3 studs, 2 duds from Cavaliers Summer League win over Rockets

Cleveland Cavaliers Summer League Team. Photo by Louis Grasse/Getty Images
Cleveland Cavaliers Summer League Team. Photo by Louis Grasse/Getty Images /
4 of 6
Cleveland Cavaliers
Sam Merrill, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Lauren Leigh Bacho/Getty Images /

Stud No. 2: Sam Merrill

Sam Merrill played just five games in Las Vegas Summer League, not the maximum six, and yet he still set volume records for his shooting. He hit 25 total 3-pointers, shooting 44.6 percent from deep on a combination of smooth spot-ups and gutsy pull-up jumpers, using his one-dribble sidestep 3-pointer to lethal effect in the title game.

Fresh off making the All-Summer League First Team earlier on Monday, Merrill came out firing against the Houston Rockets. He scored 27 points on a whopping 6-for-12 from long-range. His gravity was tremendous whether or not he had the ball, opening up space inside for his teammates.

For the game, Merrill was a game-best +25, one of the best individual numbers in any game for any player in Las Vegas this year. He was cool and in command of the offense, and head coach Mike Gerrity’s offensive system was built around his two-man game with Isaiah Mobley.

The former Utah State star was even mixing it up on defense, taking a (somewhat questionable) charge and not being completely roasted as he was at times in the semifinal game against the Brooklyn Nets. Merrill would have been a worthy recipient of the MVP and he was a major reason the Cavs won the championship. He almost certainly secured his spot on the Cavs’ roster for next season.