clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

In summer league, some highlights, some low lights

New, comments
Brooklyn Nets

The Nets summer league experience is over and it was mixed.  After an 0-5 start in Orlando, the Nets went 3-3 in Las Vegas losing the last two games after a hot start.  Between those two leagues, the Nets lost one promising player -- Jonathon Simmons -- to the Spurs and picked up one -- Willie Reed -- from the Heat.

Cory Jefferson who started off as a roster player for Brooklyn got cut by the parent club, after injuring his ankle.  Juan Pablo Vaulet, who was supposed to play, never did because of an injury he suffered back in Argentina. He wound up undergoing surgery. Before he went under the knife, he cheered the team from the bench in both cities. Chris McCullough, still recovering from an ACL injury, did the same.

Other than Markel Brown's progress, which was notable, the big question at the beginning of the process was how would the team's highest ranked rookie, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and the its two highly thought of but undrafted players, Cliff Alexander and Ryan Boatright, played.

CBS Sports wrote about all three and thought for where they were taken --or not taken, in the case of Alexander and Boatright.  Zach Harper wrote of RHJ...

He was everything as advertised pre-draft. He's not much of a shooter, but he's a phenomenal athlete who defended very well, rebounded at an excellent clip, scored nicely, and was a thief to those foolish enough to leave the ball within swiping distance. He was also extremely busy considering he played 10 games (5 in Orlando, 5 in Vegas). And definitely check out the shimmy at the line:

He also had kind things to say about the two undrafted rookies, ranking Boatright No. 2 and Alexander No. 5 among the undrafted.

In nine games with the Brooklyn Nets (Orlando and Vegas), Boatright proved he can score the ball, averaging 14 points on 41.2 percent from the field and 43.6 percent from distance -- and that's including a seven-point effort in his last game in which he only played seven minutes. He just needs to become more of a floor general at this level.

Alexander was all over the map in his 11 summer league games with the Brooklyn Nets, but he showed he at least deserves more of a shot than he got on draft night. He struggled to make shots, but still averaged 7.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 22.7 minutes.

Alexander, in fact, may be the Iron Man of the summer league, playing 250 minutes in 11 games. Sam Amico of FOX Sports and Amico Hoops ranked Alexander the top undrafted rookie in Las Vegas and put Boatright at No. 3.

Hollis-Jefferson gave himself a mixed, but honest grade, talking to the Nets website.

"Kind of started off slow. Gradually picked up as the games went on.  It got better coming into Vegas, tried to bring some of those things to get better.  Couple of games I got better, I was doing good, then last couple of games, I kind of slipped up and hit a wall. That's something I can control, so other than that, it was a great experience."

He wasn't alone in being nervous down in Orlando. Alexander told a Big 12 Conference reporter that he was as well.  "I think I've been playing pretty good in the Vegas Summer League. When we were in Orlando, I was nervous a little bit but I think I'm picking it up," said Alexander.

One of the big thrills for RHJ was the presence of so many veterans at the games. Six Nets were in Vegas: Brook Lopez, Jarrett Jack, Joe Johnson, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington and Sergey Karasev.  The summer leaguers loved it, said RHJ...

"It meant a lot to hear them cheering us on, just giving us that love that we want. It's also building team chemistry for the season. For some of the guys, I will be playing with, that core group. Having the vets there means a lot. Shows us that they really care."

Overall, though, the lack of consistent offense was troubling. Other than Boatright, there was no one who could be trusted to take --and make-- the big shot.  Defense, on the other hand, was mostly solid, with some lapses. And Lionel Hollins told NBA TV he talked to RHJ about not taking days off.

And if you're wondering when the next time a Nets player will take the court, it may be July 30, when Bojan Bogdanovic and the Croatian national team faces off against New Zealand in a "friendly" match at their training site in Slavonski Brod (road trip? Nah).