The Houston Rockets handed the Cleveland Cavaliers their first loss of Las Vegas Summer League play tonight in an exciting game that saw several highlight reel players by members of both teams. The Rockets were paced by Isaiah Canaan’s 28 points, which included a dagger three pointer and layup to hold off the Cavs. Houston also received strong contributions from Donatas Motiejunas (21 points, 11 rebounds) and Nick Johnson (14 points, five rebounds, five assists). While it was disappointing to see the end of the Cavaliers’ winning ways, the most important thing was the play of their young prospects, so that’s what we’ll focus on.
Andrew Wiggins set a new Las Vegas Summer League career high with 21 points on just five shots. Going 15 of 20 from the line in addition to 3 of 5 from the floor is incredibly efficient, and Wiggins was definitely making a point to attack the rim and draw fouls if he could. Wiggins also had five rebounds and played very nice defense. On the negative side, Wiggins struggled to put the ball on the floor, and his poor dribbling resulted in a turnover that essentially sealed the game for the Rockets. He also seemed to disappear for stretches despite his solid scoring numbers. Some of this may be due to his poor passing, as he rarely was involved in some of the more complex sets the team ran.
Anthony Bennett seemed to take a trip back to last season during his time on the court. While he did have 11 points, it was on just 4 of 11 shooting. Bennett was also torched by Motiejunas, as the Houston big man scored at will on him. There is little doubt that Bennett will improve upon his terrible rookie season, but he still has a long way to go.
Second round picks Joe Harris and Carrick Felix both played well Thursday night. Harris had 10 points and was 2 of 2 from deep. Felix had seven points and seven rebounds in just over 17 minutes of action and looked like a solid energy player off the bench. Fellow second round pick Dwight Powell had a much more difficult night, as he finished with no points and two rebounds in just over seven minutes of action.
There was no doubt the Cavaliers missed Matthew Dellavedova’s leadership on the floor tonight. Fellow point guard Will Cherry was effective in scoring 21 points to tie Wiggins for the team lead, but he had neither the floor leadership nor defensive capabilities to lead the team the way Dellavedova does.
While most of Cavs fandom may have focused on potential Wiggins for Kevin Love trades instead of the team’s final Las Vegas Summer League game, the current future of the Cavaliers showed some real promise. It will be interesting to see what happens to these players if and when the Cavaliers make another change to the roster.