Evaluations of Summer League Players from Coach Moran
During his annual post-Summer League interview, Blazers summer league head coach Jim Moran gave his thoughts on the Trail Blazers roster players participating in this year's Summer League.
Coach Moran had plenty to say about second-year players Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr. He also shared what he liked most about rookie Nassir Little's performance, as well as two-way player Jaylen Hoard's effort.
Summer League notes: Simons led the Blazers in scoring with 35 points in 25 minutes in Portland's third game of summer league. He was in position to tie the game vs. the Jazz, but instead injured his right ankle on his way to the rim on an attempt to hit a game-tying dunk or layup. Simons would sit out the remainder of the summer league due to the injury.
Summer League stats: 22.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists in three games played
Coach Moran on Simons: “It was fun to watch him run the team... I was happy to see the growth from him, the confidence, picking his spots, getting guys involved. I thought he did a great job. We put the ball in his hands for the last play of the game when he got hurt, that’s the level of trust we have with him. He’s grown a lot.”
Summer League notes: Portland's only two-way contract player, Hoard will spend the majority of his season next year in the G-League working to develop his game. Getting summer league reps was a much needed experience for the rookie out of Wake Forrest.
Summer League stats: 8.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game while shooting 55% from the floor during all five games
Coach Moran on Hoard: “I think that he’s proved that he can play at this level. He’s very raw, all rookies are, you transition to this speed and the style of game, it’s a lot different. I think this was a good way to just kind of introduce him to the pace of the game.”
Summer League notes: The Blazers first round draft pick took a hit to his left shoulder in the first quarter of Portland’s fourth Summer League contest. Coach Jim Moran said the injury was unfortunate because Little was still "finding his way."
Summer League stats: 3.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 0.5 assists in four games played
Coach Moran on Little: "Finding his way is probably the best way to describe it. It’s been hard for him to figure out where he fits in and be involved in the offense… It was unfortunate that he got hurt and went out [in game four].”
Gary Trent Jr.
Summer League notes: Not surprisingly, Trent Jr. was the highlight of this year's summer league team. The second year player out of Duke routinely scored 20+ points, was able to create his own shot, and was a leader for this group especially after the injury to Simons.
Summer League stats: 20.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 41% shooting over the course of all five games
Coach Moran on Trent Jr.: “I work with Gary every day, so he had 28 tonight, but I look at the defensive stuff. So, for me when I watch the film I’m going to be focused more on the defensive mistakes… I know he’s a scorer, I know he can shoot, he’s a talented player, but I think as a coach you’ve just gotta keep working on their weakness and I think right now just getting him to buy in more on the defensive end... But, I’m happy for him. He had some good games out here.”