Top 2 picks Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley match wits at Summer League
LAS VEGAS — As we gear up for Sunday action from Las Vegas Summer League, here’s a look at some highlights of Saturday’s action:
Deandre Ayton comes alive in second half, helps Phoenix beat Sacramento and Marvin Bagley III
The headliner Saturday was the showdown between the No. 1 and No. 2 picks of the 2018 NBA Draft with Deandre Ayton and the Phoenix Suns taking on Marvin Bagley III and the Sacramento Kings (the NBA usually tries to schedule a No. 1 vs. No. 2 pick meeting on the opening weekend of Las Vegas Summer League). Ayton got off to a slow start but emerged in a big way in the second half to help lift the Suns to a 71-63 triumph over the Kings.
Ayton only took two shots in the first 20 minutes of action as the Kings loaded up on him and made it difficult for the Suns to get it to him inside (he also could have done a better job posting up), but he more than found his rhythm and asserted himself in the second half, winding up with 21 points and 12 rebounds to lead all players in both departments. He especially stepped up his aggressiveness on the boards, amassing five offensive rebounds in the third and fourth quarters combined.
“I tell [my teammates] if you don’t see the pass don’t throw it,” Ayton told Arizonasports.com. “Don’t force it. I’ll let the game come to me. I’m not the guy who really tries to force myself to hunt shots down. I’ll find it off offensive rebounds, go straight up to get my feel of the game, get in rhythm.”
Bagley, who was occasionally matched up with Ayton, had a solid game as well, finishing with 15 points, seven rebounds and a steal off a post-entry pass to Ayton in the first quarter.
Chimezie Metu and Derrick White provide scoring punch for San Antonio in loss to UCLA Pacers
After an impressive stint in Salt Lake City with averages of 10.7 points and 8.3 rebounds on 54 percent shooting in three games, Chimezie Metu made his Las Vegas Summer League debut on Saturday. The San Antonio Spurs’ No. 49 overall pick continued his solid play in July, going for 12 points and five rebounds on 6-of-8 shooting. His Spurs received another big scoring punch from former Buff Derrick White (he has been tearing it up all July), who scored 19 points (albeit on 6-of-18 shooting) to go along with five rebounds and five assists, but it wasn’t enough in the Spurs’ 86-76 loss to an Indiana Pacers team that features three UCLA basketball alums in Aaron Holiday, TJ Leaf and Bryce Alford.
Holiday, who had a monster Friday game with 23 points, was much colder on Saturday but still contributed in a lot of categories. The No. 23 pick finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals on 3 of 15 from the floor, while TJ Leaf contributed six points and three rebounds and Bryce Alford hit a 3-pointer.
Allonzo Trier has impressive debut for New York Knicks in win over Atlanta Hawks
Former Wildcat Allonzo Trier made good early returns on his two-way contract with the New York Knicks in helping his new team to a 91-89 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
While many fans and pundits had their eyes locked on Atlanta’s Trae Young, who has had an erratic summer but finished with 21 points and 11 assists on Saturday, Trier got it done all over the floor, finishing with 15 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Trier, who signed with the Knicks after going undrafted, seems to be enjoying the transition to the pro game.
“It fits my game a lot better, I have a little bit more room to operate,” said Trier, according to the Arizona Daily Star. “The biggest change is probably the physicality on cutting and things like that, where in college it’s more freedom of movement, but when you go to the rim, guys can’t put their hands on you so offensive guys can really get their own shot and make plays so it really helps me become a better player out here.”
Pac-12 non-rookie shout-out to…
Former California Golden Bear Jabari Bird, who scored 24 points for the Boston Celtics in an 82-69 loss to the Denver Nuggets. You can also tip your hat to former Dawg C.J. Wilcox, who hit all four of his shot attempts, including two from deep, to score 13 points in 14 minutes off the bench in the Pacers’ win over the Spurs.