Jabari Parker was able measure himself against the player to whom he’ll forever be compared on Friday (no, it’s not Anthony Bennett). Now, he’ll have an opportunity to do the same against another prized rookie.
Utah’s Dante Exum may have been selected three spots after Parker, but his upside is as high as any player’s in the draft. The Australian made his Las Vegas Summer League debut Saturday against the Sixers, scoring 10 points to go with three assists and four rebounds in 27 minutes. A modest line, sure, but Exum’s full offensive repertoire was on display, and his skills as a distributor were more than evident. As you can see in the video below, the kid – he turned 19 on Sunday – already has some next-level court vision.
After a mostly strong debut on Friday, Parker followed up with a mostly disappointing performance Sunday against the Suns. His jumpshot was again an issue, and he turned the ball over six times in 29 minutes. Right now, he’s a liability on defense – that will improve with time – and he’s simply forcing things (mostly jumpers) offensively. There is absolutely no reason a player with his footwork, size and level of aggression should only attempt two free throws.
Oh yeah, and he was also on the receiving end of a monster Miles Plumlee volleyball block.
But hey, it’s summer league. If Josh Selby can win the MVP of something, it’s virtually meaningless – I don’t care if there’s a tournament.
Let’s take a look at Monday’s matchup between Milwaukee and Utah, two teams looking for their first LVSL victories.
Time: 10:30p.m. ET (7:30 local time)
Place: Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas NV
- Milwaukee is playing in its final preliminary round game. The preliminary round concludes Tuesday, after which all 24 teams are seeded 1-24 for the single-elimination tournament.
- It’s not just the Exum show for Utah. The Jazz feature last year’s first round pick, Trey Burke, as well as 2014 first-rounder Rodney Hood, a close friend and former teammate of Parker’s at Duke.
- Hood attempted 10 three-pointers against Philadelphia on Saturday, making only one. He finished with nine points and eight boards but committed three turnovers and six fouls.
- The Jazz went 3-for-30 as a team from beyond the arc against Philadelphia.
- Milwaukee has struggled from beyond the arc, too, converting only 8-of-38 attempts in two games.
- Free throw shooting has also been an issue. The Bucks are shooting less than 70 percent (17-of-51) as a team.
- The Jazz will have a full squad. No injuries to report.
- Jason Kidd lauded the Bucks’ Jordan Taylor for his performance during practices last week, but he’s had a difficult time settling in through two games. In 29 total minutes, Taylor has posted six points, six rebounds, two assists and five turnovers. Granted, summer league is a breeding ground for turnovers, but it was a particularly rough weekend for the NCAA’s all-time assist-to-turnover ratio leader.
- We’re still yet to see any of Ben Brust, Kenny Frease or Kevin Olekaibe. Color me disappointed.
- Summer league is summer league, so make of it what you will, but Giannis Antetokounmpo looks much more comfortable offensively. Playing as the first or second option certainly helps, and he’s taken on more of a playmaking role. That hasn’t necessarily translated to high assist numbers – he has only two in two games – but when Giannis has the ball, he’s always looking to make an impact. He had a couple nice, blow-by drives against Phoenix and showed off improved footwork in the lane. One play, in particular – an Inspector Gadget-esque back-down-to-jump hook over the smaller Dionte Chrismas in the third quarter – was a blatant example of Antetokounmpo realizing a mismatch and exploiting it with a couple dribbles.