TrueHoop: Justin Holiday

Las Vegas Summer League, Day 2 grades

July, 13, 2014
7/13/14
12:39
AM ET
By D.J. Foster
ESPN.com
Archive

Ten notable performances from Day 2 at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas:

Tim Hardaway Jr., New York Knicks | Grade: C-
Here’s the Tim Hardaway Jr. basketball logic tree: Am I open? Shoot it. Am I covered? Shoot it. Someone else has the ball? Do nothing until I get it ... and then shoot it. Hardaway put up 16 attempts in 25 minutes and registered zero rebounds, zero assists and zero steals. Knicks teammate J.R. Smith catches a lot of heat for chucking, but Hardaway makes him look like a regular Magic Johnson by comparison.

Gary Harris, Denver Nuggets | Grade: A
Is there a little more to Harris than originally projected? The Michigan State guard split defenders and attacked in the pick-and-roll game, looking more like a complete wing scorer than a limited 3-and-D guy. Even though 3-point shooting was his calling card (5-for-10 from deep) and should continue to be going forward, the whole package was on display.

C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers | Grade: B
Even on an iffy shooting night (4-for-11), it’s easy to see why McCollum is a big-time scorer in the making. Rarely do you find a wing with this combination of size, shake and shooting ability, and perhaps more importantly, the smarts to use those skills and base an attack around threes and free throws. Making even your worst shooting nights palatable is an underrated aspect of being a quality scorer, and McCollum can do just that.

Otto Porter Jr., Washington Wizards | Grade: B
With Trevor Ariza off to the Houston Rockets and Martell Webster out with another back surgery, the third pick in the 2013 draft might have to grow up in a hurry. Porter is a little reminiscent offensively of Tayshaun Prince, as he curls well off baseline screens and uses his length to shoot over the top on contested midrange jumpers. While you’d like to see him extend his range, establishing a comfort zone might be more important for the time being.

Glen Rice Jr., Washington Wizards | Grade: B+
There are a lot of aggressive dudes at Summer League trying to bully and pound their way onto a roster, but no one attacked the rim on Saturday quite like Rice. In just 26 minutes, Rice went to the line a whopping 16 times. Considering he’s a better athlete and shooter than Porter, Rice could really syphon some minutes from Porter this season if he keeps up this level of aggression offensively.

Shabazz Muhammad, Minnesota Timberwolves | Grade: C+
Muhammad has mastered the art of throwing garbage up at the rim while simultaneously creating space with his huge frame for an easier putback attempt after securing the offensive rebound (7 on the game). I’m not entirely sure that’s a viable strategy against better athletes, but Muhammad’s whole bag is non-traditional scoring.

Justin Holiday, Golden State Warriors | Grade: A
It’s not often you see a player smile while making a game-winner, but Holiday couldn’t help but grin as he caught an airball (or a Kobe assist?) under the basket to flip in, effectively keeping Golden State’s summer league winning streak alive and well. Holiday has always lacked a “specialty” that really appeals to NBA teams, but his smooth all-around game and length served him well Saturday.

Tony Snell, Chicago Bulls | Grade: A
Maybe Doug McDermott loaned out his jumper for the evening, as it was Snell who stole the show in his debut by hitting just about everything he put up (10-for-14, 27 points) while McDermott struggled (2-for-8). Chicago can always use more perimeter shooting and scoring, and Snell looked confident firing from deep and flying in with long strides on drives to the rim.


Dante Exum, Utah Jazz | Grade: A-
Hype machine, activate! Comparisons to a young Kobe Bryant, Penny Hardaway and Brandon Roy were flying around after Exum’s first game, and his displays of smooth athleticism and skill were often breathtaking. Although there were better overall performances elsewhere, no one flashed more star potential than Exum did. With his vision and first step, he has lead guard written all over him.

Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz | Grade: B
Sometimes all it takes for players with high motors is one positive play to start a chain reaction. That happened for Gobert a few times, as a block or a steal would lead to an offensive rebound, which would then turn into an easy bucket. The consistency isn’t quite there yet, but Gobert absolutely has the natural ability to impact a game defensively in spurts.

Las Vegas Summer League Bullets: Day 8

July, 21, 2012
7/21/12
12:40
AM ET
By D.J. Foster, ClipperBlog
ESPN.com
Archive
  • Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried talks with Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com on the tragic shootings in Denver early this morning. The entire Nuggets team also paid tribute by wearing black headbands.
  • Decked out in a baby blue argyle polo and a beret (!), J.R. Smith gave the Knicks and his brother Chris a helping hand on the way to his courtside seat. As Cleveland Cavaliers guard Gary Temple spotted up in the corner, Smith walked by and gave a quick tug to the back of Temple’s shorts, pulling them down for a moment before Temple quickly yanked them back up. Never change, Summer League.
  • MVP! MVP! After receiving a somewhat random vote for Most Improved Player last season, Memphis Grizzlies guard Josh Selby solidified his case for Summer League’s Most Valuable Player. Through three games, Selby is 19-for-25 from 3-point land, averaging a whopping 29 points per game on 60.8 percent shooting from the field.
  • Jordan Hamilton talks with Charlie Yao of Roundball Mining Company on the improvements he made during his stay in Vegas, and reveals a hidden gem on the roster for Nuggets’ fans to watch out for.
  • Over the last few years, the Dallas Mavericks haven’t shied away from going after defensive specialists on the perimeter. Over at Hardwood Paroxysm, Connor Huchton has his eye on second-round draft pick Jae Crowder, who was dominant in the Mavericks’ win over New Orleans.
  • Andrew Han of ClipperBlog on positional scarcity in Vegas: “Of the 452 players invited to the Orlando and Las Vegas Summer Leagues, only 76 had the assigned possibility to play center in at least some capacity (16.8%). Of the 76 forward/centers, 41 were positionally designated exclusively as center (9%). Of course, teams fill spots based on their regular season roster needs, but even in summer league the waning of centers is in full effect.”
  • How about some brotherly love? Justin Holiday, brother of Philadelphia 76ers guard Jrue Holiday, showed off some smooth scoring instincts and a nice handle. Lock that kid in the Cheesecake Factory for a few months (Holiday is listed at 6-foot-7, 177 pounds) and he’ll be ready to play with the big boys.

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