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December 21, 2014

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NBA Day 10: And the winners are …

It's a wrap, the fifth installment of the the NBA Summer League in Sin City ended Sunday night after Houston defeated Sacramento in the 53rd and final game. Twenty-one teams took part in the 10-day, two-gym session. There was no official all-Summer League teams announced, but here's the Las Vegas Sun's take for players deserving to be on the top team and also a run-down of the good and not-so-great performances.

First Team

SG - Jerryd Bayless - Portland Trailblazers (... also MVP)

The Vitals: 4 games, 29.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 48.5 FG%

In four games, Bayless set the new offensive benchmark for all future players in the Vegas summer league. In the league's five-year run, no one has carried a higher scoring average over multiple games in one summer than the 11th overall pick in last month's draft. Bayless' 29.8 points per game were highlighted by a 36-point explosion Saturday in a 74-73 win over Phoenix. In that game, his final appearance of the weekend, he scored the Blazers' last seven points and hit 13 of his final 18 shot attempts. Bayless AND Greg Oden figuring into the mix this year? Yeah, a return to the playoffs in Rip City seems all but given.

PG - Ramon Sessions - Milwaukee Bucks

The Vitals: 3 games, 15.3 ppg, 7.3 apg, 5.3 apg

The Bucks rested the former Nevada-Reno standout in their games Friday and Saturday, mostly because the second-year guard had done more than enough to prove himself already. He began the process this week of proving that his finish to the 2007-08 season following a D-League call-up was no fluke. In the final seven games last season, he averaged 11.7 assists per game. He was just as in control this weekend, even coming brutally close to a triple-double in his final showing (13 points, nine assists, eight rebounds in Thursday's win over Denver).

SF - Anthony Randolph - Golden State Warriors

The Vitals: 20.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 45.2 FT%, 84.4 FT%

Randolph wound up missing one of the Warriors' five games with a bum ankle, but had incredible bookend games which left impressions. In the opener against Philadelphia - a 96-89 win - he had 30 points and eight rebounds. Saturday in a victory over Toronto, Randolph was aggressive on offense, and notched a double-double with 26 points and 12 rebounds. His point of pride for the week, though, was his free throw shooting. His assertiveness with the ball got him to the stripe for 32 attempts, and he converted 84.4 percent of them. That was quite the bump from his one year at LSU, where he shot 69.3 percent at the line.

PF - Kevin Love - Minnesota Timberwolves

The Vitals: 18.0 ppg, 13.5 rpg, 1.8 apg, 48.2 FG%

The fabled outlet passing was certainly on display this week from the rookie out of UCLA, and Love had several opportunities to brandish it, leading the summer league with 13.5 rpg. He had double-doubles in his first three games, and it would have been four had he not left Saturday's game early with a sore achilles (finished with 10 points and nine boards in 18 minutes. It's almost scary to imagine what he'll do alongside Al Jefferson this season.

C - J.J. Hickson - Cleveland Cavaliers

The Vitals: 19.4 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 53.4 FG%

Hickson's impressive numbers went mostly unnoticed this week, as he played on the summer league's only winless team. That certainly wasn't the 19-year-old NC State product's fault, though. The Cleveland first-rounder's week was highlighted by a 26-point, nine-rebound performance to start things off in a three-point loss to the Knicks last Monday. His numbers could have been even more impressive had it not been for a 50 percent (19-of-38) showing at the free throw line.

6th - Alando Tucker - Phoenix Suns

The Vitals: 21.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 57.1 FG%

Tucker, as any former first-rounder playing in his second summer league should, scored with relative ease for much of the week. What stood out, on top of his advanced skill level and offensive IQ, was his efficiency, hitting on 57.1 percent of his shots.

Second Team

SG - Quincy Douby - Sacramento Kings

The Vitals: 22.3 ppg, 2.8 spg, 48.3 FG%

Even though the rest of his stat line was a little light, Douby's knack for filling the bucket was hard to ignore much of the week, including his 36 points Friday against Golden State.

PG - C.J. Watson - Golden State Warriors

The Vitals: 18.8 ppg, 4.8 apg, 3.5 rpg

The Gorman grad proved to be one of the summer league's more pleasant surprises. He played smart in working his way towards the hoop and taking contact to get to the line. His week was cut short by a thigh bruise, but his chances for making the Warriors' active roster again are looking pretty decent.

SF - Donte Greene - Houston Rockets

The Vitals: 22.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 86.2 FT%

Greene started his week with a bang by scoring 40 points in Houston's first game, and even wound up as the league's second-leading scorer. But his shooting struggles the rest of the week kept him from the first team. Sorry, rook. A 9-for-16 shooting performance Sunday pushed his percentage for the week back over 40 percent - a nice save of sorts.

PF - Marreese Speights - Philadelphia 76ers

The Vitals: 18.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 2.2 bpg, 48.6 FG%

Speights proved he'll bring more than just a championship pedigree from Gainesville to Philadelphia, and his 18.2 ppg were filled with several highlight dunks.

C - Andray Blatche - Washington Wizards

The Vitals: 17.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.4 apg

As one of the more well-known vets on any summer league roster, Blatche dominated as he should. Though, a third-year guy with through-the-roof potential still playing in the summer league? He needs to shed that reputation come October.

