Las Vegas Summer League: Three Pac-12 1st-rounders in action Friday night
LAS VEGAS — The 2018 edition of the Las Vegas Summer League opened Friday, and all three first-round draft picks from the Pac-12 in June were in action. Here’s how the day went for Arizona’s Deandre Ayton, UCLA’s Aaron Holiday and Oregon’s Troy Brown, Jr.
Deandre Ayton opens with a bang, helps Phoenix to win over Dallas
Almost three minutes gone into the first quarter of the Phoenix Suns’ Friday night game against the Dallas Mavericks, Deandre Ayton was running ahead of teammate Shaquille Harrison in transition and pointed to the sky, the universal signal for a lob. Harrison obliged — lofted it up where only Ayton could get it — and the former Wildcat did the rest, reaching back oh-so slightly to nab the rock and tomahawk it down.
Such were the first Summer League points for Ayton, who posted a near-double-double in the Suns’ 92-85 win over the Mavs. The No. 1 overall pick finished with 10 points and eight rebounds and made his presence felt around the rim, deftly tapping in a follow with his left hand in the second half. He also recorded a block, demonstratively stuffing a Jalen Jones dunk attempt.
The numbers weren’t eye-popping, but Ayton had to deal with double teams much of the night.
“I was surprised,” Ayton told ArizonaSports.com regarding the double teams he faced. “I told coach like, ‘yo, they double-team in the league?’ And everybody started laughing and they said, ‘yeah, that’s just respect. They showing you respect.’”
Aaron Holiday shows out for Bruin-influenced Pacers in loss to Houston
It didn’t take long for former Bruin Aaron Holiday to get going Friday afternoon, as the newly-minted Indiana Pacer drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing coming off a screen on the Pacers’ opening offensive possession.
The next trip down the court, Holiday crossed up Houston Rockets big man Isaiah Hartenstein and subsequently nailed a left-wing triple.
Next time down, Holiday drove into Hartenstein and niftily finished at the rim with his left hand.
Off the catch. Off the dribble. On the drive. Dude was getting it done in a variety of ways, and not even 75 seconds had come off the clock yet.
Those instances were far from the last times Holiday made his presence felt, as the No. 23 pick of the 2018 NBA Draft scored 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting while connecting on three of his six 3-point attempts. Holiday also contributed five rebounds, three assists and three steals (and also six turnovers).
“He got it going early on this game,” Pacers Summer League head coach Steve Gansey told the Indianapolis Star after the game. “We keep telling him in practice he’s the quarterback of the team, make sure everyone is in their spots and just go out there and run the point-guard position.”
Troy Brown, Jr. solid in debut for Washington Wizards
Bad news first: the Washington Wizards did not play close to well on Friday night, shooting just 30 percent in an ugly-looking 72-59 loss to the Collin Sexton-led Cleveland Cavaliers.
Now for the good news: former Duck Troy Brown, Jr., played well, scoring 13 points to go along with four rebounds, an assist and a steal (though he did finish with a team-worst -15, if you’re into that plus/minus stuff).
He took a bad shot or two, but hey, it’s Summer League. More importantly, he was aggressive and relentlessly drove to the rim. The No. 15 pick of the 2018 NBA Draft would, however, like to limit the turnovers, as he coughed it up five times against the Cavs.
“It wasn’t the real NBA, but Brown showed a knack for getting into the lane off the dribble and finishing with floaters,” wrote Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.