Notes from a Summer League Tuesday: Otto Porter finding his groove
LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas Summer League is a three ring NBA circus. There are two simultaneous games and the sideshow of agents, coaches and players just hanging out and talking. There’s a lot to take in, a lot of stories to tell.
Here is some stuff from my notebook for a Tuesday of “everything but the finish” Summer League ball…
• Last summer, in limited minutes, Otto Porter looked spun around by the formless, playground style that can come with Summer League basketball, but this season the Wizards’ small forward looks like a much better player and much more comfortable. He’s finding his spots and is trying to be more aggressive, and he ended up with 19 points, hitting a couple threes and getting into the paint. He’s in line for a lot of run this coming season (Paul Pierce will likely play 20-25 minutes a night). Porter looks ready for the spotlight, based on his Summer League play.
“It definitely boosts your confidence,” Porter said of knowing he has minutes lined up once the regular season starts. “My job is to come here, work better and play hard.”
“Otto’s doing well for himself. Otto knows how to play the game of basketball,” Wizards Summer League coach Sam Cassell said. “It’s all about confidence. This league is 80 percent confidence; if you got confidence you’ll be successful.”
• John Wall was on the sidelines of the Wizards game, calling out plays and basically being louder than coach Cassell.
• Wall also was wearing this hat.
“That’s terrible,” Cassell said after the game. “That’s John Wall. Only John Wall can get away with some of the things like that. I can’t get away with that.”
• Glen Rice Jr. dropped 24 points with 7 rebounds (and seven fouls), a guy known more for driving than shooting like his father, he did knock down 2-of-4 from 3 also.
“He’s not hurting himself, I can tell you that much,” Cassell said of Rice’s chances of catching on. “He’s opening eyes around this league that he can play the game.”
• He didn’t play but the Heat’s James Ennis was in the building. The Long Beach State grad just inked a deal with the Heat for the upcoming season after spending last season playing in Perth, Australia, trying to round out his game.
“When I went overseas I focused on my defense, my shooting, because everybody thought I couldn’t shoot the ball from 3-point, but as you can see so far in Summer League I’m shooing the (3) ball over 40 percent,” Ennis told ProBasketballTalk.
As for defense…
“I just had a habit of reaching and not moving my feet, but once I got to Australia they really worked on my moving my feet and just containing my guy,” Ennis said.
• Another day, another shooting clinic from Doug McDermott, who finished with 20 pints on 7-of-13 shooting overall, 4 of 7 from three. But more than that he showed some versatility. On back-to-back occasions he put the ball on the floor and used a little spin to create space, then hit a little step-back jumper from 18 feet. The Bulls have something here.
• Each game Trey Burke and Dante Exum seem to have more chemistry.
• Great note from the fantastic Suns beat guy Paul Coro:
• Shabazz Napier is learning that some of the moves he made in college that would create space don’t work as well at the NBA level with longer, more athletic defenders. At points, he ends up holding the ball too long or taking contested shots. He’s going to be on the Heat roster and there’s talent there, but he’s got some adjusting to do to get ready for the NBA game.
• C.J. McCollum with 28 points on 16 shots in what was a good shooting game for him (and the Blazers in general).