Some quick dribbles and random notes on the happenings at NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
1. It’s early, and I haven’t watched every game — but so far, Rockets shooting guard and No. 2 overall pick Jalen Green is the MVP in Vegas. He is showing shades of the late great Kobe Bryant, with outstanding athleticism and an uncanny ability to fill up the basket.
2. Granted, top overall pick Cade Cunningham of the Pistons has looked really good too. Both of those players figure to make an immediate impact. But Green just seems as if he’s on a different level.
3. Prior to the draft, I had one scout tell me he really loved Cunningham — but liked Green better. The scout said he thought in the long run that the three best players from this draft would be, in order, Green, Cunningham and forward Jonathan Kuminga, selected seveth overall by the Warriors.
4. Yes, it’s hard to get too excited about summer league. It’s not real organized and can resemble a pickup game. Nearly half the players are fighting for a job. Many others are playing for pride. The rest are just hoping for a decent-paying job somewhere overseas.
5. Still, I’m excited about seeing Green with top-flight talent Kevin Porter Jr., with both presumably learning the pro game from veteran point guard John Wall. Houston should be a lot fun to watch right away.
6. None of this is intended as a slight toward Cunningham, Magic rookie Jalen Suggs or some of the other top players in Vegas. Cunningham has all the tools to be a major difference-maker, finally giving Detroit fans a reason to pack the awesome Little Caesers Arena.
7. Meanwhile, Suggs looks like a player to me who is just a winner — period. He isn’t as flashy or dynamic as Green or Cunningham, but Green is a good athlete who makes the right play. Going way back, he already is reminding me of former Pistons great Joe Dumars.
8. If Suggs is as good as I think he is, I can’t help but wonder if the Magic will hang on to all their young guards. Along with Suggs, their backcourt includes the likes of Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony, R.J. Hampton and Gary Harris, who at 26, is the senior citizen of the group.
9. That’s just me thinking out loud, of course. I can do that because this is my website. I highly recommend starting one of your own.
10. An interesting tidbit from Tim Bontemps of ESPN: Of the 30 first-round picks, only one hasn’t played in Vegas. And that one, Rockets power forward Usman Garuba, was unavailable after playing for Spain in the Olympics.
11. That doesn’t mean that it will continue. “Yes, they’ve played a couple, but will they make it through the week?” a West executive said to Bontemps.
12. Two veteran names to watch in Vegas: Trail Blazers guard Emmanuel Mudiay and Nets point guard Brandon Knight. Both are trying to work their way back into the NBA after going unsigned last season. If I’m the Nets, I might take a flyer on Knight.
13. One scout thinks some of the veterans remaining on the Hoops Wire free agent list do indeed have a shot to land … somewhere. “With so many teams capped out and needing to take on minimums, I do think some [of those guys] have a chance,” a scout told ESPN.
14. You can check out all the scores, stats and highlights of NBA Summer League right here.