The NBA Summer League finished up in Orlando on July 13 and brought the show to Las Vegas that very same day.
Some rookies have impressed, wowing the competition with their skills, but others have floundered thus far in Vegas.
The locations are different, but the general sentiment stays the same. Draft picks are trying to prove that they were worth it, and undrafted rookies are out to make other teams regret passing on them.
Here are three rookies who have gone above and beyond so far in the desert.
Bradley Beal – Washington Wizards
Beal hasn’t exactly proven himself to be the sharpshooter that the Washington Wizards hoped for, but he’s shown the organization that he’s more than capable of scoring in bunches.
The Florida product has led his team in scoring in each of the last three games, scoring 22, 14 and 20 points, respectively.
The No. 3 overall pick has gone just 16-for-39 from the field in those three games, a 41 percent clip. He’s no exactly shooting the lights out of the gym, but he’s shown the propensity to get to the free-throw line, reaching the stripe 28 times. He’s only hit 75 percent of his shots from the stripe, but five of his seven misses came in one game.
In his last two games, Beal has 11 rebounds, five assists and just five turnovers. He was heralded as a dead-eye shooter, and he is exactly that. He’s not going to hover around 41 percent for much longer, and should be able to improve on that number when he gets more comfortable on the court.
Jeremy Lamb – Houston Rockets
No. 12 overall pick Jeremy Lamb is well on his way to rewarding the Houston Rockets for their decision to take a risk in drafting him as high as they did.
Over the last three games, the former UConn Husky has averaged 20.3 points. He’s been knocking down shots at a rate of 51 percent and has turned the ball over just six times in those three games.
He’s also gone 14-for-15 from the stripe, and brings a complete package to the Rockets. Lamb has been a bit one-dimensional in three games, pulling down just eight boards and dishing out two helpers in the trio of impressive performances.
However, the Rockets expected him to be a scorer more than anything else, so they surely aren’t complaining. As a volume scorer, he’s going to help the Rockets as much as they thought he would when they drafted him.
Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers
The first point guard taken in the 2012 NBA draft proved why he was indeed that in his only Las Vegas Summer League game to date.
It’s a small sample size, but Damian Lillard put on a show for those in attendance on Sunday night. He scored 25 points in 34 minutes against the New Orleans Hornets on 9-for-21 shooting.
Shooting 43 percent isn’t going to make you a star in the NBA, but Lillard surely had some first-game jitters to deal with. The Weber State alum showed plenty of offensive versatility as both a scorer and a facilitator.
He showed his range from behind the arc, knocking down a couple of threes, which is a good sign in itself. Even more encouraging was his ability to get to the rim and find the bottom of the net despite contact down low.
Lillard found teammate and fellow first-round pick Meyers Leonard on an alley-oop and a couple other low-post passes. If that duo turns out as well as Portland is hoping, the Trail Blazers will be just fine in the future.
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