Las Vegas Summer League, Day 8: The Stars Align

With just three days of games remaining on the Las Vegas Summer League schedule, the end is in sight.  That's a shame, because Thursday's Day 7 action was exhilarating.  The high point came in a 5PM match-up between Washington and Dallas during which Harvard product Jeremy Lin put the "Lin" in "Ballin'!!!!!" as he went toe-to-toe and spin-for-spin with John Wall.  Wall, as he usually does, rose to the challenge, bringing home the win despite an inefficient shooting night from the field.  While Wall managed the offense better than his earlier games this week, his biggest strength on the night was his ability to draw fouls, as it seemed he spent half the night toeing up at the charity stripe.

Friday presents an exciting slate, as the three best rookie performers in Las Vegas -- Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Larry Sanders -- are all on tap.  Keep reading for a full rundown of the day's action.  And be sure to check out Ridiculous Upside's preview too.

4:00 p.m. EDT: Detroit Pistons vs. New York Knicks

So far in Summer League:

Detroit (2-2) wraps up its week while New York (1-2) continues to take a long look at one of the longest benches in Las Vegas.

What To Watch For:

First round pick Greg Monroe is starting to put it together for Detroit, putting up 20 points in a losing effort to Miami.  While he's been overshadowed by other bigs like DeMarcus Cousins and Larry Sanders Monroe has stood out simply by virtue of his size and speed combination. New York's guard-heavy, post-deficient roster should help Monroe go off.

6:00 p.m. EDT: Toronto Raptors vs. Sacramento Kings

So far in Summer League:

 It's a battle of unbeaten juggernauts as the athletic Raptors (3-0) take on the bruising Kings (3-0).

What To Watch For:

It's tempting to recommend that you tune into this one solely to gawk at DeMarcus Cousins, who has torched everyone in his path this week.  It's so tempting that I'm going to do that.  Watch this guy work possession after possession, as he instinctively tracks rebounds or sets up teammates. You'll be oohing and aahing just like the Cox Pavilion crowd has all week.

8:00 p.m. EDT: Washington Wizards vs. New Orleans Hornets

So far in Summer League:

It's a tale of two cities in this one.  Renaissance-revival Washington (3-0) will ride John Wall while New Orleans (0-3) has been bickering on the court in between seeing players ditch the team with various ailments.

What To Watch For:

The initial awe surrounding Wall has died down and new questions have risen in its place: How does he run the offense?  Why is he turning the ball over?  This game should serve as a great explanation.  Watch how many possessions begin with the ball in his hands (hint: just about all of them).  Watch how much attention he draws from help defenders (hint: a ton).  Watch how he makes smart plays and takes risks, trying to balance the two.  There are plenty of subtle layers to Wall's game past the highlights.

8:30 p.m. EDT: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Chicago Bulls

So far in Summer League:

Cleveland (2-0) has looked sharp but the jury is still out on Chicago (1-0).

What To Watch For:

We've written about this earlier:  Cleveland will be asking for a lot more from J.J. Hickson now that LeBron James has fled for the comfort of Chris Bosh's embrace.  That starts with night-in and night-out consistency. On paper, Chicago's frontline wouldn't seem to pose much of a challenge.  It's up to Hickson to continue to stay motivated and produce as he has so far this week.   

10:00 p.m. EDT: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

So far in Summer League:

Memphis brought a team of professional ringers (3-0) and are expected to dominate; Minnesota (0-2) hasn't gotten much from Wesley Johnson, who was expected to be their centerpiece.

What To Watch For:

More broadcast idiocy from David Kahn.  And, hopefully, an appearance from Johnson whose hamstring injury and decision to sit out his team's game against Sacramento had some fans questioning his heart as much as his leg.  Sure, it's only Summer League but Timberwolves fans are desperate for signs of life, and I'm not talking about manna from heaven.

10:30 p.m. EDT: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat

So far in Summer League:

The talented Heat (2-1) will aim to keep the top-heavy Bucks (0-3) winless.

What To Watch For:

The Heat have been rotating lineups like crazy in an attempt to get a look at the laundry list of players they brought to Las Vegas.  For Milwaukee, it's been Larry Sanders and nobody else.  When he had a tough night against Atlanta, they got annihilated.  The Bucks roster isn't without promise, though.  Portly big man Tiny Gallon and lanky forward Deron Washington have some skill, even if they don't arrive in a finished package.

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