Summer League Rumors
He didn’t. Powell’s monster jam tied the score, and the Raptors went on to win the game and the series, their first in 15 long years. The clutch play was Powell’s first signature moment in the NBA, the kind of big-stage performance that can signal a star turn for a young player. Factor in the stellar Summer League showing that followed it and the noticeable improvements he’s displayed in the pre-season, and you can understand why Powell has already been anointed by many as the Raptors next breakout star. And he just may be. But Norman Powell isn’t buying it. Not yet, at least. “People think ‘Oh, you did it in the playoffs, you got minutes, you’ve made it,’” Powell says on the eve of a Raptors’ pre-season game in Detroit. “I made a couple of shots. I made a couple of plays. That’s great, sure, but I worked for that. I’m not where I want to be… I’m nowhere close.”
Here, Thibodeau is in his element. Last April, the ink barely dry on his deal, Thibodeau gathered the team in Minnesota. “Get in shape,” Thibodeau told them, according to several players, “and get ready.” In July, the T’wolves gathered in Las Vegas during the NBA’s summer league. Team building. “Building relationships is important,” Thibodeau said. Before he joined USA Basketball in Rio de Janeiro, he encouraged the players to return to Minnesota early to work out together. Defense, of course, is Thibodeau’s hallmark. The Bulls jumped from 10th in defensive efficiency to first in Thibodeau’s first season — and never finished outside the top five after. The T’wolves ranked 28th in defensive efficiency last season, an improvement from 30th the year before.
Michael Wallace: Grizzlies reach deal to add 6-10 PF Vince Hunter to preseason roster. Hunter avg 11.8 pts, 7rbs for Grizzlies summer league team.
Power forward Carlos Boozer didn’t play in the NBA last season but contacted the Spurs last spring and told them he wanted back in. Buford suggested he play in San Antonio’s June minicamp, but Boozer declined. “Then he was going to come for a piece of our summer league, but then he said, ‘Nah, I’m not going to do that, either,'” Buford says. “So we moved on. How can we evaluate him if he’s not playing?” Boozer ended up signing with the Guangdong Tigers in China on July 30.
Russell said Walton has stressed to him the importance of being a leader. “I can’t give any specific information, just kind of coaching me through it,” Russell said. “Just giving me the guidance on how to do right. And when I do right, he lets you know, ‘I saw, I noticed.’ ” Some fruits of Russell’s off-season work appeared during this year’s summer league games in Las Vegas. Russell averaged 21.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and four assists per game. He made 47.7% of his shots.
Brown then joined Anthony Gargano and the Fanatic Morning Show Monday to further discuss the state of the Sixers. Along with the drafting of Ben Simmons number one overall this past June, and his subsequent promising play in the Utah Jazz and Samsung NBA Summer Leagues, one of the most significant off-season plotlines concerning the Sixers has been the improving health of Joel Embiid. Brown said Friday on The Lowe Post podcast that the seven-plus foot tall center is “on track” to be ready for the pre-season, and during his talk with Gargano Monday, the head coach appeared to double-down on that statement.