Summer League Recap: Pelicans 77 Knicks 72

The Knicks lost 77-72 to the Pellies (stolen from Zach Lowe) today at UNLV in Las Vegas. Mike Woodson’s hat game was on point as he sat in the stands with Glen Grunwald, a man who hasn’t gotten a haircut in a while. Jim Todd and his wonderful accent coached the team today – unfortunately, he wasn’t interviewed. There isn’t much to take from summer league games, so I don’t have a ton of notes for you today. However, there are some interesting prospects that will be relevant later on in the process, so I mainly paid attention to them.

  • Shumpert. Is. Not. A. Point. Guard. I’m all for developing his point guard skills – ball handling, creating off the dribble, distributing – but come meaningful hoops, he should be playing strictly off the ball. As we’ve seen in regular season action (remember that game in Memphis when Shumpert played point and was like 0-45 shooting at halftime?), Shumpert was ineffective running the point today. He had a nice lob to Tim Hardaway Jr and another good lob to Jeremy Tyler (I think it was Jeremy Tyler), but overall he wasn’t very good. He can’t really create anything in the pick and roll, nor can he create clean looks for himself off the dribble. These are skills he’ll need to develop as his career progresses. Again, you can’t take much from summer league games – hell, Renaldo Balkman looked like god in the 2006 LVSL – but I think it’s pretty clear at this point that Shumpert isn’t a point.
  • So we got to see Tim Hardaway Jr play for the first time. I wasn’t overly impressed, but he did some nice things. He got off to a good start shooting the ball, though he cooled down as the game went on. A player who was passive in college, Hardaway was anything but today. I liked his aggressiveness on offense, but his shot selection wasn’t great and his efficiency suffered because of it. However, we saw his athleticism on display on multiple occasions, which was nice. I thought he played pretty average defense. His off ball defense was solid, but Austin Rivers (ew) cooked him off the dribble a few times. Overall, I thought he was fine, not great. For his first NBA action, he held is own and showcased some of why the Knicks liked him in the draft.
  • On the broadcast, Breen asked Clyde about the Bargnani trade. Hilarity ensued as Clyde, as he’s done in the past, continued to pronounce Andrea’s name “Barn-yar-knee” and said it about 6 times. Also, he talked about how he didn’t really like the move (because Clyde is smart).
  • CJ Leslie is athletic. That was about it today. He moved well in transition, getting to the hoop once or twice, but his half-court offense was gross and his defense was iffy. Leslie had a wide open three that he bricked. If he’s going to make it in the NBA, he’s got to start hitting shots like that.
  • Jeremy Tyler intrigues me. He’s only 22 and obviously has a lot of room to grow. Today, we saw Tyler’s athleticism multiple occasions. Unfortunately, we also saw him not being good at basketball on multiple occasions. He gave really good effort and was trying to do the right things, except when he shot jump shots – DON’T EVER SHOOT ANOTHER JUMP SHOT JEREMY! THEY ARE DISGUSTING! – he just couldn’t quite do them. To be fair, his second half was actually pretty good. I’m not sure if he can ever develop into a starter or even a rotation level guy, but there’s clear room for growth here. It’ll be interesting to see how he plays moving forward.
  • Chris Smith was better than expected, but still below average. He played hard on defense and had a good sequence in the second half where he forced a pair of turnovers back-to-back, but his offense was atrocious. Smith’s shot selection was bad on multiple occasions, he air-balled an open three and had a play where he tried to alley-oop Hardaway (I think) over three people – needless to say, it didn’t work.
  • Eloy Vargas played a good game. He’s really big and can shoot a little bit, though I’d like to remind people on twitter that this is summer league. Vargas hit a three and immediately I saw a few tweets RT’d on my feed saying “Yeah Vargas! This guy is the next Copeland!” No more of that please, but yes Vargas can shoot a little bit. He was pretty much a non-factor on defense and on the boards, so he has a long way to go before he even gets a camp invite.
  • Toure’ Murry had a good game. Despite having to share a name with that douchebag on MSNBC, Murray scored 11 points on 6 shots. He played hard, and looks like he could be a nice D-League shooting guard. He hit some jump shots and had one of the few memorable plays of the game, splitting the Pellies defense and scoring at the rim.
  • Liam McMorrow is huge. That’s all I’ve got.
  • AJ Matthews played and scored a basket. I know literally nothing about him, other than that he’s from Brooklyn and that he’s tall.

There were like three other guys who played, but nothing notable happened. Knicks play again Sunday. Enjoy the weekend!

Follow Taylor on Twitter @tarmosino