the good kind of misses.

Odds and Ends.

Sacramento Kings in the House

The loudest cheer of the day in Cox Pavilion came courtesy of the rabid and well-travelled Sacramento Kings fans—and the Kings were not even playing at the time. (Worth noting, Sacramento is an 8-to-9-hour drive from Las Vegas.) The far corner of the gym erupted when none other than DeMarcus Cousins entered the gym. Cousins was greeted by Vlade Divac, Kings VP of basketball and franchise operations, and they sat next to each other in the front row.

George Karl, who sat courtside with Divac during the Kings previous game on Friday night, was nowhere to be seen. As if the Kings’ soap opera could not get any more bizarre, Mike Malone—the man whose firing was the catalyst for the Cousins’ unrest—joined Divac and Cousins for a jovial pre-game conversation. Sacramento legend Peja Stojakovic was also along for the ride.

Emmanuel Mudiay

I wrote about Mudiay’s impressive debut for Denver on Friday. He took it to another level in his second outing. Mudiay dominated in the Nuggets blowout win over Sacramento with some incredible passes. He can get into the lane with ease and, once there, looks to set up his teammates. He also has an NBA-ready body and has no difficulty bullying smaller guards on his way to the rim. That last point sets him apart from D’Angelo Russell. Russell is smooth and can weave his way into the paint but he has not yet shown the ability to bully his way there.

David Stockton

The all-time NBA assist leader’s son is playing point guard for Sacramento. If you’ll recall, Stockton the younger was signed by the Wizards for 2014 training camp but was waived several days later. On Sunday, Stockton had the unenviable task of matching up with Mudiay for long stretches of the Denver-Sacramento game. It went about as well as you would expect. It was funny watching Stockton curse at himself after throwing a pocket pass off a pick-and-roll a little too low and off the knee of his power forward. I can imagine he has been drilled on that move thousands of times in his driveway with his father.

Larry Nance, Jr.

It would be an understatement to call Larry Nance, Jr. the fan favorite of summer league so far. Lakers fans serenaded him with chants of “Lar-ry…Lar-ry…” during the Lakers-Sixers game, and every time he jumps for a put-back dunk, the arena pauses with anticipation. I cannot say it is entirely undeserved. Nance, Jr. can play. He is a bit of a tweener. His shot is not good enough to play small forward and he is a little too small to bang with power forwards. But he can jump. Boy, can he jump. He’s the Dominic McGuire of the Lakers.

Sweat shorts vs. Jean shorts … in Vegas.

The apparel of choice for newly-minted mega millionare guards appears to sweat shorts. Damian Lillard and DeMarre Carroll arrived at summer league wearing them.

(Damian Lillard arrives at summer league in casual style. Photo - A. Rubin)

[Damian Lillard arrives at summer league in casual style. Photo – A. Rubin]

Peja Stojakovic, not to be outdone, went old-school and brought out the jean shorts.

The Referees

There is no other way to say it. The referees are trying to ruin summer league. There have been an inordinate amount of fouls called this year. Virtually every shot attempt in the paint earns a whistle. Summer league play is already sloppy and disjointed enough without the referees mucking it up.


Finally, exclusive still footage of Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski at work in his natural environment (bottom left with glasses).

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.