The Trail Blazers captured their third victory of Las Vegas Summer League by holding on to a 95-89 victory over the Spurs today. Rookie second-round pick Gary Trent Jr led the way for Portland with 20 points. Wade Baldwin, Caleb Swanigan, John Jenkins, and Jake Layman joined the talented guard in crossing the double-digit points threshold against San Antonio. Following the victory, the Blazers will head into the tournament portion of summer league undefeated.
Gary Trent Jr Looked Like A First Round Pick
Trent recovered from a subpar shooting performance on Sunday by erupting for 20 points against the Spurs. Portland deployed a watered-down version of coach Terry Stotts’ regular offense, and Trent has proved to be a quick study. The former Duke guard creates space for his shot by moving with purpose around screens without the ball. Complementing his catch-and-shoot game is Trent’s pull-up jump shot. If he can keep the momentum going through the summer, Trent will be a serious threat to capture minutes in Portland’s rotation.
Biggie Still Has Work To Do
Caleb Swanigan filled the stat sheet against the Spurs, but it wasn’t pretty. The former Big Ten Player of the Year looked a step slow on more than one occasion. He was late to close out on a Cory Jefferson three-point shot in the first half, and surrendered a handful of long rebounds to San Antonio’s backcourt players.
Along with foot speed, Swanigan was bothered by Drew Eubanks’ height (6’10). Swanigan couldn’t get his shot to drop inside, which resulted in him having to rely on getting to the free throw line to supplement his scoring.
In Swanigan’s defense, he was at a disadvantage with Zach Collins out of the lineup. Swanigan will most likely be paired with a mobile big man in normal rotations, which will help the big fella play to his strengths.
“Summer League” Jake Strikes Again
Layman was assertive and effective on offense against the Spurs. He shot an impressive 3-4 from beyond the arc, and chipped in 8 rebounds (4 offensive). His versatility was impressive. He looked good at multiple positions, and served as Portland’s biggest player on the floor during one of Swanigan’s stints on the bench.
Like Trent, Layman looks like he could fill a need for the Blazers’ regular season rotation.
Simons Has His Quietest Game
For the first time in Las Vegas, Anfernee Simons failed to score in the double-digits. Portland’s offense wasn’t as smooth in this outing. Due to the up-and-down nature of the game, Simons struggled to replicate the clean catch-and-shoot looks he was benefiting from in Portland’s first two games. Instead of getting the ball in rhythm, the 19-year-old guard was forced to create for himself. Despite displaying adequate pace and control off the dribble, Simons couldn’t get his shot to fall. Simons finished the game with 8 points after going 4-13 from the field.
Odds & Ends
Archie Goodwin had four points in today’s victory, which puts him within 10 points of claiming Coby Karl’s all-time Las Vegas Summer League scoring record.
Former first-round pick John Jenkins continued to look like a player that is poised to claim a regular season roster spot on a NBA team. Jenkins has been dangerous in catch-and-shoot situations, and has done an excellent job of limiting his mistakes. He went 4-5 from the field for 12 points against San Antonio.
The Blazers will return to action later this week after the tournament schedule is released Tuesday evening.
—Steve / @SteveDHoops / BEdgeSteve@gmail.com