The Rockets didn’t win it all, but it was a valuable experience.
“If you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks at you”
Sorry for going over the edge sir on you. I feel a little nervous. The NBA offseason is officially the out of season.
Summer League is over. What are we supposed to do now? Go out and… play basketball?
Sure, but I tire quickly. The repetitive movement makes my sciatica act up. I need NBA basketball. Never mind load management, bring me a 164-game season.
jokes Anyway, Summer League is over. The Rockets lost in the Finals to the cleveland cavaliers. It was fun.
What did we learn?
Cam Whitmore was a steal
Forget what we learned. Some 14 teams learned a hard lesson: don’t pass on talent.
Why did Whitmore slip again? He’s not the class clown? There are some medical concerns, for sure. If you knew Kawhi Leonard would be where he is right now, you’d still take him with the sixth overall pick, in a heartbeat, actually.
His lost. Our profit. Whitmore was the Summer League Most Valuable Player. This is clearly a player with star potential, and the Rockets got it with the 20th pick.
He is not perfect. Most of the pre-draft concerns with Whitmore were validated in the Summer League. Actually, he’s a more willing quarterback than anticipated. Right now, his worst habit is dribbling open catch-and-shoot opportunities to try and create his own basket. It’s the Carmelo Anthony Syndrome. If you’re open, swallow your pride, hit a 3-pointer, and let your teammate get an assist.
That will come in time, or it won’t come. Still, Whitmore showed remarkable shot creation. He is an aggressive defensive playmaker (although he did get caught looking the ball off the ball too often).
He was a steal.
Amen Thompson can be elite
Can we put the Overtime Elite stuff to rest now? Please.
Am I overreacting to a Summer League game? I do not think. If the concerns about Thompson were valid, one game would have been enough to prove it.
It is not like this? This was the pitch: Overtime Elite is not a real league. The level of competition is low. As a result, the Thompson twins will be woefully behind on the development curve compared to their peers.
Good. If that were true, Thompson couldn’t shine in a game where the opposing team featured Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe, could he?
That’s not to say Thompson is destined for stardom. That would be an overreaction. Still, if OTE were a mirage, and the Thompsons weren’t cut out for NBA basketball, there would be no way Thompson would have a good game.
Thompson has not only shown that he can play his contemporaries, he has shown that he can outdo them. Still, if he’s stuck in a game’s sample size, just look at his brother. Ausar Thompson was consistently brilliant throughout the Summer League.
The Thompsons faced tougher competition and thrived on it. If your favorite anti-Thompson argument is “But OTE!”, get a new one.
Matthew Mayer may be a boy
One of the coolest aspects of Summer League is the chance to see some fringe NBA talent.
I admit it: I was seeing Whitmore a little too often during Summer League. Still, another player really caught my eye. It was Matthew Mayer.
The basic count stats are impressive enough. Mayer averaged 12.5 points per game on 43.5 percent shooting from 3-point range. He also grabbed 7.3 rebounds per night and had 0.8 blocks and 0.8 steals per game.
What I liked was his skill set. Mayer plays very hard. He has a nose for the ball and is willing to dive for it. He also has a three-point shooting cannon at 6’9”.
He wasn’t the only impressive NBA fringe talent on the Rockets in the Summer League. Trevor Hudgins is very talented. I struggle to buy him at 6’0”, and I’m not sure if he’s good enough to make up for his size deficit, but the guy can play hoop.
Nathienal Hinton gambles his tail. Still, he is a 6’5” wing with a sub-elite three-point shot. In the interest of objectivity, I’m not comfortable advocating a two-way contract for either of these guys.
Give one to Mayer. Today. He may not play a minute of NBA basketball this season, and that doesn’t matter. A tall shooter who makes rushing plays has a role in the NBA.
Now to spend the next three months imagining it.