2015 NBA Las Vegas Summer League: Running down biggest winners, losers
Winner: Spurs coach Becky Hammon
San Antonio’s run to the Vegas final has included three wins by five points or less, including a 95–93 victory over Boston in the quarterfinals that came on a Shannon Scott buzzer-beater. Hammon, of course, drew up the final play on that one, sending three guys in motion across the court before Scott received the inbounds pass.
Loser: D-League Select's Hasheem Thabeet
Because the game was being held in Cox Pavilion, the smaller of the two gyms used for the event, Thabeet didn’t have a real locker room to retreat to and let off steam in private. Instead, the event uses large black curtains to wall off corners of the gym as makeshift locker room areas. Anyone needing to “hit the showers” is out of luck; there are no showers to hit.
Winner: Spurs forward Kyle Anderson
Anderson, quite frankly, had a rookie season to forget. The UCLA product averaged just 2.2 points and 2.2 rebounds in 33 appearances, and the Spurs were badly outscored when he was on the court. That body of work led to Anderson spending significant time in the D-League, and he didn’t get off the pine during the playoffs.
Loser: Sixers center Joel Embiid
Winner: Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay
Even if the two players produced similar statistics and even if the difference between their weeks was often exaggerated, there’s little question that Mudiay leaves Las Vegas on a better note. The biggest difference between the two players had everything to do with their respective situations rather than their performance. While Russell must share minutes and touches with the likes of Jordan Clarkson (a promising second-year player looking to take a step forward), Lou Williams (signed in free agency), Kobe Bryant (never going away) and Nick Young (never not shooting), Mudiay will inherit a Nuggets team with far fewer competing interests.
Loser: Kings coach George Karl
Winner: Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis
Nevertheless, both Porzingis and the Knicks should be very happy with his showing in Las Vegas. The 7'3" Latvian forward averaged 10.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 20.5 minutes over four appearances, solid numbers that were suppressed by coach Derek Fisher’s decision to intentionally limit the rookie's minutes. Porzingis also shot 48% from the field, topping fellow rookies Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor, Emmanuel Mudiay and D’Angelo Russell.
Losers: 2014 lottery picks
Winner: Pelicans guard Seth Curry
After spending three years at Duke, Curry, 24, has played a grand total of 21 NBA minutes over two seasons with the Grizzlies, Cavaliers and Suns. His Summer League performance hardly hints at stardom, but he did a nice job of looking like an off-brand version of his brother, splitting double teams, applying constant pressure to defenses by keeping his dribble alive, and launching at a moment’s notice when necessary.