Day 1 of summer league finished nicely for the Kings, who looked pretty bad early on but recovered for a respectable performance in a win over Minnesota.
As NBA scenes go, summer league is a unique one. The games for all 16 teams take place at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion, which is adjacent to the college’s larger venue – the Thomas & Mack Center. The crowds vary greatly, with a large portion of the viewers qualifying either as NBA executives, scouts, coaches, or player agents. For the fans, that means you’re rubbing elbows with some of the most well-known decision makers in the game, even if you don’t know it (who studies mug-shots of general managers?).
The letdown of the day was the absence of small forward Ron Artest, who may play Friday afternoon but could also wait until Sunday's game. In his absence, Toronto center Andrea Bargnani was the biggest name on the docket.
The No. 1 draft pick from Italy showed plenty of skill, hitting from long range and throwing down a putback dunk against Washington. He struggled with the
basics, though, traveling three times. And after his dunk, another international talent – Ukrainian big man Oleksiy Pecherov – countered with a fastbreak dunk of his own. If Pecherov hadn’t been drafted by Washington with the 18th overall pick, the Kings would have given him a long, hard look. As it was, they went with Rutgers shooter Quincy Douby.
The Kings rookie had a decent debut, showcasing his shooting skills in the second half. Fans will soon see, though, that he is already a solid ballhandler,
the product of running the show so often as a one-man scoring machine at Rutgers.