Summer League surprises

Summer League surprises
July 23, 2013, 5:15 pm
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Former UVa star Mike Scott turned heads this summer.

(USA TODAY IMAGES)

The Las Vegas Summer League headliners are typically incoming rookies like Otto Porter and Cody Zeller, or young players ready to show more like Kent Bazemore and Jonas Valanciunas (the Raptors big man was named the 2013 MVP). This year was no exception even if the bulk of rosters were packed with blasts from the pasts and those anonymous ballers hoping to show they've got game or clinging to the belief that they do.

Two years removed from his last NBA appearance with professional stints in Puerto Rico and China in between, Shavlik Randolph joined the Wizards last summer. Once a heralded Duke recruit who never lived up to the Devilish hype, the 6-foot-10 forward didn't play for Washington simply to snag a free trip to Las Vegas. Randolph wanted another shot at the league. Guess what, he earned it and a multi-year deal from the Celtics. 

Having already reviewed the notable rookies and the summer league stars with local college basketball ties, we now look at those under-the-radar types or fringe NBA players from other teams that might have played their way into a training camp invitation or more (It's possible the Wizards had one or two such players as well).

Ian Clark - Playing for the eventual summer league champion Warriors, Clark knocked down a staggering 7 of 10 3-pointers and scored 33 points in Golden State's finals win over Phoenix. Staggering, but on some level not stunning. College basketball fans recognize that Belmont University has become a mid-major force, reaching the NCAA Tournament six times since 2006 including each of the past three seasons. What they might not have realized is that Clark was the one shooting the Bruins into the ultimate March Madness. The 6-foot-3 guard shot over 40 percent from 3-point during each of his final three seasons including 45.9 percent on 222 attempts last season. In Las Vegas, Clark made 48.5 percent of 3-point tries and averaged 12.4 points. Whether he can play minutes as a point guard might ultimately dictate whether Clark has a chance to rain three's as an NBA regular.

Vander Blue - Readers of the section prior to the NBA draft or those that caught our NCAA Tournament coverage recognize the aggressive - and undrafted - guard out of Marquette is a personnel favorite. Apparently others might be catching on. In one "red-hot" performance, Blue scored 24 points in 23 minutes for the Grizzlies, making 5 of 8 3-point shots; his limited range scared off draft evaluators. The track record for recent Marquette players going from overlooked to rotation-viable is legitimate. Some smart team will catch on.

Terrence Jennings - When he entered the league as the No. 11 overall pick by the Nets in 2009, Williams was a springy swingman. Now listed at 6-foot-10, 230-pounds, the former Louisville Cardinal last season played 24 games for the Celtics, his fourth NBA team. Participating with the Knicks in Las Vegas does not count as a fifth, but Williams could get a look from New York after solid work over five games. From CBSsports.com:

Jennings looks like a legitimate rotation big man to me. He made 55.6 percent of his shots and put up incredible per-minute stats. He averaged 10.0 points and 6.6 rebounds with 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocks in 16.6 minutes. His length, athleticism, and size are more than enough to get him through camp and onto a roster.

Mike Scott - Unlike the others on this list, the 6-foot-8 power forward has a NBA team, having played 40 games for the Hawks last season. Also, the former Virginia star should have been discussed on the DMV summer league notables list along with Bazemore and others. If Scott keeps up the good work with Atlanta next season, he'll be on a list of the league's most improved players . The 2012 second round pick averaged 18.6 points in five games "by way of his savvy shooting touch and heightened offensive responsibility." Though he doesn't offer much defensively, Scott could become a larger piece of the Hawks' rotation as Atlanta is undergoing a significant roster turnover.