The NBA’s offseason is truly one of the most entertaining in sports. With free agency still taking place in meeting rooms throughout the country, most of the league’s newest talent has been playing in the Las Vegas Summer League since Friday.
There’s four Maryland basketball alum in Sin City auditioning for playing time or a contract. Diamond Stone is playing his first games with the Hawks, Jake Layman is looking for more minutes heading into his sophomore season, Robert Carter Jr. is auditioning with Denver after a year overseas, while Melo Trimble is struggling to break into the league with the Sixers. Here’s how the Terps did in their first four days in Vegas:
Diamond Stone (Atlanta Hawks)
First Weekend Stats: Friday (7/7) vs. Brooklyn — DNP. Sunday (7/9) vs. Minnesota — 11 points (4-of-6 FG, 3-of-5 FT), five rebounds, and one block in 14 minutes. Monday (7/10) vs. Chicago — 12 points (5-of-9 FG, 2-of-3 FT), six rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block in 18 min.
Status on team: Guaranteed contract
Analysis: Stone is looking more comfortable the longer he spends in a Hawks uniform. After sitting out Friday’s game, he’s starting to mesh with the Atlanta’s new young core. His defense has still left something to be desired, but he’s been active in his first couple games. Stone has a guaranteed contract, so he’s just auditioning for his role on the team, and Stone is looking like icing on the cake in the deal that sent Danilo Gallinari to the Clippers.
Jake Layman (Portland Trail Blazers)
First Weekend Stats: Saturday (7/8) vs. Utah — 13 points (4-of-8 FG, 2-of-6 3PT, 3-of-4 FT), five rebounds, and two steals in 29 min. Sunday (7/9) vs. Boston — seven points (1-of-13 FG, 0-5 3PT, 4-of-4 FT) and two rebounds in 31 min.
Status on team: Guaranteed contract
Analysis: The summer league has held a mixed bag for Layman so far. He looked strong in his summer opener against Utah, but Layman was on the wrong side of a Jayson Tatum matchup for most of the Boston game. It is not clear whether the game was more an indication of Layman’s readiness or Tatum’s, but the Blazers see Layman as a young piece to their puzzle, so he’ll continue to get big minutes throughout Vegas.
Robert Carter Jr. (Denver Nuggets)
First Weekend Stats: Friday (7/7) vs. Houston — 17 points (5-of-7 FG, 2-of-2 3PT, 5-of-5 FT), six rebounds, one assist and one steal in 23 min. Sunday (7/9) vs. Minnesota — seven points (3-of-5 FG, 1-of-1 3PT), two rebounds, two blocks and a steal in 12 min. Monday (7/10) vs. Toronto — nine points (2-of-7 FG, 1-of-3 3PT, 4-of-4 FT), six rebounds and one steal in 18 min.
Status on team: Likely auditioning for the rest of the league
Analysis: Carter had an impressive debut for Denver on Friday, as he finished with the best single game performance from a Terp this weekend. His performances since have been less impressive, but he’s contributing. However, barring a final week performance that blows their scouts away, he likely won’t end up on the Nuggets. Denver has a logjam at forward as the roster is currently constructed, so, unless they clear up some contracts, Carter is playing to show the rest of the league he’s ready.
Melo Trimble (Philadelphia 76ers)
First Weekend Stats: n/a
Status on team: Not looking well
Analysis: Trimble’s decision to join a crowded Sixers summer league backcourt is probably going to get scrutinized. After five games — three in Utah and now two in Vegas — Trimble has only seen the court in one matchup so far, coming during the second game of the Sixers’ time in the Utah league. He’s got ground to make up if he’s going to make it past Vegas.
Bonus: Kevin Huerter vs. Joshua Tomaic in World Cup
Maryland basketball’s Heurter and Tomaic have been playing in the FIBA U19 World Cup for the last couple weeks, and the tournament reached its end over the weekend. After Team USA and Spain both fell in the semifinals, the Terps were set for a matchup in the Bronze Medal game. Huerter and the Americans came out on top, and it wasn’t even close, as Spain lost 96-72. Though Huerter gets the bragging rights and a medal, Tomaic had the better game. Huerter wrapped up the tournament with a four-point, five-rebound game; Tomaic finished with nine points, six rebounds, and three steals for Spain.
In other news
Linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. was named to the preseason Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List, the Maxwell Football Club announced Monday. The Bednarik Award is presented to college football’s defensive player of the year.
Mark Turgeon hired a new Director of Player Personnel yesterday. Matt Brady’s got some solid Division I experience.
As part of Defensive Line Week, I outlined how senior Jesse Aniebonam could cause some problems in opponents’ backfields this coming season.
Shortly thereafter, Jared took a look at the athletic upside Melvin Keihn brings to Maryland’s defensive line.
Our friend Roman Stubbs at The Washington Post wrote a pretty cool feature on how Maryland football’s strength and conditioning coach Rick Court gets and keeps the team in shape during the season and in the offseason—which doesn’t really exist for him.