Tar Heels in the NBA: Summer League Update


The NBA Summer League is a great opportunity for young players to showcase their abilities against some of the top young competition in the league. Many former Tar Heels are playing in the league this year, trying to work on their game and impress coaches and scouts. Here is a look at how some former Tar Heels are playing so far in the Summer League.

Reggie Bullock has a lot to prove this week to his new team and new Head Coach Doc Rivers, and so far Bullock has shown he is a NBA caliber winger. Bullock averaged 16 points and four boards in his first three summer league games, mostly off of jump shots. If he can prove to Coach Rivers in the Summer League that he is a three point threat, he will be able to find minutes for himself in the big leagues.

April 17, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Kendall Marshall (12) drives to the basket past Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson (left) during the second half at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won 118-98. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Kendall Marshall struggled in his first game with just five points in 18 minutes. Even though the Suns are still setting their rotation and everyone on the team played similar minutes, Marshall needs to play more and score more in the Summer League just to keep his job. As of right now, Phoenix has two proven PGs on the NBA roster in Eric Bledsoe and Gorgin Dragic. If Marshall can’t prove he can knock down an open jumper or distribute the basketball at an NBA level this summer, he could find himself on the bench or on another team via trade by mid-season.

John Henson impressed a lot of people in his first Summer League game, scoring 19 points and 13 boards in just 20 minutes for Milwaukee. He went 7-10 from the field, only missing one shot in the paint. The Bucks do have some what of a log jam down low, but if Henson plays well he will force his way onto the court or find himself on another team that needs a young and talented power forward.

Things are not looking good for Dexter Strickland so far in the Summer League. In the Trailblazer’s second game, Strickland only played 6 minutes and scored two points. He has to play well this summer to try and find a spot on the Trailblazers roster for the NBA season, otherwise he could find himself in the D-League or even looking for a team in Europe. Dexter could find a niche in the league as a backup guard, but he needs minutes and shots to prove himself.

Tyler Zeller is another former Tar Heel who has played well this summer. For the Clevland Summer League team, Tyler has averaged over 13 points and nine boards in his first three games. Clevland has multiple options in the post, but current Cavs Anderson Varejao, Anthony Bennett, and Andrew Bynum will all be returning from injuries next season. If any of those big men find themselves injured again this season, Zeller should be ready to step in and contribute. Zeller should keep up the good work in the summer.

Ed Davis has an interesting story pertaining to why he is not playing in the Summer League this year. He is older than most Summer League participants, but former Grizzlies Head Coach Lionel Hollins asked Davis to play in the summer. However, once Hollins was fired, Davis claimed he would not listen to a head coach without a job, and did not choose to play for the Grizzlies this summer. Davis could have used the extra work this summer for his new team, so it is disappointing to see him pass on the opportunity of a lot of shots and minutes in the Summer League.