July 17, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Memphis Grizzlies player Josh Selby (2) during the first half of the game against Washington Wizards the at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
LAS VEGAS -- The NBA Summer League is officially at its midpoint, at least in terms of days, meaning those following along have a pretty good idea of what to expect over the remaining five days. Players will play hard, the basketball will be excitingly-sloppy and a few random players will explode with some huge point totals.
Which players are going to go off depends on the team, however, as scouts in the stands -- and even moreso, the agents all over the place -- have noticed that different teams are built to accomplish different things as they play on the campus of UNLV.
"In the past, it seemed like teams would try to find the best cheap players they could add on a minimum contract," one agent told SB Nation. "Now it's all about showcasing their guys for trades or getting their own guys action while the players that actually need Summer League are sitting on the bench."
Agents obviously have their own agenda -- they're paid to find their players the perfect opportunity -- but it has been interesting to see what approaches teams have taken in Vegas.
Some teams, like the Charlotte Bobcats and Golden State Warriors, have multiple starters on their Summer League roster as they attempt to establish chemistry, confidence and a better understanding of exactly what to expect when the regular season rolls around in a few months. This method isn't conducive to the bench players hoping to earn their way to an NBA opportunity through their play in Vegas, but it is conducive to things like Byron freakin' Mullens putting up 33 points, Kemba Walker getting experience in new head coach Mike Dunlap's offense and evaluating whether the "others" know how to be NBA role players.
Then there are teams that seem to have come to Vegas to showcase one of their own roster players, which has been the case with Dominique Johnson of the Dallas Mavericks and Josh Selby of the Memphis Grizzlies. Both of those players are averaging more than 25 points per contest. While they've been lauded a bit for their efforts thus far, it's clear they have the green light to do what they like to do as they're getting considerable playing time after being out of the rotation for their teams for most of last season.
Not every team is focused solely on getting their own players big minutes, though, as there are a few teams in attendance clearly trying to decide if someone on their roster this summer is capable of staying there through the fall. The Atlanta Hawks have been one of the premier teams in that regard considering former D-Leaguer Keith Benson is their leading scorer with 16.3 points per game. Some players that were undrafted last season -- Brad Wanamaker, Paul Carter, Frank Hassell and Jeremy Hazell -- are all getting decent minutes as they attempt to sneak their way onto an NBA roster. The New York Knicks have also gone this route, but that was more due to them shopping the majority of their Summer League roster to the Houston Rockets in the Marcus Camby trade.
All three of those approaches have obvious benefits to some squads while hampering others, but the best approach won't really be known until the regular season rolls around.