PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland Trail Blazers began their quest to repeat as Summer League Champs on Saturday and here are five takeaways from their game against the Pistons.
Anfernee Simons is going to be as good as Damian Lillard keeps telling us he will be.
With a team-high 15 pts in 24 minutes, Simons looked comfortable on the floor, calling plays and helping guys find their spots and picking his own well. Since he stunned the city with his 37 point performance in the regular season finale, it’s been a question whether he can do that on a more night-in night-out basis. I believe he’ll answer that question definitively in Vegas this summer. He started to show it Saturday and will continue to develop familiarity with running the floor of an NBA game and should be looked at to run the second unit at times this fall.
Gary Trent Jr. has developed since last year’s summer league outing.
I liked the spots Trent Jr. was picking Saturday. He seemed more comfortable, he finished with the best three-point percentage on the Blazers, shooting 2-5 from distance and adding 10 points to the Blazers box score.
Nassir Little will take some time to get comfortable.
The Blazers lone draft pick from 2019 showed some nice aggressive play in his Summer League debut but will need to work on his productivity. With one of the worst plus/minuses on the team (-19) he put only two points on the stat sheet in his 22 minutes of play.
Keep an eye on Devin Robinson. An intriguing addition to the Blazers summer league roster, Robinson had some of the best highlights of the game, including back-to-back dunks in the third quarter that showed off his athleticism. In the first, he jumped over several players to throw down the two-handed jam and Robinson finished with the lone double-double for the Blazers (14 pts, 10 assists). This is Robinson’s third straight summer league, having played with the Wizards in 2017 and 2018 but after a fight with Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills in April, the Wizards released a statement saying they wouldn’t be extending him a qualifying offer which made him a free agent and how Portland could pick him up for Vegas.
Where is Skal Labissiere? The fourth-year man out of Haiti was on the Blazers initial summer league roster, and went through summer league practices in Portland but reportedly may not have made the trip to Vegas, according to team reporter Casey Holdahl. When asked about it today, Holdahl said “he’s not on the bench, which I would assume means he did not travel with the team to Las Vegas.” Jamie Hudson of NBC Sports Northwest reported earlier this week that Labissiere sprained his right shoulder a few weeks ago and may not play at all in Vegas so it could be as simple of an answer as the Blazers wanting to not risk him injuring himself further.
The Blazers are back in action Sunday night at 7 p.m. against the Rockets.