Warriors summer league links: Santa Cruz Warriors making an impression

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

The Golden State Warriors will begin tournament play tonight, but a few Santa Cruz Warriors players have made an impression thus far at summer league.

When I first got to Vegas and talked to the other SB Nation bloggers who had been here the entire time, the word was that this year's summer league was significantly worse than those of the past.

So let's just get this out of the way: the 2013 Las Vegas Summer League has been uninspiring, at best, thus far.

An obvious cause for the underwhelming play might be the lack of top draft picks here in Vegas: most of the top picks from the 2013 NBA Draft aren't playing, either due to injury or having played in Orlando. A number of second-year players aren't playing because they're participating in the Team USA mini-camp after the conclusion of summer league. Many of the folks covering games have also suggested that the combination of those problems has led to inferior point guard play this season, which is not a good thing for semi-structured basketball that is normally predicated on strong point guard play.

But for the Warriors in particular, the biggest "problem" is that there isn't that much at stake this summer. And really that's a good thing: we're not hoping to see the franchise's next savior, the team didn't have a lottery pick to check out, and second-year player Festus Ezeli and rookie Nemanja Nedovic - both of whom would've been among the most interesting to watch - are both out due to injury. Of course, Kent Bazemore and Draymond Green both have something to gain from being here and Scott Machado needed to impress in order to find a role on the roster, but it might be fair to say that as meaningless as summer league performances normally are this year's edition might have even less meaning to the Golden State Warriors than usual.

But for the Santa Cruz Warriors, there have been some more interesting storylines as the D-League Select squad has been turning some heads. A few links as today's action gets started:

  • Gino Pilato of SB Nation's Ridiculous Upside looks at the D-League Select team's undefeated start and wonders if they have an advantage given that their entire roster has prior professional experience.
  • A big contingent of Santa Cruz Warriors staff was here this week and assistant coach Casey Hill, who is on the D-League Select staff this summer, did an audio interview explaining their preparation and goals. He says that D-League guys who do well help to show that they can play individually but also that the D-League is not just a joke.
  • DJ Foster of Clipper Blog commented that Santa Cruz Warriors guard Stefhon Hannah has been the most pleasant surprise of summer league thus far: "The D-League's two-time Defensive Player of the Year has been harassing point guards as well as anyone not named Dennis Schroeder, and his aggressiveness offensively and creative scoring have made him look plenty capable of performing as a change-of-pace point guard in the league. Not bad for a guy who was on no one's mind coming in."
  • The Santa Cruz Warriors have also posted a video of their players playing with Golden State, including an interview with coach Nate Bjorkgren. Lance Goulbourne really played well in his last game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

  • Random tweet: Because it's important....
  • Seerat Sohi of Hardwood Paroxysm did a nice piece on Kent Bazemore and how he fits the mold of the rookies that the Warriors brought in last year: he's a sponge.
  • Real GM has a sortable table of summer league stats and two things stand out: Bazemore is in the top 15 in points per game and assists while Draymond Green is third in steals per game.

We'll have a game thread up closer to the Warriors' game time, but for now feel free to use this as an open thread for the rest of the day's games or any other Warriors-related links.

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