10 things from Raptors-Pelicans (7/7/2017; LV Summer League)

  1. No breaks: … or I have no life: Take your pick. Either way the 10 things and reaction podcasts are back for summer league. The results are completely meaningless but d̶e̶g̶e̶n̶e̶r̶a̶t̶e̶ diehard fans can’t turn away. I’m happy to be back.
  2. Exciting finish: Again, the results don’t matter, but try telling that to the players. The Pelicans took a late five-point lead, but some determined heroics Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam salvaged the win. Feels good, man.
  3. Floor general: Loved what I saw from FVV. He showed his poise and experience, which is exactly what you want from a point guard. FVV pushed the pace for easy offense, created for others in the pick-and-roll, and took matters into his own hands down the stretch by coming up with the driving and-1 layup to clinch the win. FVV’s tenacious mentality really stands out from the usual malaise that characterizes LVSL.
  4. Finals MVP: Siakam’s scoring (24 points; 10–14 FG) was a pleasant surprise. He runs like the wind in transition and FVV kept feeding him, but we saw that last season. What surprised me was the higher-level moves. Siakam made a three, attacked a closeout from the 3-point line for a soft banker, pushed the break and used his dribble to get to the basket, and dropped some post baskets in the fourth.
  5. Power forward solution? I still think we need a stopgap veteran, but Siakam has a golden opportunity to snag the PF spot. The Jonas-Pascal combo doesn’t work since there’s no spacing, but Serge-Pascal makes a lot of sense. Having an active body like Pascal proved to be useful last season until teams figured him out.
  6. Not to be overlooked: Jakob Poeltl is always solid. All of his shots came at the basket as he worked the PnR with FVV for several crafty finishes around the rim. Poeltl also grabbed four offensive rebounds, made some clever passes, and played solid positional defense. He’s a great role player.
  7. Real ones living: Kennedy Meek was serviceable in his 17 minutes off the bench as a backup center. The best comparison for his game is Cristiano Felicio, in that he’s a doughy body with long arms that knocks into everyone in the paint. Meeks is signed to a partially guaranteed deal after winning the NCAA tournament with UNC.
  8. Everyone else is meh: The remainder of the summer league roster is very blah. Alfonzo McKinnie (starting SF) showing some scoring touch was cool and I’m convinced Will Sheehey is just an assistant coach that somehow got some run.
  9. Representation matters: DeMar DeRozan and Norman Powell were in attendance, sitting courtside a few seats apart. They caught up after the game and DeRozan called Powell his rookie despite protestations from the third-year guard. It was cute.
  10. Believe it when I see it: NBA TV reporter Jared Greenberg reported that the Raptors have told DeRozan to shoot more threes and try fewer contested shots. Lmao, sure.