Summer League has come and gone and for the Wizards it's fair to say it went about as well as anyone could have hoped.
The talk coming into the week was to let last year's draft class, Otto Porter and Glen Rice, Jr., show what they could do as the go-to guys on the court.
Expectations may have been high entering the week, but the two exceeded even the highest of expectations. Rice would go on to lead the Summer League in scoring, averaging 25.0 ppg - 7.8 rpg, 2.3 apg, 2.5 spg and took home the
Samsung Summer League MVP
, while Porter would average 19.0 ppg - 5.8 rpg and be named All-NBA Summer League First Team.
But it wasn't just the numbers they were putting up, it was the style and effectiveness they had on the court. Often times, they looked like the two best players on the floor and were playmakers in the truest sense. They did everything in the flow of the offense, not just jacking up shots to put up numbers. After five games, both were shooting over 50%, and for guys shooting as many perimeter shots as they were, that's an impressive stat. They each struggled to shoot the ball in the final game, but there may have been a bit of fatigue that played a role in that as they had to endure a 3OT game the night before.
Rice was scoring in all kinds of ways. Inside, outside, and most notably at the free-throw line. Rice went to the line 70 times! 70 free-throws in six games is an impressive feat and just goes to show how aggressive he was. He also made 13 3-pointers, including six against the Wolves last Sunday. He was a menace on defense, averaging 2.5 steals per game and applying ball pressure out on the perimeter. He rebounded the ball, passed the ball well, and his MVP moment came at the end of the second overtime in Saturday's game against the Kings when he tied the game with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
Porter entered Summer League looking to prove himself. Rice was a second round pick and didn't carry the same pressure as the #3 overall pick from the 2013 draft. Porter injured himself in the second game of Summer League last year and really didn't get a chance to showcase his skills. Then he was injured throughout camp, preseason, and for the first few months of the season, which really put him behind the eight ball. He never could get regular minutes in the rotation as a rookie, more due to the fact that he was playing behind quality players in Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster. So this summer, Porter finally got his chance to shine. He was ultra aggressive, constantly looking for his shot and taking control on the offensive end, making the midrange game look easy. He shot off screens, created his own shot, got to the hole, hit perimeter shots, and played solid defense as he helped the Wizards to a 5-1 record.
Both saw limited action for the Wizards last season, as Porter dealt with injuries for the first half of the season and Rice went up and down from the D-League. The way the two played out in Vegas, both have put themselves in the mix for playing time next season. With Trevor Ariza having departed, Martell Webster rehabbing from a back injury, and veteran Paul Pierce likely to have some type of restrictions on minutes/games played, there could be an opportunity for both of these guys to see action. If they play anything like they did in Vegas, the Wizards will have two dependable role players in 2014-15 and some great young assets.