Portland thrived on a balanced attack and a deep roster stacked with current and former NBA-roster players, including rookies Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr. and veterans Zach Collins, Caleb Swanigan, Wade Baldwin IV, Archie Goodwin, K.J. McDaniels and John Jenkins. “Every one of the guys on our team and something to prove,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts told The Crossover. “We had two rookies, we had Zach and Caleb who were rookies last year and needed to be in Summer League. Wade Baldwin and Jake Layman really hadn’t done much on the NBA stage. K.J. McDaniels and Archie Goodwin have bounced around. We had some experienced players but there wasn’t one guy who didn’t need to be in Summer League and show what they could do.”
Napier said Crabbe’s role was critical. “Yeah, I talk to Allen Crabbe a lot, Ed Davis as well,” Napier said of his former Blazer teammates, who will all represent Brooklyn this coming season. “Those are my guys from Portland. I was in California at the time. Me and Allen exchange texts all the time. It was just a text message here and there, a call here and there before I made my decision to understand the type of environment Brooklyn is and the facility and everything. All I heard was great things about it. It was easy for me to choose after that.”
There’s Justin Harper, with the New York Knicks. Casper Ware, with the Portland Trail Blazers. Brady Heslip with the Memphis Grizzlies. There are no paychecks for playing in Summer League. There’s per diem, around $100 per day. There’s a hotel room, two-hour practices, daily bus rides and no guarantee of playing time. “It’s a grind, man,” Machado said. “Every time you come out to Summer League, everyone is trying to prove themselves. Me, trying to facilitate, sometimes you overthink it. Every time you come back, you think, ‘Man I did this already.’ It’s a constant grind and constant pressure you put on yourself.”