The NBA Summer League in Las Vegas continued on Sunday, as 16 teams battled it out in the desert.
Plenty of young talent showed up, including John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks and Dennis Smith of the Dallas Mavericks.
Collins, who led the NCAA in Player Efficiency Rating last season, showed that ultra-efficient game, scoring 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting and grabbing 10 boards in 24 minutes against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Collins slipped all the way to No. 19 in the draft because some questioned the often traditional post man’s ability to play a modern game. If he consistently runs the floor like he did on this play shared by the Hawks, he should be just fine:
Even in today’s three-heavy game, a good rim runner can be immensely impactful. If Collins is a threat in transition and rolling to the basket, defenders will have to commit to the paint. And when that happens, shooters will find themselves open.
Things are going to get harder when the real games start, but Collins is showing plenty of good signs in Vegas.
As for Smith, he continues to dominate, not only with his well-advertised explosiveness, but with a feel for the game that’s leading to highlights like these provided by the NBA:
“Mavs feel very fortunate that Dennis Smith Jr. slid to 9,” tweeted ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. As well they should.
It’s early, but no other point guard looks quite as comfortable in the early going as Smith. And as he grows into his role with the regular-season Mavericks, the core of Smith, Seth Curry, Harrison Barnes and Nerlens Noel might start to surprise a few people.
Smith will have the day off on Monday, but there’s sure to be a few more performances that get the fans buzzing in Vegas.
- Atlanta Hawks (1-1) vs. Chicago Bulls (0-1), 4 p.m. ET on ESPNU
- Miami Heat (1-0) vs. Washington Wizards (0-1), 4:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV
- Brooklyn Nets (1-1) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (0-2), 6 p.m. ET on ESPNU
- Houston Rockets (1-1) vs. Phoenix Suns (1-1), 6:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV
- Denver Nuggets (0-2) vs. Toronto Raptors (2-0), 8 p.m. ET on ESPNU
- Golden State Warriors (0-1) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (2-0), 8:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV
- Los Angeles Clippers (2-0) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (1-1), 10 p.m. ET on ESPN 2
- Los Angeles Lakers (0-2) vs. Sacramento Kings (0-1), 10:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV