Five days of NBA Summer League action remain in Las Vegas, Nev. As the mid-summer heat continues to build in the desert, so does one former Kentucky Wildcat who is tearing up the competition.
The transition from the college game to the NBA has not been the smoothest for some of the news professional Cats, but for Terrence Jones, he's making it look easy.
Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trailblazers
Though it was just the NBA Summer League, Terrence Jones seemed to have a little extra pep in his step when he faced his favorite team from his childhood in the Portland Trailblazers. Jones, an Oregon native, had his best game of the league thus far with 24 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Houston Rockets in both categories.
While 24 and 12 are his highs in both scoring and rebounding respectively in the summer league, he's been awfully solid. No, this is no broken record. Jones has shed, at least up until this point, the perception that he is not a consistently hard worker. His effort has been superb in his first four games as a Rocket, and perhaps no one else in this summer league has surprised more than Jones.
Jason Friedman of Rockets.com has been very impressed with Jones. Here's an excerpt from his game story from Wednesday night's game:
Terrence Jones is just a ridiculous physical specimen. But he's much more than just an athlete; his skill level is so very impressive for a man his size. As always, it's important to keep all things summer league in perspective, but Jones' comfort level with the ball in his hands both running the break and on the wing certainly lends credence to the idea that he'll be able to play some small forward in a pinch (at the very least) even during the early stages of his career. I mentioned this several times during our film session series on the Rockets' rookies, but positional versatility is an invaluable currency in today's NBA. Jones and White really fit the bill in that regard.
If beat writers are taking notice, rest assured that the Houston front office is well aware of Jones' performance. He may be better than advertised. If the Rockets elect to keep this young talent, they may have quite a core to build around for the foreseeable future.
Chicago Bulls vs. Boston Celtics
As good as some of his former teammates have been early on in their professional debuts, it was a rather tough one for Marquis Teague in his first showing with the Chicago Bulls. When Teague was selected with the 30th overall pick in the NBA Draft this summer, many were surprised, but saw it as a value pick and insurance for starting point guard Derrick Rose. Rose suffered a knee injury during the regular season and his return to normal activity is still up in the air.
If Rose is not healthy at the start of the season, Teague will likely see some valuable minutes for the Bulls. Will he be ready for that type of responsibility in helping to fill some of the largest shoes in the NBA? If Tuesday night is any indication, the answer is likely, "Not yet."
Teague struggled in his first game in the red, white and black. He did score eight points, but it was a struggle to get there. He shot just 4 of 17 from the field, turned the ball over six times while recording only one assist. Teague struggled to adjust to the college game initially, looking to do too much. It's likely that the same will happen for him once he gets a taste of the NBA. Don't put too much stock in his performance in his first game with a new team, but know that there is plenty of room for improvement for this young point guard.
Up-to-date stats of UK players in the summer league
Doron Lamb: 1 G, 20 PPG, .500 FG%, 4 RPG, 34 MPG
Terrence Jones: 4 G, 18.5 PPG, .537 FG%, 8.5 RPG, 1.4 APG, 24.3 MPG
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: 1 G, 18 PPG, .583 FG%, 8 RPG, 5 APG, 22 MPG
Brandon Knight: 4 G, 14.5 PPG, .347 FG%, 3 RPG, 7.3 APG, 29 MPG
Enes Kanter: 5 G, 10.4 PPG, .500 FG%, 8.8 RPG, 1.4 APG, 26 MPG
Marquis Teague: 1 G, 8 PPG, .235 FG%, 32 MPG
Darius Miller: 2 G, 7 PPG, .333 FG%, 2 RPG, 21 MPG
Deandre Liggins: 5 G, 5.6 PPG, .400 FG%, 4.6 RPG, 2.8 APG, 24.4 MPG
Daniel Orton: 3G, 0.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 11.7 MPG