Three Bruins played in the Las Vegas edition of the 2014 NBA Summer League this past weekend, and almost-forgotten Shabazz Muhammad was the big surprise. He scored 27 points for Minnesota in a loss to Dallas, 93-85, on Saturday.
Shabazz took 27 shots to get there along with 5 for 9 from the free throw line. He also had 11 rebounds. What really happened? He scored most of those points in three quarters of garbage time, and made the score closer than it really was. Oh, and he appeared to have packed on a few extra pounds. Still, I have to give him credit - he had the best motor out there.
Minnesota came out of the gate with a bang. The first play of the game was an alley-oop dunk to Zach LaVine, and they ran to a 12-6 lead. However, they quickly lost steam and the lead by the beginning of second quarter.
LaVine started at point guard, and seem to come out with energy and vision, but Dallas turned the game around late in the first quarter when they started to press Zach, and throw him off his game. LaVine finished with 13 points on 6 for 16 shooting. He had only two assists coupled with five turnovers. His plus/minus was the worst on the team at -9. Bad stats aside, my eye test was better for Zach. The Timberwolves fielded a horrible team except for Zach and Shabazz, and most of the turnovers appeared to be on some nice thread-the-needle passes that were mishandled. While the Wolves still had the energy to run in the first quarter, Zach looked good on the break.
We knew Zach was raw, and these were his first point guard minutes in a long time. If Minnesota continues to play him at point guard, he'll have to develop confidence in the face of deliberate defensive pressure. He was okay for his first pro game, but let's see if he shows an upward arc as the Summer League progresses.
San Antonio blew out Sacramento, 85-69. Sacramento put a team with two regular season starters on the floor, Ben McLemore and Derrick Williams, and this year's eighth overall pick, Nik Stauskas, and still got crushed.
Kyle Anderson came out at shooting guard (some might say small forward). Unfortunately for him, he had to cover McLemore. The Spurs switched him to Staukas at halftime, and that's when they went on their run. Anderson had a plus/minus of -5 in a game the Spurs won by 16. He scored six. The bright spot was Kyle's team-leading six assists. Although you can't see it in the box score, the Spurs put the ball in Kyle's hands more in the fourth quarter, and that appeared to settle the offense down.
There won't be a quick fix for Kyle's defensive issues. He looked winded, and unable to get back in transition, and it's not clear what position does he can cover in the NBA .Is it the slowest man under seven foot on the court -- like Stauskas? It will be interesting to see if the Spurs experiment with Kyles' defensive and offensive assignments during the rest of the Summer League.