July 17, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Memphis Grizzlies players Josh Selby (2) and Terrance Henry (11) guard Washington Wizards player Shelvin Mack (22) during the game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
Second-year players are putting up huge numbers at Vegas Summer League. But more importantly, they're building close relationships with their coaches.
LAS VEGAS -- The NBA Summer League features a lot of undrafted free agents and rookies hoping for an opportunity along with the retreads looking for another chance, but the top players thus far this week in Las Vegas have been the second-year players.
Six of the top 10 scorers through the first five days of Summer League were selected in last season's draft but, due to the lockout, were forced to miss out on playing at the Thomas & Mack Center in 2011. They seem to be making up for lost time just fine, though, and it isn't surprising anyone.
Plenty of the scouts talking to SB Nation on Tuesday intimated that, since the second-year players have already played a season in the NBA, they knew what to expect as far as the officials were concerned -- and it doesn't hurt that most teams have their gameplans geared toward allowing them to succeed.
Josh Selby was able to score 35 points for the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday afternoon to increase his scoring average to 27.5 points per outing through two games, Dominique Jones is going crazy en route to averaging 26.5 points per game and even Jimmy Butler -- who wasn't a rotation player this past season with the Chicago Bulls -- had 25 points in his Summer League debut in Tuesday's nightcap.
These players aren't in Vegas just to put up numbers, however. Nope -- in fact they're actually in attendance for things that don't translate to the box score, Selby told SB Nation after Tuesday's big outing.
"I missed Summer League last year so this gives me a chance to come out here and build chemistry with the guys," Selby said. "This year I'm trying to build chemistry with the coaching staff as I just try to keep working on my game and bettering myself."
Selby's not the only player taking advantage of what Vegas has to offer for players that have already went through the grind of the NBA season, however. Charles Jenkins, in Sin City playing with the Golden State Warriors, said earlier this week that he's a huge fan of what Summer League has to offer.
"It's a big difference. I love it. I had the chance to be around my coaches as much as I want and I took advantage of it," Jenkins said earlier in the week. "Even after the season was over, I took five days off and I came right back just because I know that I need to stay in the gym and be around the coaches as much as possible to get better and I'm taking advantage of it."
As the box scores show, quite a few of the already semi-established players are taking advantage of the increases in chemistry and confidence boosts that Vegas has to offer. Whether or not everything carries over into the regular season might be a different story, but it's great to see the young guys understand how to get the most out of what's already an excellent opportunity.