The NBA Summer League grades are in:
Kristaps Porzingis? Good.
Karl-Anthony Towns? Well, not quite as good.
“I mean, you really have to take Summer League and categorize it the right way,” RealGM.com NBA writer Jarrod Rudolph said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “I don’t think anybody at the Summer League in terms of the top draft picks – I don’t think anyone was outstanding. I don’t think how they played in the Summer League is a representation of how they’re going to play in the regular season. The circumstances are entirely different. Kyle Anderson, who played well for the Spurs, won the MVP of the summer league. I don’t think you’ll hear much from him in the regular season.
“For Karl-Anthony Towns, for Porzingis, this is really just a learning experience, trying to get a feel of what the NBA game is,” Rudolph continued. “But let’s be realistic. They’re not playing against real, top, NBA-quality guys. You’re playing against guys that are trying to get a job, trying to find jobs overseas, really auditioning for jobs overseas, so you got to keep that in perspective. No foul outs. I think one game it was either Towns or Okafor had like eight fouls. It’s really just learning the rhythm of the game, learning the flow of the game. I don’t get too high or too low on how these guys perform in Summer League. You’ve seen guys play really, really well in Summer League and come out and do nothing, and you’ve seen guys play poorly in Summer League and then come out and make some contributions. So you just have to keep things in perspective.”
That’s fair, but you have to be impressed by Becky Hammon, who led the Spurs to the Las Vegas Summer League championship. Summer League may not be a big deal, but when the head coach is a female who’s breaking down barriers, it is.
“It’s to be expected,” Rudolph said. “One, the Spurs are a class organization, so they’re not going to put Becky Hammon – or anyone – in the position that they’ve given her without having full confidence and understanding that that particular person understands the system, they know something about basketball. But when you look at Becky Hammon’s career, I mean, nothing about the success that she’s had should be a surprise to anyone. She’s played international ball, she’s been a WNBA All-Star, she’s a basketball lifer. She’s done well. So I think a lot of people are taken aback by the fact that she’s a female and they get lost in the fact that she knows a lot about this game. She can coach this game. It’s just about the opportunities.
“There are a lot of Becky Hammons out there that haven’t been given the opportunity to coach, and it’s great she did so well in the summer,” Rudolph continued. “But no one should be surprised by this if you know anything about basketball – because that woman knows everything there is to know about the game. She was just given an opportunity and she’s done well. And hopefully what she’s done is open the eyes of other organizations where they’ll let other young ladies come along and have an opportunity. Because that’s what it’s really all about. It’s not about basketball acumenl it’s about opportunity. If these women are given the opportunity, they’re going to do well.”