Updated: July 24, 2012, 12:48 PM ET

1. Las Vegas Summer League Awards

By Zach Harper

With the 2012 Las Vegas Summer League now over, it seemed fitting to give out some awards that paid tribute to summer leagues past and present. From most valuable players to guys we thought would break out with their performances to disappointing players, there's plenty of accolades to go around. Here are the winners:

Most Valuable Player


Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

With a dearth of star rookie performances thanks to injuries (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, maybe Austin Rivers) and patriotic responsibilities (Anthony Davis), Lillard took summer league by storm with averages of 26.5 points and 5.3 assists per game. For the same reason Kyrie Irving was such a hit as a rookie, Lillard showed a similar game in his Las Vegas action. He got to the basket with great balance and turned heads with his ability to make plays.

Runner-up: Josh Selby, Memphis Grizzlies

Jerryd Bayless Award
(For the player who exploded at summer league but won't be a star)


Josh Selby, Memphis Grizzlies

Selby was kind of incredible this week. I'm not sure that it translates to the NBA at all because he was firing up an inordinate amount of deep shots, but he was making almost 60 percent of them. As good as he was during his time in Las Vegas, is Lionel Hollins going to allow him to be J.R. Smith in the Grizzlies' attack? That's hard to see.

Runner-up: Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns

Anthony Randolph Award
(For the player whose great summer league will be a career highlight)


Adam Morrison, Los Angeles Clippers

At this point, I'm rooting for Morrison to make an NBA roster and start realizing his dream of having a long career. He probably was never going to validate his draft position, but a knee injury early in his career really derailed everything for him. His scoring 20 points per game on 55.1 percent shooting in five games this week was nice to see.

Runner-up: Wes Johnson, Minnesota Timberwolves

Gerald Green Award
(For best highlight)


Josh Selby, Memphis Grizzlies

There were times when Selby looked like he was interested in checking out the shark reef at Mandalay Bay. He was CHUCKING 3-point shots and dropping barrage after barrage throughout the week. He took more than eight shots from beyond the arc per game and ended up shooting 70 percent from there. It wasn't one big highlight but an aerial assault that couldn't be stopped.

Runner(s)-up: Damian Lillard's dunk on Keith Benson; Jeremy Pargo's spinning dish to Mitchell Watt

Most Disappointing Player


Thomas Robinson, Sacramento Kings

Seemed like Robinson had a chance to announce his presence with authority. Unfortunately, he couldn't locate his fastball, curveball or jump shot throughout the week. He shot just 34.4 percent from the field and 53.8 percent from the free throw line. His 4.8 turnovers per game also made you wish he was taking more bad jumpers.

Runner-up: Dion Waiters, Cleveland Cavaliers

Center of The Universe Award
(For most shots taken)


Byron Mullens, Charlotte Bobcats

I'm not sure who told Mullens he's Dirk Nowitzki, but he seemed to believe it. The Bobcats center took a lot of long jumpers, which might have been more disorienting to opposing teams than the full-court press Charlotte used throughout. Mullens did average 15.4 points per game, but he needed 15.6 field goal attempts per contest to achieve that.

Runner-up: Jimmer Fredette, Sacramento Kings

Most Likely To Play Kenneth Faried In A Movie Award


Jae Crowder, Dallas Mavericks

A lot of things you heard around the arena and throughout the players/coaches/media section is how much Crowder looked like Faried. From the similar-looking long dreadlocks to the undersized-for-his-position assessments, the Mavs' rookie was drawing comparisons and still exceeding expectations throughout the week.

Runner-up: Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets

Greg Oden Award
(For most incredible foul rate)


Larry Sanders, Milwaukee Bucks

Sanders was given 10 fouls and he didn't really want to waste them. After fouling out in the first game, he averaged 7.3 fouls per game in his three contests. He was slaphappy and not afraid to send the message that he wasn't interested in letting guys score.

Runner-up: Chris Singleton, Washington Wizards

Most Improved Second-Year Player


Bismack Biyombo, Charlotte Bobcats

Before a Timberwolves home game against the Bobcats last season, I watched the coaching staff work with Biyombo on just catching post-entry passes. He wasn't even making moves after them. He just practiced catching the ball. A few months later, he's scoring on solid post moves, finding cutters down the lane and dominating the boards. Could be a sign of things to come.

