While Sunday is usually a day of rest and relaxation in the sports world, there was no stopping the Las Vegas NBA Summer League as it's busy schedule continued in full force, highlighted by some huge scoring outputs from former college stars desperate to find their niche in the NBA. Multiple Mountain West alumni were on display throughout the course of the day, headlined by former UNLV star Rashad Vaughn, who led all former conference players on the day with 24 points.
In the first game of the day, the Atlanta Hawks raced out to a 49-41 halftime lead and held on throughout a nerve-wracking second half to put the Washington Wizards away for their second straight win of the Las Vegas Summer League season. Atlanta's Darington Hobson (New Mexico), a hold-out in the Hawk's debut due to a potential FIBA problem, saw almost 17 minutes of court-time, posting 3 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists in the eight-point victory, including a slick baseline drop-off to big man Edy Tavares for a power slam. Malcolm Thomas, a San Diego State alumni, spent his second game of the Summer League on the Atlanta bench, as one of the five Hawks' players who failed to enter the contest.
Edy Tavares sigue reventando aros allá donde vaya ¡TREMENDO! https://t.co/RKJb0lrwGP— SomosACB (@SomosACB) July 10, 2016
Game 2: NBA D-League Select def. Milwaukee Bucks, 91-86 (4:30 PM ET)
Despite falling to the NBA D-League Select team by five points, Milwaukee's Rashad Vaughn (UNLV) had a monster game, totaling 24 points on 10-18 shooting from the field, as well as adding in 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Vaughn, who played in 70 games for the Bucks a season ago, has been one of the surprise breakout stars of the Las Vegas Summer League thus far, as he's now averaging 16.5 points per game through Milwaukee's first two contests. Former Georgetown standout Jabril Trawick scored 15 points to lead the NBA D-League Select team.
Toronto's Alex Kirk (New Mexico), who failed to enter the game, may have been the only Mountain West alumni on either roster for this game but even without a former conference star in the mix, this contest was still worth watching every second of. The Raptors' Norman Powell, who led all scorers with a massive 29 point showing, spearheaded a fourth quarter Toronto run that quelled strong outings from Minnesota's Kris Dunn (21 points, 9 rebounds) and Tyus Jones (18 points, 4 assists).
Another game that was lacking some serious Mountain West influence, Sacramento's Derrick Jones (UNLV) was the lone conference alumni on the roster for this one as well and the former Rebel was listed as "Did Not Dress" for the contest, meaning his inclusion was never really in the cards. Houston held on for an twelve-point win behind a strong showing from a duo of second-year players in Sam Dekker (19 points, 7 rebounds) and Montrezl Harrell (14 points, 6 rebounds), while Sacramento was led by rookie Malachi Richardson (20 points, 7 rebounds). Harrell also provided us one of the best throw-downs of the day, with this monster alley-oop slam, assisted by guard Gary Payton II.
After some solid outings for the Jazz during the four-team Summer League hosted by Utah, former Utah State sharpshooter Spencer Butterfield has stayed in the mix for the Jazz into their Las Vegas Summer League schedule. On Sunday night against New Orleans, Butterfield had another one of his signature unique performances. Putting up 11 points on 4-8 shooting (3-5 from three-point land) in just under nine minutes of action, Butterfield looked locked-in and focused for Utah, despite his limited time on the hardwood. He also finished the game as the team's third leading scorer on the day, behind Tyrone Wallace (15 points, 30 minutes) and Joel Bolomboy (13 points, 29 minutes).
Chicago's Brandon Davies only played two years in the Mountain West Conference before BYU made the transition to the West Coast Conference, but it's easy to remember that at the collegiate level for the Cougars, he had a much easier time impacting the game than he is having at the professional level for the Bulls. Davies played almost 13 minutes for Chicago in a thirteen-point win but he never looked comfortable on the court and his 3 point, 1-6 shooting performance is a perfect representation of that. Davies needs to let the game slow for him so he can begin to tap into the array of talents that have gotten him to this level. It's also becoming impossible to talk any game involving Philadelphia without mentioning Ben Simmons, who added 18 points in the losing effort, including this thunderous slam.
Ben Simmons brings the Thomas and Mack center to their feet with this one. https://t.co/rrlk6ptIqg— NBASummerLeague (@NBASummerLeague) July 11, 2016
Game 7: San Antonio Spurs def. Portland Trailblazers, 85-69 (10:00 PM ET)
The two nightcaps of the evening featured four teams who boast no Mountain West alumni on their Summer League rosters, creating an anti-climatic end to the night for some conference diehards. The Spurs, who look like their normal-old-dominant-selfs even in the Summer League, fed off of "veteran" Kyle Anderson's 23 point display en route to a 16 point victory over Portland. For the Trailblazers, only two players found double-digits in the scoring column in Noah Vonleh (16 points) and Russ Smith (13 points).
Call them the Phoenix Suns. Call them Kentucky West. Call them what you will but when Phoenix's youthful pieces are clicking like they did on Sunday night in Las Vegas, the future of this rebuilding Suns franchise looks very, very promising. The Suns were led by Devin Booker's 24 point performance but they also were helped by a pair of double-doubles from Marquese Chriss (15 points, 14 rebounds) and Alan Williams (15 points, 12 rebounds). Jordan Mickey and R.J. Hunter led the way for Boston with 18 points and 17 points respectively.
The Las Vegas NBA Summer League continues tomorrow with another eight-game slate, beginning at 4:00 PM ET with a match-up between Milwaukee and Memphis at Cox Pavilion. The full schedule for the day is listed below:
Game 1: Milwaukee v. Memphis (4:00 PM ET)
Game 2: Brooklyn v. Atlanta (4:30 PM ET)
Game 3: Houston v. NBA D-League Select (6:00 PM ET)
Game 4: Toronto v. Dallas (6:30 PM ET)
Game 5: Miami v. Denver (8:00 PM ET)
Game 6: Cleveland v. Minnesota (8:30 PM ET)
Game 7: Sacramento v. New Orleans (10:00 PM ET)
Game 8: Golden State v. Los Angeles Lakers (10:30 PM ET)