6th - O.J. Mayo - Memphis Grizzlies

The Vitals: 18.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.6 apg

Mayo was weighed down a bit by his 40.7 field goal percentage, but his star power was backed up sufficiently with his production. He also hit a 70-footer. And so the legend grows.

Honorable Mention

D.J. Augustin - Charlotte Bobcats, Thaddeus Young - Philadelphia 76ers, Joey Graham - Toronto Raptors, Arron Afflalo - Detroit Pistons, D.J. Strawberry - Phoenix Suns, Marco Belinelli - Golden State Warriors, Wilson Chandler - New York Knicks, Aaron Brooks - Houston Rockets, Bobby Brown - New Orleans Hornets, Jason Thompson - Sacramento Kings, Spencer Hawes - Sacramento Kings, Dahntay Jones - Denver Nuggets, Eric Gordon - LA Clippers, Coby Karl - LA Lakers.

Coulda used another week ...

Joe Alexander - Milwaukee Bucks

He shot just 34.6 percent from the floor and scored 9.2 ppg. He showed some freakish hops and made a couple impressive swats, but his offensive game needs some work. So much for a quick fix in brew town.

Nate Robinson - New York Knicks

Last year's summer league MVP, well, we're not really sure why the Knicks sent him to play in Vegas. He looked at times like he mailed it in, too, averaging just 9.5 ppg on 12.5 percent shooting in two games played.

George Hill - San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs' first-round pick out of IUPUI will be under heavier scrutiny than most fellow first-rounders this season, given some of the names he was taken ahead of. He got off to a decent start in three games, but finished his week with averages of 8.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg and 3.0 apg. Despite the OK line, he was just 2-of-25 from the floor. He's transitioning slowly to the point guard spot, but he might want to bring more of his two-guard roots with him. Not be a horrible idea, right?

Davon Jefferson - LA Lakers

Averaged just 8.0 ppg and 2.5 rpg in limited run during two games for the Lakers. Many questioned his decision to leave Southern Cal after just a year, and this week did nothing to really dispute that for the undrafted free agent.

Joey Dorsey - Houston Rockets

He averaged 15 points and 13.5 rebounds in his two games played, but Dorsey soured the whole experience on Saturday while sitting out with an ankle sprain. He talked a little too much junk on the Wizards after a hard foul, was ejected and charged with a technical, and Washington ultimately won it in overtime. It's just summer league, dude. Simmer.

Most Exciting Team

Golden State

The Warriors combination of their last two first-round draft picks, Randolph and Belinelli, keyed a summer league squad which played much like the Don Nelson-led regular season group - free, easy and pretty much without structure. Anthony Morrow, Mykal Riley and Brandan Wright each had their moments, too, as Golden State finished in a three-way tie atop the standings at 4-1. Also fun to watch: Phoenix, Houston

Least Exciting Team

Cleveland

The record, 0-5, kinda says it all. The post play of Hickson was fun to watch, but there wasn't a whole lot outside of that. Surely that'll be different come October when LeBron gets his turn to play alongside the first-rounder. Also kinda plain: San Antonio, LA Lakers

Best Performance

Donte Greene - Houston Rockets

The rookie out of Syracuse was three points away from a Summer League record when he went for 40 points in Houston's opening-day win over Phoenix. Greene was 12-of-20 from the field, connecting on 5-of-10 from three-point range and hit 11 of his 12 free throws. He added three rebounds, three assists, two steals and no turnovers in 36 minutes.

Worst Performance

Julian Wright - Charlotte Hornets

Wright's time in Vegas wasn't the prettiest, but the second-year player out of Kansas really struggled in the Hornets' opening loss to Memphis. Wright nearly had as many turnovers (11) as points 12. He was 4-of-17 from the field and was all over the place in his 32 minutes of action. Despite the sloppiness, the Cox Pavilion crowd was treated to several highlight-reel plays from Wright throughout the week.

Best Dunk

O.J. Mayo - Memphis Grizzlies

Memphis’ highly-regarded rookie took a steal the length of the court and threw down a thunderous one-handed dunk all over New Orleans’ 6-foot-11 Hilton Armstrong, signaling his entry into the NBA Summer League during the session's first day.

Best Shot

O.J. Mayo - Memphis Grizzlies

Mayo took this category as well thanks to his three-quarter-court heave that ended up in the bottom of the hoop against the San Antonio Spurs.

Best (and only) Jersey Retirement Ceremony

Nate Robinson - New York Knicks

The Summer League veteran (he's played in four of the five years Vegas has hosted the event) had his blue No. 4 jersey retired at halftime of New York game with Minnesota today.

Sadly for the ex-NBA Slam Dunk champion and last year's Summer League MVP the jersey didn't stay up on the Cox Pavilion wall long, as it too was retired by the end of the day.

Best Quote

Patrick Ewing - NBA Hall of Famer

"You know they say the apple don't fall too far from the tree," said a smiling Ewing, as he rubbed the side of his face when a friend commented on how handsome Ewing's son, Patrick Ewing Jr., was. "You can see that."

Sun reporter Andy Samuelson contributed to this story.

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