Runner-up: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

Ricky Rubio Award
(For person I was most excited to see)


John Henson, Milwaukee Bucks

Henson is as lanky as he is awkward-looking when he's walking around a basketball court, but put him in the game and he starts making everything look graceful and destructive for his opponents. Henson was like watching a condor learn how to fly and develop a solid jumper. Condors do that, right?

Runner-up: Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

Jimmer Fredette Award
(For player who should be taken off summer league promotions)


Jimmer Fredette, Sacramento Kings

People knew Jimmer was going to let the shots fly no matter what halfway through his second game and it never really slowed down. He shot just 35.8 percent throughout the week and made a lot of folks giggle whenever they saw him on the posters and murals around the arena.

Runner-up: Mario Chalmers, Miami Heat (for some reason, he's on posters around the arena)

Zach Harper is the host of ESPN.com's Daily Dime Live. Follow him on Twitter.

Summer League Dimes past: July 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21

2. Bulls' Teague Ready To Fill The Void

By Andrew McNeill
TrueHoop Network


LAS VEGAS -- When Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose went down with a torn ACL in Game 1 of the first round of this season's playoffs, the timing couldn't have been worse for the Bulls. Not only did it effectively end Chicago's 2012 season, but it's putting the upcoming one in jeopardy, as well. Rose isn't expected to return for several months and the Bulls' competition in the Eastern Conference is constantly improving.

The man tasked with righting the ship in Rose's absence is first-round draft pick Marquis Teague. The brother of Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague, the 6-foot-2 Marquis was drafted after one year at the University of Kentucky with the Bulls' 29th overall pick in June's draft. To say he has big shoes to fill would be an understatement. Teague, however, isn't fazed.

"I just want to come in and bring energy, try to defend, do whatever the coaches ask me to," Teague said after the Bulls' 113-68 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on the last day of Las Vegas Summer League.

Teague had an up-and-down week offensively. He averaged 10.2 points per game on less than 30 percent shooting from the field in five games as the Bulls went 1-4. Luckily, Teague is well aware of Tom Thibodeau's reputation and knows what will result in the most playing time during the upcoming season.

"On my team, the big thing is just defense," Teague said. "Pressure the ball and make it as tough on the offense as possible."

You can't replace an MVP in one week, that's for sure. While his numbers aren't great, Teague had specific goals in mind at the summer league.

"Just to learn the system, basically," he said. "Try to come in, defend, put pressure on the ball. Just get better."

The task is gargantuan for Teague and the Bulls, who also let C.J. Watson and John Lucas III sign with other teams this offseason: Replace an MVP and continue the winning ways of a team that has at least tied for the best record in the NBA in each of the past two seasons. Stranger things have happened and that's what Chicago fans are hoping for.

Andrew McNeill covers the Spurs for 48 Minutes of Hell, part of the TrueHoop Network. Follow him on Twitter.

3. Harris Comes Up Big For Bucks In Las Vegas

By Connor Huchton
TrueHoop Network


LAS VEGAS -- The chances for Tobias Harris to distinguish himself on the court last season were limited. As one of the youngest players in the NBA, Harris, the Milwaukee Bucks' first-round pick in 2011, only saw brief action and found himself out of the rotation for large stretches.

"This year was a learning experience for me," Harris said.

Las Vegas Summer League has been another. Harris has flourished as a cog in a well-rounded Bucks team. The 20-year-old forward averaged 20.8 points, on 53.1 percent shooting, and 7 rebounds, good for a spot on the league's All-Star team, and showed good chemistry with incoming lottery pick John Henson.

"That's what this is all about at summer league, to come out here and play our best basketball, get better as a team, and feed off each other," Harris said. "That's what I thought we did very well."

Harris, a brawny 6-foot-8, looks like an undersized power forward and often seems comfortable on the blocks. But he's also able to step out on the wings, where Harris said he feels most comfortable, and shoot it like a small forward.

"Yeah, that's my position," said Harris about playing the 3. "So, that's what coach wants me to play, and that's what I'm going to excel at in the NBA. So that's what I'll continue to work on."

The Bucks are now chock-full of young forwards, but while summer league performances are a fickle predictor, the strengths Harris has displayed will certainly bring him closer to sustained success in the NBA.

Connor Huchton writes for Hardwood Paroxysm, part of the TrueHoop Network. Follow him on Twitter.


You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?