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Summer League Starts Knockout Phase

Zach LaVine's Timberwolves win their first tourney game, and Kyle Anderson's San Antonio Spurs romp.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

In the first game of the knockout round, the last-seeded (#24 to be precise) Minnesota Timberwolves won their first game in the Summer League led by Zach Lavine's 20 points, defeating Phoenx, 86-77.

The NBA Las Vegas Summer League entered its championship round, a single-elimination, 24-team tournament.  The first eight seeds get a bye.  Losers will still play a consolation game.   See here for details.

In his best game to date, including a monster dunk on a dribble penetration, LaVine played 30 minutes, went 9-19 with two assists and four turnovers.  Shabazz Muhammad, also playing 30 minutes, added 16 points and 9 rebounds

As an interesting aside, the whole Minnesota squad had 9 assists for the game.  Zach had two (along with 4 TO's), and Shabazz had one.  Clearly, this isn't a league where passing is on display.  I guess that wouldn't get you into the NBA (according to AAU urban legend).

It was all San Antonio as Kyle Anderson's #12 seed Spurs defeated Jabari Parker's #21 seed Milwaukee Bucks, 100-79.  The Spurs continued to challenge Kyle, giving him the defensive assignment against Jabari Parker.  In a twist, it was Parker who was moved off Anderson.  Kyle at 11 at halftime, and ended with 14 only playing 19 minutes in the romp.

Anderson's points mainly came from mid-range along with two 3's as Parker was no where near him.  That said, the eye test tells me that Parker is NBA-ready, albeit shorter than advertised, while Anderson appears too low energy for the league at this moment.  I will have to walk back my statement that Parker will be the Rookie of the Year.  Wiggins looks very good.

I guess it's summer league for the announcers too. They've been terrible.  In discussing the hapless Bucks, Matt Devlin read his notes and said Milwaukee won a championship faster than any expansion team in the big four American sport leagues.  True -- they won the championship in 1971.  They drafted Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the season before (of course, known as Lew Alcindor out of UCLA then).  Devlin proceeded to have a five minute discussion about Oscar Robertson then, who joined the Bucks in the twilight of his career.  Finally, he mentioned that Kareem was on the team too.  Oy!