Portland Trail Blazers Summer League standouts: Day 1


The Portland Trail Blazers fell to the Boston Celtics in their Las Vegas Summer League opener, 85-76. Although wins are nice in Summer League, they are not generally meaningful. The roster looks nothing like it will come the regular season, so game outcomes foreshadow very little overall. This is just time for practice and, for the Trail Blazers, searching for diamonds in the rough, so we are going to pay more attention to individual achievements than team successes or failures. Yesterday’s loss came with its own wins under the microscope.

Three Trail Blazers separated themselves from the pack; Allen Crabbe, Tim Frazier, and Malcolm Thomas. You may notice that each of those three have prior NBA experience. On a Summer League team that does not feature any 2015 first round draft picks, it makes sense that the players with the most experience would step up and shine the brightest. Here is a brief rundown of how they did:

Crabbe: 15 PTS, 2 TRB, 2 STL

Crabbe, returning for his third year of Summer League basketball, led the Trail Blazers in scoring. The 3-ball came and went (2-6), but he was usually able to find the right place to be at the right time. He played aggressively and did a fair bit of fixing otherwise sloppy plays. However, he also accrued the Summer League maximum of 10 fouls in just over 28 minutes of play. I am not even sure how one does that without self amusement as their intention. Still, production is production.

Frazier: 11 PTS, 9 TRB, 8 AST

Frazier came close to a triple-double in the final minutes, which says a lot about his abilities as a facilitator. It is difficult to rack up assists like that with teammates that are not always guaranteed to make open looks. Those rebounds were no fluke either, as several were earned the hard way. I would, however, like to see him shoot more threes, since he worked so hard on them this summer. He missed the only one he took, but otherwise scored nicely inside.

Thomas: 13 PTS, 10 TRB, 2 BLK

Thomas did everything he was supposed to do. He created second chance opportunities (5 offensive rebounds), he put points on the board efficiently (5-8 shooting), and he played hard defense. Throughout the game, he was one of Portland’s most consistently positive influences, despite his negative +/- total. If he can keep it up, he is bound to catch the eye of at least one NBA team that is scouring Vegas for potential signees.

Today is a new day, and more players will get the opportunity to impress. It is a challenge to find minutes for everyone in the 40-minute format. With any luck, a few more of the hopefuls will trickle into the lineup when the Trail Blazers play the Dallas Mavericks at 7:00 p.m. tonight. The following players have yet to see the court:

  • Keith Bogans (DNP – COACH’S DECISION)
  • Kenny Chery (DNP – COACH’S DECISION)
  • Karl Cochran (DNP – COACH’S DECISION)
  • Stephen Dennis (DNP – COACH’S DECISION)
  • Meyers Leonard (DNP – COACH’S DECISION)
  • Noah Vonleh (SPRAINED ANKLE)

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