The Trail Blazers defeated the Lakers 91-73 to capture the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League Title. Led by a strong performance from rookie Gary Trent Jr, Portland held a comfortable double-digit lead for the majority of the night. After claiming Summer League Most Valuable Player honors, Los Angeles’ Josh Hart connected on just 3 of his 12 shots from the field. With the victory, the Blazers managed to escape Las Vegas undefeated.
Before we pop the champagne, let’s take a look at tonight’s meaningful performances.
Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr. capped off a successful stint in Las Vegas by showcasing NBA-level skills on both ends of the court. Simons scored in a variety of ways, and did well in lineups that featured him as the primary ball handler. A gorgeous step-back three-pointer served as the rookie’s most impressive moment of the championship game. Simons looked prepared and patient in the Blazers’ offense throughout the contest.
Trent saved his best for last. The second-round pick from Duke impacted the game on both offense and defense. He is at his best when getting looks in catch-and-shoot situations, but Trent also proved he is a threat in transition. By staying active on the defensive end, the 19-year-old guard nabbed two steals. The Blazers have plenty of film to watch of Trent at small forward against the Lakers, and they should like what they see.
Wade Bounces Back, Zach Doesn’t
After a disastrous game against his former team, Wade Baldwin put together a solid outing against Los Angeles. Baldwin had six assists and committed only two turnovers. The only negative aspect of his performance came at the free throw line, where he converted two of his six attempts. It wasn’t Baldwin’s best summer league performance, but it was significantly better than his game against the Grizzlies.
Zach Collins struggled with foul trouble, and couldn’t get his offense going in the paint. Veteran big man Jeff Ayers was a handful for Collins, which isn’t good news for the Blazers’ post rotation heading into training camp. Collins’ only points came from beyond the arc, and he recorded just one rebound.
Jake Layman capped off his third summer league stint by making the most of his opportunities. The former second-round pick moved well without the ball, finished at the rim, and knocked down catch-and-shoot jumpers. Layman’s success wasn’t limited to the offensive end, as he did a superb job of shutting down the hot-shooting Svi Mykhailiuk.
With Collins in foul trouble, Layman once again looked good at the power forward position. He has all the tools to become a stretch four, which could strengthen his chances of earning meaningful minutes in the regular season.
John Jenkins, KJ McDaniels, and Archie Goodwin played significant roles in Portland’s run to the Las Vegas Summer League Title. The value of a summer league title is debatable, but the extended run that the Blazers’ youngsters received does count for something. The experience gained by Simons and Trent could pay serious dividends down the road, and Portland should be grateful to the cast of veterans that played unselfishly in Las Vegas.
It might not be with the Blazers, but each one of the players mentioned above proved they are worthy of another shot in the NBA.
—Steve / @SteveDHoops / BEdgeSteve@gmail.com