Las Vegas Summer League Game Preview: Spurs vs. Pelicans

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Looking to compete better than they did against the Cavaliers, the summer Spurs prepare to match up with the Pelicans.

Against the Cavaliers yesterday, there weren't too many positives for the Spurs' summer league team. They shot 33.8% from the field, and let the Cavaliers offense get whatever they wanted all game long. Kyle Anderson struggled to score against the intense defense of Andrew Wiggins. Bryce Cotton struggled with his shot all game. Austin Daye's jumper was off-kilter, and Anthony Bennett had his way with him.

The only real positives was the first-half exploits of JaMychael Green, and the offensive production of DeShaun Thomas. Green's input was a little unexpected, but very welcome. In the first half, he had 10 points coming out of hustle plays, and being in the right spot at the right time. He also worked well on defense, bringing tenacity to a Spurs team that was in need of a spark. Thomas finished with 21 points, and kept the Spurs within striking distance in the fourth quarter.

Green was a bit of an unknown factor coming into Las Vegas, but now he's on the radar. If he can string together a few more performances demonstrating his hustle and grit, he may do well enough to get a training camp invite somewhere. Thomas, at least to Spurs fans, is a known commodity. He's a proficent spot-up shooter, and can fill up the points column. However, when it comes to doing just about anything else, he has trouble. After spending a year in Europe, there was hope that he had either become more skilled, or bulked up a bit to show that he can be a stretch four in the NBA; unfortunately, that hope hasn't been fulfilled yet.

Taking a look at the Pelcans roster, they have a few interesting names. The first being Courtney Fells, who played for San Antonio this past preseason, and then for their D-League affiliate last year, the Austin Toros, and performed well. He was second on the team in scoring, with 18 points per game. He also scored at a fairly efficent rate, going 47.5% from the field, and 37.6% from 3. He's 27, so he may be at the tail end of his opportunity to get an NBA shot, but he's already playing well this summer league, and shouldn't slow down.

The Pelicans roster also features their second-round draft pick, Russ Smith, Patric Young, and Josh Howard. (Yes, THAT Josh Howard.) Smith looks to be an electric ball-handler. He's extremely quick, and turned into a better shooter his senior season at Louisville. Once he learns how to harness all of his energy and play under control, he has a chance to be a second round steal. Patric Young was one of my personal favorite prospects in the draft this year, and is a joy to watch. He's extremely athletic, can bang down low defensively, and is a solid rim protector. The problem with him is that he spent 4 years at Florida, and never really made a huge leap offensively. He has limited potential, but might have a niche somewhere as an energy/hustle guy in the NBA. And Josh Howard is...well...he's Josh Howard. The Pelicans have an intriguing cast of characters. They'll be fun to watch.

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