Summer league basketball is fun for NBA fans because its their preseason; it's fun for us because we get some amazing blasts from the past.
Today was a lighter load for the summer league Terp folk, with some of the big-timers like D.J. Strawberry and Greivis Vasquez getting the night off. There were still a few games worth mentioning, though, and some links worth, well, linking to.
The first game of the day actually featured two former Terrapins: Landon Milbourne and James Gist. Milbourne definitely isn't helping his cause right now, even if he's not being given much of a shot anyway. He received two and a half minutes of playing time, had a -6 +/-, and had two fouls and a turnover. Yikes. Landon might be headed the way of Eric Hayes before long. I've heard Europe is fun and pays well, though.
Milbourne's Hawks, coincidentally, lost to Gist's Spurs, partially thanks to Gist's performance. He's not a star, but 17 minutes, a +/- of +22, 5 boards, and 10 points is a fine outing by any standard, especially considering he was forced to leave early after getting hurt. And judging by the reactions of the folks at Pound the Rock, SBN's Spurs blog, the fans agree; while there's a bit of a love-hate relationship there, the posters in the gamethread definitely seem to think he's in the thick of it for a roster spot, even if he might be on the outside looking in.
Plays like this can't hurt:
Figuratively speaking, neither will ones like the one that got him physically hurt, which was a block of a Jeff Teague floater at the buzzer when the Spurs were up by double-digits. According to one Spurs beat writer, that's a good thing:
That play, btw, is what #spurs coaches like abt Gist. Risked life & limb to block a floater, up 52-36 at halftime of a summer league game.
So while Gist was potentially earning a roster spot, Nik Caner-Medley was squandering his. NCM had an amazing, team-leading 17 point performance in the Clippers' last outing, but today's game didn't go so well. He started, which was good; he only played 6 minutes and didn't score on 0-4 shooting. A poster at ClipsNation called him a "black hole". Guess its back to Europe.
Remember the aforementioned "big-timers"? Well, one of them - D.J. Strawberry - might actually be turning into one. From Ridiculous Upside, he's one of yesterday's "Monstars":
Strawberry had a nice game for the Lakers, with 17 points on 10 shots, four assists (both of those team-highs) and two blocks. I'm not sure Strawberry will end up with the Lakers, as they've signed Steve Blake, but he's a good defender and can get to the rim pretty well, and is likely ready to move back up to the NBA (he's a former Suns reserve) at this point in his career.
Meantime, this also popped up in RU a few days ago regarding the immortal Kenny Beckway, better known as Ekene Ibekwe:
I was intrigued with Ibekwe coming into Summer League, though I wasn't sure he'd be able to show his potential. He did just that against the Rockets, playing like a bundle of energy and scoring 10 points on 4-5 shooting, grabbing eight boards and blocking five shots, all in under 20 minutes. His defense occasionally strayed into "just trying for the block" territory, but he obviously was pretty good at that.
An athletic, shot-blocking bundle of energy? Yep, sounds like Ekene.
On another note, I miss the frontcourt of Ibekwe and James Gist. Fun to watch duo.
Tomorrow's games are loaded. The two most active Terps in the summer league - Gist and Strawberry - go head-to-head as the Lakers take on the Spurs at 4:00. Landon's Hawks are in action at 8:30, and Greivis's Grizzlies tip off two hours later at 10:30. NCM and Ibekwe will keep you occupied in-between; their head-to-head game tips off at 10:00. You can watch all the games online at for $10 at NBA.com; or you could peruse ChannelSurfing or ATDHE.