For the Futures, DaJuan Summers showed off an improved jump shot and also hustled as much as any player on the floor. He scored 28 points (12-19 FG) and had 7 rebounds.
“Just playing hard every time you get the opportunity to now,” said an energetic Summers. “I think most guys down here haven’t had the opportunity to play elsewhere, so wherever they were – in the NBA, overseas, or in this league – they just didn’t get the opportunity they wanted. I think most guys who made it to the All-Star level of this, they just took advantage of the opportunity to play.”
Summers also said that as a result of his demotions he’s been forced to take his game to another level.
“My body is better,” he said. “My IQ is higher. My attention to detail and my overall focus is on another level than its ever been. I just approach the game so much differently than I ever used to.”
Despite not being a quality game that NBA scouts and GM’s can evaluate, the platform given to D-Leaguers, these perpetual dream chasers, isn’t something to take lightly. They can have fun (as they most definitely did), but they also need to be aware that their primary audience is paying attention to how they’re acting.
“It’s kind of tough but everybody’s out here to have fun,” said former Butler star Shelvin Mack, who has played in 75 total NBA games with the Wizards and 76ers. “You don’t want to put too much stock in one game. We play a lot of games throughout the season and we’re playing well. You try not to put a lot of pressure on one game. You just try to do what you’ve been doing the whole year. They want to see how you act around other people.”
Perhaps Maine Red Claws coach Mike Taylor, who coached the Futures today, summed this event up best.
“Everybody knows it’s an All-Star game,” said Taylor. “It’s not a realistic game. There’s not much defense being played. Nobody’s protecting the rim. Nobody’s being physical on block-outs or taking a chance to hurt someone. It’s more about showcasing yourself and having the executives see you, that you’re here, and having fun…
“As for the real evaluations, I think every scout and executive can watch every game on YouTube, so I don’t think they come here for that. They come here to maybe talk to the players and get to know them.”
Taylor’s points are valid, but after seeing scouts and GM’s roll their eyes this afternoon at times, it’s impossible for me to be content with the showcase that was on display.
After all, it’s not all that often that GM’s Alan Houston (Knicks), John Hollinger (Grizzlies) and Gar Forman (Bulls) are sitting court side watching these guys play.
Welcome to NBA All-Star weekend: A drawn out show that nets PR for anyone and everyone involved, Developmental League and all.
Jeremy Bauman is an aspiring shooting coach and scout who writes columns and blogs for SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.