James Michael McAdoo had his best game yet in Vegas, posting a line of 20 points, nine rebounds, and three assists.
Kevon Looney finally got into the flow of offense and ended up with 11 points on 5-12 shooting, including 1-2 from behind the arc to go along with four rebounds. His jumper looked effortless, he moved with much more authority, and seemed at ease as one of the focal points of the team. After the game, I asked Luke Walton about Looney's development. "Looney was great," said Walton. "You know, he's a very skilled basketball player. Being nineteen years old, he's got a lot to learn about the NBA game." He said that he's still working on figuring out what that entails, but that "today was probably his best all around day—including practices since we've been out here—and it was fun to watch."
Even being down by as much as 13 points, the team never gave up. They pressed on defense, forcing 20 turnovers (scoring 24 points off those turnovers). "We'll be alright with the result, as long as we compete," said Walton. "I think at one point in the second quarter and the third, we had seventeen consecutive stops, which is incredible. They were talking, they were getting after it on the defensive end. Just about an all around great comeback after losing by twenty in the last game."
McAdoo, who was interviewed by NBA TV after the game, spoke with me about his role as a leader on this team. "Obviously, having a year under my belt with Golden State, obviously I was with Santa Cruz a little bit, but still, I think that has given me so much confidence and so much knowledge just to come out here and be a great leader. I'm not a guy that's really vocal, but I think that's really something here in Summer League I'm able to work on. Coming out here and being the first guy to really just try and step up and be a leader."
Ognjen Kuzmic is gone from Vegas, having left to go train with the Serbian national team. In his place, Stefan Nastic and Matt Stainbrook both got extended playing time and more or less held their own against Sacramento's much-heralded draft pick Willey Cauley-Stein, who finished with only six points and six rebounds with six turnovers. Oh God, 666. RUUUUUUNNNNN WILLEY! RUUUUN!
The scene here was as ridiculous as ever. Peja Stojakovic and Vlade Divak stood, backs to the game, talking about who knows what while not ten feet away Mitch Kupchack enjoyed a quiet moment, leaned up against a wall snacking on a bag of popcorn. Agents and scouts and journalists and team executives milled around, watching unwatcheable basketball while the hype men hyped the crowd and little kids screamed and yelled at their favorite players, trying to grab a handshake or an autograph.
I'm leaving Vegas tonight, flying back to New York, but the things I've witnessed here have undoubtably changed my life and more specifically my understanding of the NBA.
I've been walking around, shaking hands, talking and smiling. I have material for 100 articles. Over the next week, I'll be sifting through all the material, posting articles on various things I found intriguing. Matt Stainbrook, for one. The long talk I had with Jarron Collins. Much more.