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NBA Summer League 2016 scores: The Cavaliers might have some good young talent, too

The Cavaliers' young guards keep playing well in Vegas.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers are as win-now as a team can get. They're coming off a legendary championship, boast LeBron James in (or close to) his prime and stand as the NBA's best hope of toppling the Golden State Warriors next season. The Cavs are all about today, and I don't think anyone could really fret that strategy.

That's part of why it's so interesting to see the Cavaliers' young backcourt simply tear it up in Las Vegas. Jordan McRae and Kay Felder might not be competing for big NBA roles next season given the team they're suiting up for, but if the past few games have been any indication, these two deserve shots sooner or later.

McRae and Felder combined for 54 points in the Cavaliers' 98-94 win over the Celtics on Wednesday night. They scored 21 of the team's 26 points in the fourth quarter and generally looked in control with just four turnovers over the course of the game. Cleveland is now 2-2 in Vegas, and it's largely because of the strong performances these two young guards have delivered.

Felder, a 5'9 point guard, got drafted by the Hawks with the No. 54 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft and was traded to the Cavs for cash considerations. A prolific scorer and the NCAA leader in assists as a junior at Oakland, he's undersized but just keeps producing. In four Summer League games, he's averaged 14.3 points, 3.8 assists and 2.3 steals while shooting 43 percent from the field.

Defense is understandably a concern for Felder given his size, but Fear The Sword says his effort on that end in Vegas has been encouraging.

Felder has particularly impressed me on the defensive end, where he's looked like the most competent defender on the floor in each of the three games. This was a big concern for Felder, due to his lack of elite quicks and height, but he's impressed, navigating the pick-and-roll well, staying locked in off the ball to generate nine steals in three games, and even blocking two shots, including a chase-down block in the Nets game.

Felder didn't have the best defensive game against Boston, but helped make up for it with his strong offensive play. The 21-year-old has some skills to pair with big-time athleticism, so his rookie year with the Cavaliers will be an interesting one to watch.

McRae is a bit of a different animal from Felder. He's four years older, eight inches taller and has already bounced around with several teams. Originally drafted by the Spurs with the No. 58 pick in 2014, he got traded on draft day to the 76ers, who waived him in October 2015. He earned some 10-day contracts from the Suns and Cavaliers in the spring of this year, then finally broke through by signing a multi-year deal with Cleveland in March and having his 2016-17 option exercised in June.

Since then, McRae has been trying to make good on the Cavs' faith, starting with his performance in Vegas. He's averaging 23.3 points per game, which puts him near the top of the leaderboard. The efficiency hasn't been there -- he's shooting just 35 percent from the field and 26 percent from three -- but defenses have struggled to stop his penetration. The result has been loads of free throws: McRae went 12-of-12 on Wednesday and is now 44-of-54 (81 percent) from the charity stripe. That's an average of 13.5 free throw attempts per game.

So the Cavaliers have been carried by this exciting one-two punch, and while they're a win-now team with little room to develop young players, it's a good sign that the team at least has some prospects it might be able to work with.

3 other things we learned

The Celtics go out with a bang

Boston got knocked out by Cleveland in its elimination game on Wednesday, but not before putting up some impressive highlights from its stars. First, there was 2015 first-round pick Terry Rozier, who continues to look very good after an underwhelming rookie year:

And then came No. 3 overall pick Jaylen Brown, who has struggled with his shot but showed on this play some of the skills and athleticism that make him such an exciting prospect:

Even in a losing effort, Brown had 25 points and nine rebounds, while Rozier added 24 points.

Buddy Hield's inconsistent stay in Vegas comes to an end

If you looked only at the counting stats, Hield's four Summer League games with the Pelicans were a success. The No. 6 overall pick out of Oklahoma averaged 18.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, looking like the lone bright spot on an otherwise dreadful summer squad. Cheick Diallo was the only other player on the team to average more than 10 points per game. But as a result of trying to shoulder so much of the load in Vegas, Hield didn't look like the efficient gunner he was in college.

Last season with the Sooners, Hield shot 50 percent from the field and 46 percent from three. In Vegas, he shot 34 percent from the field and 24 percent from three on over 10 attempts per game. It's only four meaningless games and the future is still bright for Hield, but his brief stay at the Summer League was probably a reality check of sorts. New Orleans got eliminated with an 81-77 loss to Miami on Wednesday.

Briante Weber is one of the most interesting players in Vegas

The Heat need backcourt help after the surprising departure of Dwyane Wade, and one young player in Summer League could make an impact next season. Weber, a 6'2 guard out of VCU who went undrafted in 2015, keeps playing well in Vegas and could be shaping up as an intriguing option for Miami next season. The 23-year-old has been a defensive menace throughout the month and delivered his best offensive performance on Wednesday with 18 points.

In eight Summer League games between Orlando and Vegas, Weber is averaging 8.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 4.3 steals. Yes, you read that final number correctly. Weber is known as a strong perimeter defender and he's shown it this month by racking up steal after steal. There are still fair questions about his offensive ability and ultimate projection in the NBA, but the Heat could use bodies and Weber is proving in Vegas he's worth watching.

Play of the night

Georgios Papagiannis outta nowhere!!

Final scores

Hawks 81, Kings 61

Heat 81, Pelicans 77

Timberwolves 80, Spurs 71

76ers 108, D-League Select 71

Cavaliers 98, Celtics 94

Jazz 86, Trail Blazers 71

Mavericks 81, Bucks 64

Warriors 80, Rockets 76

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Pokemon Go, NBA free agency edition

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