NBA Summer League Diary 2014: Day Three

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

The Las Vegas Summer League is three days old, and there is a lot to discuss.

On a much more productive day for key members of the Atlanta Hawks, it is significantly easier to gather thoughts about the rest of the day's activities, and that is where we find ourselves on Sunday. Let's get to the action through the prism of my mind:

  • Lakers second-round pick Jordan Clarkson, who we touched on Friday, was excellent again in his follow-up performance. The big guard from Missouri scored 16 points in 28 minutes, and while I still believe he isn't a pure point guard, he displayed a fantastic, low-to-the-ground handle throughout the day. His true calling is probably that of a high-end third guard or something of that sort, but in the middle of the second round, that's a heist.
  • Los Angeles also received a surprise visit on Sunday, as they signed top-10 pick Julius Randle just in time for him to hit the floor in Vegas. Randle looked to be slightly winded at times, likely a product of some time off, but he was explosive and skillful around the rim in route to 10 points in 21 minutes, and Lakers fans should be pleased with what they saw.
  • Russ Smith is something to watch. New Orleans drafted the former Louisville point guard in round two, and he was all over the place against the Lakers. The good? Smith notched 8 assists and 2 steals. The bad? He committed six turnovers (in 28 minutes) and launched 11 shots while converting only three. He has NBA-level quickness and explosiveness, but the question remains as to whether he can effectively command an offense at this level.
  • Cleveland continues to be arguably the most important/entertaining team in Las Vegas. Last year's top overall pick, Anthony Bennett, continues to be much improved, as he posted a 13-point, 14-rebound performance on Sunday, and he looked very good in getting to those numbers. Bennett's energy level is up from last season, and while his skill set doesn't resemble that of a "normal" number one pick, his athleticism and versatility showed through a bit here. Andrew Wiggins was also impressive at times, flashing a pretty mid-range pull-up game, and his athleticism continues to be off-the-charts in person.
  • Speaking of Wiggins, he was matched up with Spurs first-rounder Kyle Anderson, who was a favorite of Peachtree Hoops during the draft process. Unfortunately, the ugly part of Anderson's game stood out in this match-up, as he looked to have no answers for the athleticism and explosiveness of Wiggins. Obviously, it's a small sample and a terrible match-up, but that is something to monitor moving forward.
  • P.J. Hairston has had a great deal of trouble in the first two games in Las Vegas. In his debut, the Charlotte swingman shot just 2-for-16, and on Sunday, he followed that up with a 6-for-20 performance from the field. Obviously, Hairston is better than that, but with his claim to fame being a polished jump shot and ability to contribute immediately, it can't ease the minds of any Charlotte fans. Oh, and he continues to get in trouble off the court. Bad combination.
  • Hey! Doug McDermott can score! The Bulls first-round pick has been met with some skepticism concerning his lack of athletic ability, but McDermott shined on Sunday evening. In 27 minutes of action, the Creighton star scored 31 points on just 12 field goal attempts (7-12 FG, 5-9 3-PT, 12-12 FT), and he showed the ability to create space that made him a legendary college player. Players certainly benefit from added athleticism, but in the case of McDermott, he seems to be adapting without it.

With that, the first weekend of the Las Vegas Summer League comes to a close, but there is a lot more to come as next week arrives. Keep it locked for the latest.

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