There’s always a lot worth watching in Vegas Summer League. Names from all over crop up, players no one recognizes populate rosters and team basketball often becomes an afterthought. Everyone loves to key in on a few guys that could end up making their team come October. With that in mind, I’ve highlighted a few things to watch from the Bucks this week.
- How will Larry Sanders fare?
Joe Alexander was a miss. Brandon Jennings was a hit. There were hints of both of these things by the time the Bucks left Las Vegas the last two years. Where will the Bucks most recent first round draft pick end up? I’d put my money on him falling somewhere in the incredibly wide gap between those two. Sanders isn’t likely to take over games offensively in Vegas, few big men do, but he could immediately impress if he looks like a capable shot blocker and rebounder. Sanders ability to run the court could serve him well in the fast paced wide open Vegas games.
- Which point guard rises to the top?
The Bucks backup point guard probably isn’t on this roster, but someone will have to emerge to handle the ball on this roster. Paul Delaney, Dominic James and Ricky Franklin will likely battle it out for minutes at the one; I’d expect Delaney to get the majority of the minutes. If he can handle the ball and get Milwaukee’s slew of big men involved, he may get an invite and even look in training camp.
- Speaking of big men
Sanders, Darnell Jackson, Tiny Gallon, Sean Williams and John Bryant will man the four and five for the Bucks this week. Jackson has a head start having been with the team since last season and could leave Vegas as the Bucks leading scorer. Sanders has the surest roster spot, Gallon may be the most intriguing with his shooting ability and size and the other two are likely summer league fodder. Milwaukee’s regular season roster will likely have a glut of forwards, so of the three on this team likely to make it to October, this week is a good start at establishing themselves and earning a look early.
- No Hobson
Milwaukee’s first second round pick, Darington Hobson, will not play in Vegas after tearing his groin working out, much to the dismay of Bucks fans. Hobson was seen as a likely initiator of the offense and probably the Buck best perimeter scoring threat. His departure opens things up for Deron Washington, a high flier from Virginia Tech who may jump right into the hearts of Bucks fans with a few flashy dunks. Even if there isn’t a place for him in Milwaukee come regular season, Hobson’s injury may get him the time to latch on somewhere else.
James, Franklin and Jerry Smith give the Bucks local flavor. James and Franklin (a Riverside grad) went to college at Marquette and UWM, while Jerry Smith is a native of Wauwatosa and former Louisville Cardinal. James should see more minutes than Franklin, but Smith may have an opportunity to see the court as the shooter the Bucks don’t have elsewhere on their roster.