Summer League Player Grades: Picks 11-20

    
July 28th, 2008

By: Jessica Camerato

HOOPSWORLD graded the top ten picks during summer league action, but the lottery players weren't the only ones making a splash this month. From standouts to let downs, see how draft picks #11-20 performed at Orlando and Las Vegas Summer League as well as the Rocky Mountain Revue.

11. Jerryd Bayless - Portland Trail Blazers (via trade from Indiana Pacers)
Noteworthy Performance: 36 points, 14-26 FG, 3 steals against the Phoenix Suns
Grade: A+

Review: Simply put, Bayless was the best. The 19-year-old garnered MVP honors after averaging nearly 30 points and five rebounds per game and proved to be more than just a ball handler. He demonstrated fearlessness at the basket and NBA readiness in the backcourt. More importantly, he proved himself to be a reliable clutch performer. Bayless sent one game into overtime and won two others with key last-second shots. It's baffling how he fell to the 11th pick and Trail Blazers' GM Kevin Pritchard came out like a bandit yet again the in the draft.

12. Jason Thompson - Sacramento Kings
Noteworthy Performance:
20 points, 10 rebounds against the Golden State Warriors
Grade: A-

Review: Thompson entered summer league as a relative unknown and headed back to Sacramento as one of the most talked about big men of the rookie class. At 6-11 he possessed one of the more intriguing games, exhibiting skills common for a big man like rebounding while also showcasing the ability to run the fast break. Like Bayless, Thompson also hit two-game winning shots. The Kings need all the front court help they can get with Brad Miller suspended for the first five games of the regular season, and Thompson could fill in nicely.

13. Brandon Rush - Indiana Pacers (via trade from Portland Trail Blazers)
Noteworthy Performance:
N/A
Grade: N/A

Review: Rush did not participate in the Orlando Summer League with the Pacers as the trade that brought him to the Pacers was not completed until July 9th.

14. Anthony Randolph - Golden State Warriors
Noteworthy Performance: 26 points, 16-18 FT, 12 rebounds against the Toronto Raptors
Grade: A-

Review: Don't let Randolph's gangly frame fool you -- he packs a lot of game in that 6-10, 205 pound body. Randolph is quick and aggressive, a combination that fits perfectly into the Warriors run-and-gun system. He averaged nearly 21 points (fifth highest among all players) and eight rebounds per game while shooting better than 45% from the field. On his last day in Las Vegas, Randolph hustled his way to the basket and got to the line 18 times. He added 16 points in his Rocky Mountain Revue debut and will play three more games before the Warriors wrap up their summer league schedule.

15. Robin Lopez - Phoenix Suns
Noteworthy Performance:
19 points, 9-11 FT, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks against the Houston Rockets
Grade: B-

Review: Lopez isn't out of his twin brother Brook's shadow yet, but he's on his way. The 7' center (who is even more towering with a few extra inches of floppy hair) looked strong offensively in the first three games. He scored 19 points in his debut and averaged 14 during summer league, but shot 2-for-10 in his summer league finale. Despite averaging nearly eight rebounds per game, Lopez's defense was weaker than expected as well. He blocked a total of just seven shots over four games and was often late to help on D. He needs work and is not going to be an instant starter, but for now he will be more than just "Brook's brother."

16. Marreese Speights - Phildelphia 76ers
Noteworthy Performance:
24 points, 13 rebounds against the Washington Wizards
Grade: A-

Review: Kudos to the Philadelphia 76ers for hitting it big once again with their mid-first round draft pick. Speights was a beast at the basket and showed off his unexpected ball handling skills on a few fast breaks. They weren't up to par with Bayless by any means, but it showed his determination to win. Head coach Mo Cheeks raved about Speights' potential and it's easy to see why. He fed off of second-year Sixers Thaddeus Young and Jason Smith, creating a chemistry that will help his rookie transition during the regular season. Not to mention, Cheeks looks forward to Speights learning from Elton Brand on the post. Brand isn't the only reason to keep an eye on the 76ers this season.

17. Roy Hibbert - Indiana Pacers (via trade from Toronto Raptors)
Noteworthy Performance:
N/A
Grade: N/A

Review: Hibbert did not participate in the Orlando Summer League with the Pacers
as the trade that brought him to the Pacers was not completed until July 9th..

18. JaVale McGee - Washington Wizards
Noteworthy Performance:
9 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks against the Philadelphia 76ers
Grade: C

Review: It's disappointing when a 7' big man with arms that seem to go on forever averages less than five rebounds a game against players who have never even made it to the NBA. McGee has the physique to be a pest in the paint but didn't utilize it in summer league play. He averaged 8.4 points and 4.6 boards per game while taking just 11 free throws over five match ups. Head coach Eddie Jordan seems to be high on McGee, though, so he probably will get some playing time but this long center has a long way to go.

19. J.J. Hickson - Cleveland Cavaliers
Noteworthy Performance: 26 points, 9 rebounds against the New York Knicks
Grade:
B+

Review:
Hickson was not in New York City on Draft Night but he made his presence known in Las Vegas. He exploded for 26 points in his debut and averaged nearly 20 points and eight rebounds over five games. GM Danny Ferry was impressed by his offensive arsenal and was also pleased with his efforts on the glass. Hickson shot 53% from the field but just 50% from the line, so free throws will be key to his development. The Cavs have not drafted a big in the first round in over five years and the addition of Hickson will be a welcome change in Cleveland.

20. Alexis Ajinca - Charlotte Bobcats (via trade from Denver Nuggets)
Noteworthy Performance: 11 points, 4 rebounds against the New Orleans Hornets
Grade: D-

Review: Ajinca showed a glimmer of hope with an 11-point performance in his second game but then … it was gone. First came inconsistency and then a knee sprain, leaving Ajinca a near-bust in Vegas. International players usually take longer to transition to the NBA than rookies from the U.S., so there is some wiggle room, but there is more to be said for three straight scoreless games than just an adjustment period. Ajinca simply struggled. The Bobcats can only hope that an MRI will not reveal a significant injury because he needs all the time he can get on the court before the start of the season.