Las Vegas Summer League: A Primer, Part Two

Posted by Kirk Henderson on July 12, 2013 under Previews | Be the First to Comment


In case you missed our earlier chat with Ridiculous Upside contributor Dakota Schmidt, check it out here.

Earlier this afternoon I was able to get Jonathan Tjarks (@JonathanTjarks), he of SB Nation, where he provides NBA Draft coverage and Maverick coverage, and of Real GM, where he writes about both the NCAA and NBA. Though he’s not been to Summer League before, Jonathan is well versed on both the current Dallas players and the various NBA hopefuls which make up the team.

What do you hope to see out of the current Mavericks, Jae Crowder and Bernard James?

Crowder will likely have a lot of offensive responsibility in Vegas, but I don’t think he’ll ever have that role on an NBA team, particularly not the Mavs. As a result, I’m more interested to see whether he’ll be able to impact the game in other ways — 3P%, rebounds, steals and blocks. He wasn’t all that productive statistically in his rookie season and that will have to change if he’s going to stick in the NBA.

When you look at them on a per-minute basis, James had a better rookie season than Crowder. We know what he can do defensively; to me, the biggest thing is whether he can show improvements on the offensive end. Can he run the pick-and-roll with Shane Larkin? When he’s not involved in the play, can he occupy defenses by moving without the ball?

What about the recent draftees, Shane Larkin and Ricky Ledo?

At Miami, Larkin showed the ability to run the pick-and-roll and distribute the ball, control the tempo of the game and score off the dribble. Will he be able to translate those skills against bigger and more athletic defenders at the NBA level? Trey Burke, another undersized PG, had trouble with that in Orlando, so it will be interesting to see how Larkin adjusts in Vegas.

As for Ledo, I’ve only seen him play in high school All-Star Games. That’s why, more than most draft picks, I’m really curious to see what he can do in Vegas. He’s a blank slate to me.

Is there anyone else on the roster who could conceivably make the team? If not, do any of these players have the potential of making the league one day?

Not counting the guys the Mavs have under contract, there are a couple of interesting names on the SL roster. Here’s a quick little bit on them:

Dewayne Dedmon — Intriguing simply b/c of his size — 6’11 240 with a 7’4 wingspan. Combine that w/above-average athleticism and Dedmon could make an NBA roster as a 3rd center. He didn’t do much at USC to warrant being drafted, but his physical tools are rare enough that he’ll get a shot.

DJ Stephens — Maybe the best dunker in the world. Stephens is worth the price of admission, as he literally has springs in his legs. He’s still figuring out how to translate his athleticism onto the basketball court.

Christian Watford– He could make it in the NBA as a Chris Copeland type. At 6’9 225, he’s a prototype tweener forward, but he’s a pure shooter who can space the floor and put the ball on the ground.

Terrico White — A 2nd round pick of the Pistons in 2010 who never really stuck in the NBA. At 23, he’s still young enough to have upside and he has the physical tools to be an NBA shooting guard.

Jackie Carmichael — I was really surprised this guy wasn’t drafted. He’s a poor man’s Taj Gibson — a big, physical 4 who will battle on the boards and can step out and hit an 18-footer.

What’s your opinion on the state of the Dallas developmental philosophy?

Do they have one? Seriously, when’s the last time the Mavs drafted someone whose stuck in the NBA? Devin Harris? That needs to change. My rule of thumb for NBA franchises is that if you don’t have a beach, you better be able to develop players b/c you can’t count on them coming as free agents.

Be sure to check out TMG’s Bryan Gutierrez as he contributes to ESPN Dallas during LSVL.

Kirk is a member of the Two Man Game family. Follow him on Twitter @KirkSeriousFace for ranting about Dallas basketball, TV, movies, video games, and his dog.