Vegas Babies: Wizards 2015 Summer League Preview | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Vegas Babies: Wizards 2015 Summer League Preview

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Updated: July 9, 2015

[Otto P. to the bench for rest -- photo: K. Weidie]

[Otto Porter has graduated from the summer league after a strong playoff performance last season. — photo: K. Weidie]

The Las Vegas Summer League—otherwise known as Christmas in July for die-hard NBA fans—is finally upon us. There is nothing quite like summer in Vegas. For ten glorious days, UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center is transformed into the epicenter of the NBA, with virtually every front office, coaching staff, and NBA media member circulating among this year’s draft picks, young up-and-coming players, retired legends, and everyone else in the known NBA universe.

This will be my eighth straight pilgrimage to Las Vegas for summer league. Starting Friday, July 10, I  will be providing updates on all Wizards news that’s fit to tweet (@LedellsPlace) or publish on this very blog. Before the action kicks off, here’s a quick Wizards summer league preview.

Tournament Format.

Every team plays three games during the first five days of summer league. Based on record after those first three games, the teams are seeded for a double-elimination tournament. The tournament begins on Wednesday, July 15, and ends with the championship game on July 20. Each team is guaranteed to play at least five games and as many as eight, depending on performance in the tournament. Last summer Washington made quite a splash in Vegas with Glen Rice, Jr. unanimously named Most Valuable Player and Otto Porter joining him on the All-NBA Summer League First Team. As a team, Washington boasted a 5-1 record and advanced to the semifinals of the tournament.

Washington’s Opening Round Schedule (all times Eastern)

Saturday, July 11, Cox Pavilion, 6 p.m. – Phoenix Suns

Sunday, July 12, Cox Pavilion, 4 p.m. – D-League Select Team

Tuesday, July 14, Thomas & Mack, 3:30 p.m. – Dallas Mavericks

Roster.

For the first time ever in Vegas, Washington will not have any players from the previous season’s roster on its summer league team. Washington has long stood out in Vegas for the sheer number of “repeat offenders” on its summer league teams. From Andray Blatche and Nick Young to Chris Singleton and Jan Vesely, the Wizards’ summer league roster has always featured castoffs from the varsity team.

This summer is different. Washington had no rookies on the 2014-15 team and the two holdovers from last year’s summer league squad—Otto Porter and Glen Rice, Jr.—are both absent. Otto due to his playoff emergence, and Rice due to his early season banishment last year. Porter is currently in Poland helping out at Marcin Gortat’s camp, while Rice has been cutting more summer league teeth with the Magic in the Orlando summer league; Rice is also slated to play on Houston’s team in Las Vegas.

Even without familiar faces, there’s plenty to see on the Wizards’ roster:

Oubre declared himself a steal on draft night. It's finally time to see what Washington swiped.

Oubre declared himself a steal on draft night. It’s finally time to see what Washington swiped. [photo via C. Dirks]

Kelly Oubre, F/G, Kansas, Pick 15
A lot has been written in the past few weeks about Oubre’s potential (and his shoes). Now is the time to see what he’s got, and CSNWashington’s Ben Standig reports that Oubre is ready to ‘show out’ in Vegas. Oubre will likely log minutes at shooting guard, small forward, and power forward and have a flashing green light on offense. Oubre should also get a chance to show off his quick hands against the traditionally shaky summer league ball handling.

Aaron White, PF, Iowa, Pick 49
There is speculation White will be stashed overseas for at least a year. Regardless of his destination, White has an early opportunity to prove that he can play stretch-4 in the NBA. That means extending his range to the 3-point line and displaying enough mobility to switch onto wings on the perimeter. Lucky for White, summer league is the perfect venue for wannabe stretch-4s to launch 3-pointers with abandon—just ask Anthony Bennett and Austin Daye.

Dez Wells, SG, Maryland, Undrafted
Washington quickly extended a summer league invite to the offensively gifted former Maryland Terrapin guard, and there was some early chatter that Wells could earn a roster spot. However, that possibility took a major hit after Jared Dudley, Gary Neal and Alan Anderson joined the team.

Wells has already stated that he does not want to play overseas, so his time in Vegas is really an audition for the other 29 NBA teams. Dez has a chance to succeed because his game seems tailor-made for the up-and-down, pick-up style play in summer league. Wells’ ability to score in transition and absorb contact at the rim is reminiscent of Glen Rice, Jr. and P.J. Hairston—two guys who bullied their way to success last year in Vegas. Dez is the early favorite to lead the team in scoring. Per the Washington Post’s Jorge Castillo, Wells sprained his thumb in practice on Thursday but will still travel with the team to Nevada and is expected to play.

Toure’ Murry, SG, Wichita State, 2 years pro
Murry signed a couple 10-day contracts with Washington last season after Garrett Temple suffered a serious hamstring injury. He saw very little playing time and eventually lost his roster spot after an ankle injury. Toure’ is playing for a spot in Ernie Grunfeld’s rolodex of late season D-League call-ups.

Damion James, SF, Texas, 4 years pro
James earned a training camp and preseason invite last season but eventually lost out to Rasual Butler for the final roster spot. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Damion in training camp again, but with Washington’s free agent perimeter acquisitions, James might want to look elsewhere for an NBA opportunity.

Scott Machado, PG, Iona, 1 year
Machado is a veteran of the Las Vegas summer league, having played on three different teams (Houston, Golden State, and Toronto) over the past three years. Machado is a solid D-League talent who should have no problem running Washington’s sets. He won’t make the roster but having an experienced point guard is a luxury in Vegas where so many games are plagued by turnovers.

Traevon Jackson, PG, Wisconsin, Undrafted
Traevon is the former starting point guard on the 2015 NCAA Finalist Wisconsin Badgers. Friends who watch a lot more Wisconsin basketball than me are not excited about Jackson’s prospects. I’ll defer to them.

The remainder of the roster consists of guys you likely never heard of who are fighting for a spot in the D-League or overseas. (Note: Ousmane Drame, C, Quinnipiac; Halil Kanacevic, F, Saint Joseph’s; and LaQuinton Ross, F, Ohio State participated in the Wizards summer mini-camp but did not make the final summer league roster.)

  • Jarrid Famous, C, South Florida, Undrafted
  • Orlando Johnson, G, UC Santa Barbara, 2 years pro.
  • Shawn Jones, F, Middle Tennessee State, Undrafted
  • Jaleel Roberts, C, UNC-Asheville, Undrafted
  • Scott Suggs, G, Washington, Undrafted
  • Jamil Wilson, F, Marquette, Undrafted

Let the games begin…

tip

(Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)

 

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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.