2017 Summer League

SummerWolves Weekend Recap

Las Vegas (AP): Photo – Ryan Saunders addresses the Wolves’ huddle at the Thomas & Mack Center on Sunday, July 9th versus the Denver Nuggets.

The SummerWolves are 2/3rds of the way through pool play at Summer League 2017 – here’s how the first two games went, plus a few overall impressions:

Game 1: SummerRaptors 97, SummerWolves 72

On Saturday afternoon, Ryan Saunders’ group shot 32% from the field, registered 7 assists against 15 turnovers, were outscored 54-14 in the paint, and were out-rebounded 46-36. Believe it or not, that wasn’t a winning formula, as Pascal Siakim (17 points), Jacob Poeltl (15 points, 10 rebounds) and the rest of the SummerRaptors beat the SummerWolves soundly, 97-72.

Marcus Paige had a solid outing for the Minnevegas team, scoring 18 points on 12 shots and chipping in a pair of steals. Jack Gibbs got some buckets off the bench, racking up 17 in just 19 minutes of action. After that, things got pretty bleak – Raphiael Putney, who I highlighted prominently in my preview piece on Friday, went 2-for-11 from the field in 18 minutes. V.J. Beachem, considered by some to have a real shot at securing a two-way contract with decent play, was 0-for-7. All in all, it was a tough afternoon.

Here are some “highlights,” which are mostly of the Torvegas team stealing the SummerWolves’ lunch money:


Game 2: SummerWolves 90, SummerNuggets 71

Things went much better for the good guys on Sunday, as the squad rebounded nicely and put together a dominant performance over the Denvegas SummerNugs. Whereas Game 1 was a wire-to-wire loss, Game 2 was a wire-to-wire victory. The SummerWolves dominated the glass (42-27), shot the ball well (44% from the field, 37% from three) and moved it around, as well (registering 21 assists, up from just 7 in Game 1).

Perry Ellis led the team with 19 points in 22 bench minutes, Marcus Paige was instrumental again with 12 points and 6 assists, but the real story of Game 2 was Matt Costello, who stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, 15 boards, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block. He had twice as many offensive rebounds (6) by himself than the entire Denver team could muster (3). Costello, who played 4 years at Michigan State and suited up for the Grizzlies’ Iowa affiliate last season, displayed a little bit of bounce on this pick-and-roll finish:

Charles Cooke (15) and Levi Randolph (13) also chipped into the Wolves’ victory. Jack Gibbs (1-of-7 from the field, 4 turnovers) struggled following his big Vegas debut.

Full highlights here:


Some overall impressions…

  • The rotations are sort of jumbled, which is to be expected, given the nature of the event. These guys are sort of thrown together and asked to make it work, and each is desperate to make a name for himself, so things can get weird. The basketball is not, uh, good. But there are two guys who’ve managed to play 20+ minutes in each of the first two games:
    • Marcus Paige, who’s shooting 43% from the floor, 42% from three and is averaging 15 points and 3 assists
    • Levi Randolph, who has put up very solid lines in both games and is averaging 11.5/3.5/1.5 on 56% shooting from the field and 60% shooting from three.
  • What does that mean? I have no idea, but it certainly isn’t a bad thing for either guy. To me, Randolph is the more intriguing of the two, mostly due to his size (6’6) and position (it seems like he could guard either 2’s or 3’s).
  • Raphiael Putney is 2-of-18 from the floor through two games. I am sad.
  • V.J. Beachem caught a DNP in Game 2. Doesn’t bode well for him, either.
  • The most fun I had watching was when Jack Gibbs had it going in Game 1. I’m a sucker for undersized gunners getting buckets.
  • It’s sort of funny/weird to listen to Tom Thibodeau (and all head coaches/GMs, for that matter) speak very carefully about rumors/potential signings in the abstract. Thibs was interviewed in Vegas and you can catch it here if you missed it.
  • The Wolves wrap up pool play on Tuesday versus the dastardly SummerWarriors. I hope they win the game 200-0.
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1 thought on “SummerWolves Weekend Recap

  1. Matt C. will be a good addition – likely to the D-league. Likely better than some of the wings/point players – but with KAT/Dieng/Gibson/Bjelica/Patton(injured), depth is strong at the Post – but Gibson is getting older – Bjelica may have to become a SF/PF if he is to stick with the team beyond this season. With Crawford rumored to be a done deal (awaiting signing until wavier clears) – we have a Point/Wing rotation – likely with Teague available for some SG – Bjelica available for some SF – Jones certainly capable of 25 + minutes a game. That said without injury or foul trouble, we have Post/Wing/Point covered. We however need one additional Point and one additional Wing if/when we encounter the occasional foul trouble or hopefully short term injury. A couple of these guys could perhaps receive a D-league assignment/NBA roster position slot. The salarys would be economical (perhaps enough to take another PG/SG as well as another Post player once we find a way to deal Aldrich – This is likely to require us to lose a draft pick next season – and possible but unlike that w could gain another Point/Wing roster player.

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