...and I wont' be there. Sorry. Due to resource constraints, both time and money, I wasn't able to make it happen this year. To top it off, I have a business trip next weekend that will keep me from seeing three of the games. And, I have a commitment Wednesday night that will prevent me from watching game two. I will only be able to watch the Summer League opener. A 5:30 tip against the Minnesota Timberwolves and I am ticked.
Here are some things for us to keep an eye on when we do get to watch.
The Non-guaranteed Three
Garrett Temple, Alonzo Gee, and Curtis Jerrells are playing for roster spots. This is their best opportunity to show whether they are ready for NBA contracts next season. I expect all three will be starting and playing extended minutes. Curtis will be hard to judge because he isn't spectacular. He's steady and he'll be asked to get the ball up court and get the team into their sets. And that's probably it.
Alonzo and Garrett are the two guys who could really shine. I imagine the team will be running a lot of their offense for these two and I want to see how they fare trying to create their own shots against this competition.
And what's up with Malik? I'm not buying the "we already know what he can do" line that Budenholzer gave the media. He was on the original Summer League roster that was released. That tells me he had been practicing with the Summer League team in SA. Then he got yanked from the roster. It just doesn't make sense that he would have proven himself enough during practice to "know what he can do". Either he isn't healed from the end of season injury he suffered or he is being considered in some trade. Something is up because the organization didn't just figure out how good Malik is.
I'm still not really sure why DeJuan is playing, but I am interested to see what he is working on. As a guess, I think DeJuan will be showing off some work on his mid-range game. Toward the end of the season, he had started to have pretty good bank shot from 12-15' out on the wing. (You wouldn't have seen this because he only took these shots during his pre-game shootaround 2.5 hours before game time.) What offense the team doesn't run for Alonzo and Garrett will be for DeJuan. The man is a beast and we know he can eat up this level of competition around the rim. If you are grading DeJuan's performance at home, see what he does in his face up game and his ability to move away from the ball to open spots in the 15' range and hit jumpers.
A Draft Pick -- James Gist
The G.I.S.T. will be getting a good look. This will be his third Summer League and I'm sure he is eager to get a contrat stateside after playing in Italy and Russia (in the winter I might add) the last two years. James is very talented and has an NBA body. Last year, he really struggled with his shot and seemed to drift. He'll need to be assertive and hit his corner 3's. I also hope he shows up with his Marvin The Martian hat.
I'm very disappointed that James Anderson isn't playing and I would have been curious to see Ryan Richards. It's a bummer that we get neither.
Your Old Austin Toros
Squeaky Johnson and Eric Dawson. Squeaky has played 3 or 4 seasons with the Toros. Eric has been on and off the team for the last three years. He's mixed in an injury season and a year in Japan. Both guys were on the Summer League team last year -- in fact, DeJuan, Alonzo, James, Squeaky, and Eric were all on the team last summer -- and neither played much. Eric didn't play at all and Squeaky only got some spot minutes. As a guess, I'd say they are part of the team as a favor. They get the opportunity to practice and maybe get some playing time to showcase their skills for international scouts. Both are really good character guys who know the system and guys like that are always good to have around.
Your New Austin Toros
Bryan Davis and Josh Lomers are undrafted free agent rookies. They are also from schools in central Texas that are very near Austin. I'll bet good money that both guys end up in the D-League and in Austin as allocation players. Allocation players are guys who the Toros can say they want because they have local interest. Similar to how Curtis Jerrells ended up on the team. Josh is from Boerne as well. Both guys are very large. Josh is 7' 0" 280 lbs. Bryan is 6' 9" 250 lbs. These would be big guys in the D-League.
Tyler Wilkerson is also a big man and an undrafted free agent rookie. Tyler is out of Marshall where he scored 14 points per game while grabbing 7 boards. I'd think his odds of making the Spurs would be tee-niny. But, if the Spurs like what they see, don't be surprised if they grab him in the D-League draft. Kind of what they did with Alonzo Gee last year. Alonzo and Donnell Taylor were both on the Spurs Summer League team last year and they went fourth and fifth in the D-League draft.
Some Other Guys
Gary Neal who has been playing in Italy for Bennetton Treviso and Michael Cuffee who has been playing in Italy for a team I don't know. UCC Casalpusterlengo must be a lower division team. Anyhow, both these guys are 25-26, both are 6' 4-5", both are shooting guards. I imagine Gary will be wanting to prove he deserves a shot in the league and Michael will be wanting to land with a better team than a low division Italian team. They'll probably grab every minute Curtis and Garrett don't play. Look for lots of Gary especially.
Check out the other teams and games as well. You'll get a chance to see a lot of good young players.