The NBA Summer League Season is over, with the Las Vegas segment the last two complete. Two former Duke men’s basketball players had VERY good summer leagues. Both of those players were members of the New Orleans Pelicans team.
Guard Austin Rivers, who struggled in his rookie season in the NBA (and the one Blue Devil I thought should have stuck around for another season in Durham), looks like he may be ready for his sophomore season in the NBA.
Rivers started all five Pelicans games he played and scored in double figures in all five. His first game of the summer league season (July 12th) was his best game. He scored 24 points on 8-of-15 shooting. He also went 7-for-11 from the free throw line. He hauled in seven rebounds and dished out six assists, compared to just two turnovers.
In his last four games, he struggled with turnovers. He committed a total of 11 of them, compared to just seven assists. On July 14th, he went 7-for-16 from the field for 15 points. He also hauled in four rebounds. The following day, he scored 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting and 3-of-4 from the free throw line.
On July 17th, Rivers scored 16 points on 5-of-14 shooting. He also went 5-for-7 from the free throw line and brought in four rebounds. In his final game of the summer league season (July 19th), he scored 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Rivers went a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line.
Forward Lance Thomas started all four games he played in for the Pelicans. He struggled in his first game on July 14th, as he went just 1-for-7 from the field for two points. He did however haul in seven rebounds and have two steals, but committed three turnovers. On the following day, he went a perfect 5-for-5 from the field for 14 points. Thomas finished with a double-double, as he hauled in ten rebounds.
Thomas went 3-for-7 from the field and 1-for-2 from the free throw line for seven points in the Pelicans July 17th game. He also hauled in five rebounds. In the Pelicans final game on July 19th, he went 3-for-5 from the field for eight points. He also hauled in five rebounds.
Thomas has made a statement that he can play at the elite level.