Normally, in summer league, games are served as a way for bit players to work their way into a roster spot, for giving coaches time to work with young players. Occasionally, in a strong draft, you can catch a couple glimpses of a team's future, as rookies and second-year players become familiar with their team's systems. Well, on the first day of summer league, the entire league's future hit everyone right smack in the face.
It was a matchup of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwuakee Bucks, but more importantly, it was a matchup of two of the most hyped NBA prospects in a while: the first two overall picks, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. As detailed in this piece, the setting was electric, a rarity for the watered-down version of the NBA that is summer league. Cox Pavillion was so jam-packed with excited fans that it met capacity, and had to deny entrance to fans who didn't claim their seat early enough. The young stars flashed their potential to the masses, with Parker showing off his offensive repertoire, and Wiggins demonstrating his jaw-dropping athleticism.
And though the Spurs' matchup against the Cavaliers won't be quite as anticipated of a matchup, some of that buzz will still be in the air as Andrew Wiggins takes the floor opposite the silver and black's junior varsity squad. As of now, Wiggins' best attribute is his God-given athletic ability. He runs the wing so smoothly, and when he elevates to catch an oop off of a back-cut, the whole gym goes silent. That's how incredible this kid is. He is surely a large part of the league's future, and no matter how you feel about the Spurs' summer league storylines, his presence is more than enough reason to tune in.
Now, the Spurs do in fact have some storylines that carry over from the first game. The biggest one being that Kyle Anderson looks like a genuine Spur. On offense, at least. He was so measured in his first game. He showed no signs of nerves, and calmly went about dissecting the pick-and-roll traps and extra defenders that were thrown his way while finding open teammates. Defensively, he can't guard a chair. He's woefully slow to react, and his positioning is way off. The positioning can be fixed. The reaction time will come a little bit in time, but his natural ability is lacking. But really, it's nothing surprising. Good passing, bad defense was his scouting report. He had a good debut, and seems to be as comfortable as possible in this early stage.
Another thing we learned from the first game was, holy freaking crap, Bryce Cotton knows how to acquire buckets. The young guard went 3-4 in 16 minutes, but also found his way to the charity stripe a lot, and went 5-5 shooting free throws, totaling 12 points. Of course, this is a supremely small sample size to say anything about his standing for making the roster thus far. But, what we can draw from this is that he is going to be supremely fun to watch as long as he's in the Spurs' system. He's quick on the dribble, and has some savvy in the pick-and-roll game, knowing when to attack the basket, and when to settle for a pull-up jumper. When he attacks the basket, even with his slight frame, he goes strong. That's how he has the ability to get to the line. Hopefully in this game we can get a glimpse of what he can do versus a solid NBA defender, if he happens to matchup across from Matthew Dellavedova for any time.
This game figures to be a lot of fun. There's still going to be some sloppy basketball going on, but there's reason for excitement. The future is here. For the league, it's in Andrew Wiggins. For the Spurs, they hope it can be in Kyle Anderson. For Bryce Cotton's sake, hopefully it can be with the Spurs. Yes, the future is certainly here in this game. Let's all take a sneak peek.