The Atlanta Hawks dropped their Las Vegas debut to the Washington Wizards on Saturday afternoon, but aside from Atlanta's participation, there was plenty to examine in the NBA realm. Without further ado, let's get to the ramblings of the day:
- Otto Porter might be alright. The Washington forward was ridiculed as a rookie, and for good reason, as he was an abject disaster due to injury and poor performance. Still, the Wizards could be looking at Porter for big minutes next season after the exit of Trevor Ariza, and the former Georgetown Hoya had a big day against the Hawks. Porter's mid-range game was on full display in route to 25 points on 16 shots, and along with Glen Rice Jr., the Wizards could have a nice wing tandem to pair with Bradley Beal for the future.
- In addition to Porter's breakout, the Wizards may have uncovered a gem in Khem Birch. The former UNLV forward was expected to be a virtual lock to be drafted, but he fell completely off the board, and Washington swept in despite the fact that they did not hold a single selection. The 6-foot-9 Birch looked physical and athletic in scoring 8 points against the Hawks, and while he'll likely never be a real frontcourt piece, it is easy to envision him as a solid NBA bench player in the near future.
- Thomas Robinson is in Las Vegas! Because the Hawks were in action simultaneously, I did not get an up close and personal look at the former top-5 from Kansas, but he put up 17 points and 7 rebounds for Portland's squad. Many were critical of Robinson's inclusion on the LVSL roster because of his age/experience level, but he clearly needs playing time to progress, and the talent level is real.
- Gary Harris will make some NBA general managers look silly. The former Michigan State guard scored 30 points in his summer debut, and more impressively, he needed only 17 shot attempts to reach that total. Harris was in complete command of the game offensively for the Nuggets, and despite his young age, he looks ready to contribute immediately if anything should happen to Arron Afflalo in Denver.
- Lucas Nogueira was again in action for Toronto on Saturday, but he was limited to less than 13 minutes of court time. There were certainly times where Lucas stood out athletically and in rim protection, but for one day, Danny Ferry can breathe easily from the detractors.
- The Los Angeles Clippers may have the least influential Summer League team of all-time. Keith Benson? Jon Brockman? Armon Johnson? DeAndre Liggins? The only player with a real semblance of a chance at an NBA future appears to be Delonte West and, well, he's basically a documented head case. Cheers!
- Remember Shabazz Muhammad? The former UCLA player and high school phenom was basically invisible as an NBA rookie, but he was showing signs of an explosion on Saturday. Obviously, it is "just" Summer League, but Muhammed scored 27 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for Minnesota, and as their go-to guy, he looked quite comfortable.
- In the "doesn't need to be here" department, T-Wolves big man Gorgui Dieng joins Tim Hardaway, Jr. as the standard bearer. Dieng put up a double-double with with 2 steals and 2 blocks in less than 30 minutes for Minnesota, and frankly, he is probably the best big man in Las Vegas.
Stay tuned for more updates as the week continues, and from a Hawks standpoint, the team will be in action for the second straight day, as they face off with the NBA's D-League Select team.