Summer League Grades

The Summer League Pels finish 3-2 in Vegas. Who impressed me and what grades am I giving? Lets take a look:

Dyson Daniels:


Defensively, Dyson Daniels is already elite. We all know this. He showed that last year against the likes of Lebron James and Luka Doncic and he showed us in Summer League as well. He is a physical guard who can body you up as soon as you cross half court but also has quick feet, quick hands and great instincts like a damn cat. As Lito said over the weekend, he could possibly be a better defender than Herb Jones when it’s all said and done. I also love the way he rebounds the basketball as a Guard. These 2 sequences against Phoenix are impressive.

For me, I don’t care what he looks like defensively this summer. I already know what I’m going to get come October. All of my questions are on the offensive side of the ball and it was mostly good.

The Good:

TO ME.. He was very aggressive in the 5 games that he played. I liked the way he is attacking the rim; he is playing with pace and has shown that he is not afraid to shoot the ball. Now, the results may not be there from behind the arc, but I like the confidence he has shown in his shot. In Game 2 vs the Warriors, Dyson shot 10 times from deep and went 2-10. I don’t care about the misses, but what I care about is that Dyson does not care about missing either. We all know Dyson has been working his ass off and if he continues to be confident in his work, the results will come. But, this is the aggressiveness I previously talked about. This right here is a grown man move.

Dyson should be able to exploit mis-matches on smaller guards

Leadership- Dyson is clearly the leader of this team in Vegas. I got to watch in person on Friday and what stood out to me is how vocal he has been over these past 5 games. Directing traffic on the offensive side of the ball, making sure everyone is in the right spots. Defensively he has been vocal and had a team high 15 rebounds setting the tone against the Warriors. Head Coach Casey Hill has given him the keys to this team and he has made it a point to be a leader for the Summer League Pels.

The Not So Good:

Shooting- I don’t want to put unrealistic expectations on Dyson Daniels in Year 2. As Chris Conner said on the show the other day, we are most likely looking at a guy who will shoot 33% from behind the arc this year. I would be fine with those numbers but it depends on the volume. Him and Herb are going to have to keep defenses honest and if they are open, they are going to HAVE to shoot the ball. So far in Summer League, Dyson Daniels has done that. In the 2nd Half of the season last year you saw Herb Jones do that as well.

Jordan Hawkins: C

Want to talk about confidence? Jordan Hawkins OOZES confidence. Jordan Hawkins truly believes in the saying: “Shoot to get hot, shoot to stay hot”

This was probably my favorite sequence of summer for Jordan Hawkins. After 2 straight missed Free Throws from Jordan Hawkins late in the 4th, Minnesota could not secure the rebound and the ball went back to the Pelicans on the baseline. That did not phase Jordan Hawkins as the next play he explodes off a double stagger screen to the right corner in which he is fouled on a 3 PT attempt. A lot of rookies would have deferred, but Jordan wanted to redeem himself and WANTED the ball. Also credit to Casey Hill for trusting Hawkins and drawing up a play for him immediately after missing 2 Free Throws. Confidence from a Head Coach is everything for a young player. Now, he did go on and miss 2 out of the next 3 FT’s but who cares, we know that wont be a problem in the regular season as he is a career 85% FT shooter in college.

Now to game 2 against the Warriors. Up 3, 2 minutes to go with 5 seconds left on the shot clock. Dyson is cut off to the rim, Hawkins decides to circle back and chase down the ball from Dyson. Hawkins takes 3 hard dribbles from the top of the key to the left corner and nails a 17 foot side-fade away jumper. An absolute dagger that iced the game. I can’t tell you the difficulty of this shot, going full speed to your weak hand side with a defender right in your face. Pure.

I have seen some mixed reviews when it comes to Hawkins. Some people don’t think he will play when October rolls around and I understand that opinion. It wasn’t an impressive Summer League for Hawkins, but he brings a skill set to this team that they don’t really have. I don’t see a lot of minutes for the rookie in early October or even November, but I do see an opportunity down the road to where he can help this team out spacing the floor. I see a guy who will fit PERFECTLY with Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, CJ Mccollum and Trey Murphy as a spacer. His shot is pure, and what I’ve been surprised with is his touch around the rim. I really do not care about Summer League stats so please miss me with his 3 PT percentage for the summer. People need to understand that it matters who shares the floor with Hawkins. When he is on the floor with a G League squad, it will be hard for him to create and get shots. When he shares the floor with All NBA talent, I guarantee you it looks a little different.

Don’t get me wrong, he needs to work on his handle. But his pump fake, one dribble and finish at the rim has been a pleasant surprise. Also, the way he snakes around screens and can pull up from the elbow has also been a major positive so far this summer.

2 things that I have questions about- Ball handling, and defense. Both the Warriors and Suns pressured the hell out of him which resulted in some turnovers for the rookie and also some forced shots. That is going to happen, but guess what… The Pelicans didn’t draft him to handle the ball, they drafted him to shoot it and space the floor for Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.

Defensively, he has a ways to go but who are we kidding… Offense wins regular season games and that is what the Pelicans need from him. His best game of the summer was his last game against Philly when he went 6-14 fro, the field, 3-8 from deep with 16 PTS. As long as he is an average defender for this team, he will be a positive player because of what he brings on the offensive side of the ball.

EJ Liddell:


He is coming back from a torn ACL and looks a step slow which I think everyone anticipated. The Pelicans are clearly taking their time with him and that is 100% the right move. I have seen some flashes of what he can bring to this team. A physical forward who will exploit mis-matches in the post and has a nice mid-range game. I also think he his defense is very underrated. A strong physical forward who can switch 1-4 and has a ton of length to defend with. EJ will get minutes with the big league team this year, it’s just going to take some time.

The best he looked this Summer came against Philly on Sunday. Going 7-10 from the field with 23 PTS is a very efficient way to end the Summer. Just need him to keep getting healthy and he should be able to compete for some minutes in October.

Dereon Seabron: A

WOW- after a horrific start to Summer League, Seabron turned himself into an NBA player. When Seabron is engaged and involved in the action, I see a guy who can help out this team at the NBA level.

A 6’7 guard who can get to the rim at will, with length and size. Like the other Guards on this team, he struggles from deep, but he makes it up with his relentless attacks on the rim. In Game 1 against the Timberwolves he was hands down the worst player on the court. In Games 2-5 he was arguably the best player on the court. The question is, can he be consistent enough to crack an NBA rotation?

With that type of consistency… He can crack an NBA rotation. Obviously the points stand out, but what I love to see are the rebound totals. This stat is also missing what he did against Philly: 6-11 FG, 1-4 3 PT, 5 REB, 5 AST, 19 PTS. Just look at the athleticism of Seabron.

Seabron is very smooth with the ball and has great touch around the rim, I really like him.. But I need that type of energy every single night.

The only thing that didn’t improve in Vegas was his defense. On ball he was fine because he is strong and has a ton of length. It is the off ball help that he is struggling with. Numerous times he either missed a rotation or got beat on long close-outs. If he is going to play for Head Coach Willie Green he is going to need to clean that up. Other than that, I was very impressed with the way he played after Game 1.

Karlo Makovic:


He is not even close to being ready. Not knowing the plays, moving screens, slow feet.. He has struggled mightly in Las Vegas.

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