Today is the last day of the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas and for many former college stars, it is probably their last time playing basketball in the United States. For those who were drafted, they obviously have a good shot to make their respective team but a good amount of the players in Las Vegas are vying to fill a very limited amount of spots on NBA rosters. Their journey from that point will probably be long and arduous and could possibly land them in the D-League. Four former Zags from the 2008-09 season took part in the summer league this year. One proved his vast amount of doubters wrong with his consistently excellent play, two were up and down but made some good impressions, and one has barely gotten off the bench long enough to do anything.
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For Austin Daye, the summer league experience couldn't have gone any better. Not only was Daye one of the best performers at the summer league, but he had his moment where he could tell all of his doubters to shut up. Daye played 34 minutes a game, shot a solid 47% from the field, and averaged about nine rebounds and 17 points again. Everyone that was in attendance in Las Vegas came away very impressed with Daye, commenting that he could not only withstand contact but often times he initiated it and it never really bothered him. His one major struggle was in the turnover department where he struggled from time to time but that it is too be expected and was probably a result of nerves combined with the different style of game. The most exciting part for Daye is that he is on a team that should be a power in the future. Along with him, DaJuan Summers and Jonas Jerebko are both rookies that impressed in the summer league. It's safe to say that Daye will have more of an immediate impact in the NBA than most people initially thought.
The fun part about the Detroit Pistons summer league team was that Austin Daye was joined by Jeremy Pargo. Pargo played for the Orlando Magic in the Orlando summer league a few weeks ago but joined the Pistons in Vegas. Jeremy did a lot to improve his position in Las Vegas. The former Gonzaga court general averaged 10 points a game in only 18 minutes per game. He shot 50% from the field and really impressed the Pistons fans and it isn't completely crazy to think that Jeremy could find a spot on their roster. The Pistons were auditioning guards for a third-string spot on the roster and many think it became a battle between Jeremy and former Virginia Cavalier Sean Singletary. They both had very similar stat lines for Detroit and I feel like Jeremy has more NBA ready size. You have to wonder if Detroit passes on Jeremy because they have a player kind of similar to him in Will Bynum.
Micah Downs also made some waves in the summer league and did a lot of things right the past few days to give himself a fighting chance. What we grew to love about Micah Downs at Gonzaga was his versatility and his strong desire to do whatever it takes to get a win. Here is something from the wonderful Twitterworld that I found about Micah from an ESPN.com "Tweeter".
Thabeet just got beat by Downs on a rebound under PHX hoop. Micah freaking Downs...Micah Downs is on my all Make Good team for Summer League. PHX has a lot of multi-taskers out there.
Micah had a game to remember a few days ago against the D-League Select team where he shot 8-11 and finished with 19 points. Micah still has one more game this evening before his summer league is over but thus far he has filled up the stat sheet. He's averaged a little over seven points a game, about three rebounds, and has had a few steals. He hasn't made a whole lot of mistakes either, with only four turnovers in four games. Downs, like Pargo, has the chance to make a roster with his performance but we will have to wait and see. The Suns have some options for him with their roster and if they pass, he could catch one elsewhere. Micah has his last game tonight against the Clippers at 7:30 PST.
The most perplexing summer league belonged to Josh Heytvelt. Josh was a guy that was labeled as a draft day snub but signed on with the Washington Wizards summer league team. Josh seemingly had the inside track to being signed to a roster when this was all said and done. He possesses great NBA size and versatility but his summer league tenure has been odd to say the least. Josh has only played seven minutes a game, attempted nine shots, and made three of them. His average stat line in four games has been 1.5 PPG and 2.0 RPG. He hasn't made a lot of mistakes defensively and actually was impressive against Blake Griffin when they matched up with the Clippers. I posted a FanPost over on the Wizards SB Nation site Bullets Forever asking about Josh and they seemed pretty iffy about him at this point as well. The Washington roster is kind of loaded with young, mediocre post men in Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee so it is hard to tell if Josh will stick. I really can't imagine him not finding a place on someones roster but in a league with a lot of good young players, it is pretty easy for players to get lost. Hopefully Josh gets more minutes in the Wizards final summer league game today against the New York Knicks at 1 PM PST.
Let us know what you think, who you are rooting for and what former Zags you think have the best shot at making a roster in the comments below!