Join Danny Marang as he talks the Portland Trail Blazers’ second NBA Summer League Championship in the last four years (have fun, I dare you). The Blazers took down the New York Knicks 85-77 in Sunday’s final to cap off a title run that showed flashes of potential from several of Portland’s up-and-coming talents.
Big man Trendon Watford led the charge, securing an unanimous Summer League Championship game MVP award with 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists and three steals. With Brandon Williams’ contributions (22 points, five assists) and Jabari Walker continuing his stellar debut campaign with 14 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, three steals and two blocks, Portland’s three-headed monster was too much for New York to overcome.
What does any of it mean? While it comes with the very real caveat of, “It’s only Summer League,” there’s still plenty of lessons to be garnered here. The style and flow of each game felt different, while the type of personnel general manager Joe Cronin and his staff are after felt evident during the entire summer run. The talent was bolstered by Summer League coach Steve Hetzel building up a “defense first” mentality that emanates from the top with head coach Chauncey Billups.
Beyond style and personnel theory, the impact of 57th overall pick Jabari Walker appears to be something very real and one of the bigger storylines heading into training camp. Will either he or fellow rookie Shaedon Sharpe shine enough to work themselves into real minutes in the preseason, throwing them into the fire? Or will the Blazers soft-launch both of them, spoon-feeding opportunities to make sure they aren’t overwhelmed?
It’s that and a whole lot more on the latest Jacked Ramsays!