This year’s NBA Summer League has come to a close, with recent draft picks and up-and-coming players having the opportunity to showcase their talents to all of the team’s scouts during the month of July. This year’s Summer League was featured at three locations: Orlando (July 4th through 10th), Utah (July 6th through 9th), and Las Vegas (July 10th through 20th). Eight key players for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants participated in the Summer League this time around to show the NBA how much progress they have made while playing in the D-League.
1) Xavier Thames: Played for the Brooklyn Nets team during the Orlando and Las Vegas visits during Summer League. In Orlando, Thames averaged four points (35.7 percent shooting), one rebound, and one steal per game in the three games that he played. In Las Vegas, he averaged four points a game in five games, but his shooting percentage declined to 33.3 percent. His two best games were on July 15th and the 16th when he scored six points and eight points respectively.
2) C.J. Fair: Played for the Boston Celtics during the Utah and Las Vegas visits. In Utah, he averaged 9.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3 assists per game, with a 54.2 field goal percentage. In Las Vegas, he averaged seven points and 4.2 rebounds, with a steep decline in shooting percentage to 31.4 percent. His best games by far were in Utah, where in his first two games he scored 12 points and 10 points respectively, as well as stacking up the rebounds and assists.
3) Matt Bouldin: Played for the NBA D-League Select team in Las Vegas. In his five games, he averaged 10.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.4 steals per game, with his shooting percentage at 46 percent. His best game was on July 17th versus the Brooklyn Nets, when he scored 16 points, grabbed 2 rebounds and dished 3 assists.
4) Gary Talton: Played for the Toronto Raptors in Las Vegas. In his five games, he averaged six points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game, with a shooting percentage of 35.7. His two best games, which he started, he scored 13 points and 11 points respectively.
5) Trey McKinney-Jones: Played for the Atlanta Hawks in Las Vegas. In four games, he averaged 2.3 points, 0.5 rebounds, and had a 25 percent field goal percentage in the eight minutes he averaged per game.
6) Jordan Crawford: Played for the Dallas Mavericks in Las Vegas. He started all six games that he played in, averaging 10.2 points, 3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He shot 36.1 percent from the field, making 22 of his attempted 61 shots.
7) Darnell Lazare: Played for the Memphis Grizzlies in Orlando. In his three games, he averaged 5.7 points and 3 rebounds, shooting 41.7 percent from the field. His best game was on July 9th against the Oklahoma City Thunder with 9 points and 6 rebounds.
8) Tony Mitchell: Played for the Los Angeles Lakers in Las Vegas. In five games, he averaged 3.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, with a shooting percentage of 25 percent. His best game was against the Philadelphia 76ers on July 11th, when he scored 6 points and grabbed 7 rebounds.
Which Mad Ants had the best showing at the NBA Summer League? It’s between C.J. Fair and Jordan Crawford. Fair played the most minutes out of all of the Mad Ants that participated, and throughout his time on the court, he scored at an accurate rate. He is also a rebounding machine, which is a necessity for a forward. The one thing that Fair needs to improve on is his three-point shooting. If he truly wants that to be a part of his arsenal, he has to be more consistent. As for Crawford, he has always been a high volume shooter. The only issue is his affinity for taking difficult, low percentage shots that disrupt the offense. He also has to work on his defense. His average for blocks and steals is relatively low for a guard.
One player that surprised me was Matt Bouldin. His shooting and rebounding has improved tremendously. He averaged slightly higher than Jordan Crawford in points, and assisted the ball quite well. His shooting percentage was the second highest behind C.J. Fair, and Bouldin is much improved at shooting the three pointer.
An honorable mention is Ramon Harris, who decided to not play in the NBA Summer League and instead play for the Rayos de Hermosillo Basketball Club in Mexico.
By Joshua Hamer