Early Summer League Thoughts

After seeing two full Spurs summer league games, I thought I’d share my thoughts so far.

George Hill

George HillSpurs first round draft pick George Hill, whose college shooting percentages were off the charts, needs to regain some of that IUPUI magic. His shooting so far has looked horrific. His 10 percent from the field and 20 percent on threes through two games is a far cry from the 55 and 45 percent he shot in college.
There are some positives to take away from his performances, though. Hill is averaging 7.5 rebounds per game, which is second only to Ian Mahinmi and James Gist. When you consider Hill is a 6-2, 180 lb. guard, his rebounding numbers are even more impressive.
Aside from that, while at first looking tentative in game 1, he looked to penetrate and was able to drive to the basket and get to the free throw line. Also, Hill is not a true point and the Spurs made him the starting point guard for the summer league team in an attempt to try to get him comfortable with leading the team and setting up the offense. He looked more comfortable in game two at the point, dishing four assists, mostly off of penetration.
Aside from shooting and rebounding, Hill has also been heralded for defense and Mike Budenholzer assigned him to defend Grizzlies rookie and lottery pick O.J. Mayo in the first game. Mayo ended up with 18 pts. at the end of the night, but Hill made him work hard for every one of them, limiting Mayo to 5 of 17 from the field.
Overall, I see flashes from Hill, but it’s still a learning process, and there are definitely some things he’ll need to improve on. It’s still way too early to come up with a verdict on him, but we’ll be watching him closely through the Vegas Summer League and Rocky Mountain Revue.

James Gist

Gist didn’t play too much in the first game but he made his presence felt. Tonight, he scored 14 points and had 11 rebounds. He’s looking very strong, athletic and won’t shy away from contact. I realize it’s early, but I think Gist might have a good chance to make the Spurs opening day roster. We’ll have more on Gist in the next episode of the Spurscast coming this Friday. I’ll be talking to someone that has had a chance to follow Gist’s college career at Maryland.

Anthony Tolliver

Tolliver has been impressive, and perhaps more important, consistent. The 6-8 forward is averaging 13.5 points per game in under 25 minutes and he’s been shooting lights out, 64 percent from the field and 62 percent on threes. Keep an eye on Tolliver and Devin Green. They are both showing they want training camp spots.
Other than that, I’ve been disappointed with the play of Ian Mahinmi and Malik Hairston. With Ian playing a full year of D-League and learning the Spurs system, I thought he might be dominating. While he has put up some decent numbers, 14 and 8 doesn’t cut it. If he got that for the Spurs, I’d be ecstatic, but in summer league, I expected to see more. Hairston really hasn’t shown up yet. I expected more out of him as well, since several people said he could probably play in the NBA this year. In Monday night’s game, he put up a goose egg and only had six points tonight. He really hasn’t shined or shown me anything, but luckily, as I said earlier, it’s still early.
Keep in mind these are only my thoughts after two summer league games. After two summer league games, Derrick Rose looked terrible and O.J. Mayo still does, and there are plenty of games to be played in Vegas and at the Rocky Mountain Review.

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.

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