The Kings 2010 Las Vegas Summer League roster was sort of announced. My good friend and yours, Marty Mac, dropped the names of the players on the team today on his new blog. Jason Jones later confirmed those players for The Sacramento Bee.
Here is the roster:
Guards: Devan Downey, Dionte Christmas, Sylven Landesberg, Tyrese Rice, Donald Sloan and Ryan Thompson (Yes, JT’s brother)
Forwards: Omri Casspi, Donté Greene, Wayne Chism, Lee Cummard, Jasol Ellis and Tyren Johnson
Centers: DeMarcus Cousins, Hassan Whiteside, Connor Atchley and Steven Hill
Overall, that’s 16 players. You probably noticed that Tyreke Evans and Jason Thompson won’t be playing. By now, Jason Thompson has earned the prestige of not having to play on the Kings’ summer league team. This was not a rite afforded to Spencer Hawes last season but JT has progressed far more in his two years than Spencer did in his first two seasons. Tyreke Evans will be training with Team USA and frankly, showed in his rookie year that he’s far beyond any summer league basketball.
Of the Kings regular rotation guys, they’ll have four players (Omri, Donté, DeMarcus, and Hassan) running in Vegas. Last year, we got a glimpse into just how special the Kings top pick could be when Tyreke bullied his way to the basket against guys like Brandon Jennings, Toney Douglas and whoever else was unfortunate enough to have to guard the Rookie of the Year bulldozer. Now, we’ll all get a chance to see DeMarcus Cousins and Hassan Whiteside make their sort-of professional debuts.
But outside of the Kings contractual regulars, getting to know the rest of the team seems like a good idea. The Kings have anywhere from three to five roster spots to fill and with the plans to hold off on the free agency frenzy, any one of these guys could play well this summer, get invited to training camp and work his way onto the regular season roster. So here’s a little breakdown of each player and what he could bring to the table.
Sylven Landesberg | SG | 6’6” 207lbs | Virginia
Did you look at that video? Who did that remind you of? It was sort of eerie how much these highlights reminded me of Tyreke. I’m not saying he’s nearly as good as Reke but the way he attacked the basket, used his body, stayed under control and finished plays was very reminiscent of the 2010 Rookie of the Year. Landesberg is a very good attacking guard. He puts a lot of pressure on the defense by finding his way to the basket. He rebounds well, converts at the line and is extremely strong with the ball. His biggest drawback is that he’s not a good shooter from outside. Even though he improved his freshman 3-point shooting of 31% to a sophomore mark of 38%, the guy struggles to find his stroke from outside. At the pre-draft combine, he made just 15/25 college threes, 11/25 NBA threes and 18/24 mid-range jumpers off the dribble.
Likelihood to make the Kings: I think it’s very high. If I had to pick one guy from this group to earn himself a contract with the Kings, it would be Sylven. Even though the Kings need shooters more than anything on the perimeter, they probably won’t be able to pass up on a guy that gets to the basket so easily. A strong performance from Sylven (and with the way he plays, I expect nothing less) probably earns him a lot of points with Geoff Petrie.
Dionte Christmas | SG | 6’5” 205 lbs | Temple
Dionte Christmas is another guard with high-scoring abilities. At Temple, he filled up the buckets with a barrage of scoring. His jumper is a little funky with a slight hitch in it in the style of Michael Redd and he has this weird tendency to move his right leg forward when he shoots off the dribble. But the shots usually find the bottom of the net so maybe that won’t matter. He’s also a pretty good defender. He can get pushed around a little bit but his instincts and footwork are pretty good. Where he’s lacking is his ability to get to the basket off the dribble. His ball handling is that great and he’s not a very good athlete considering the position he plays. Part of the reason he didn’t make a team last year is it’s hard to stand out as a guy teams have to have when you’re lacking athletically.
Likelihood to make the Kings: He’s another guy that could make this team if he shoots the lights out. He definitely has NBA range and he can make it from both the spot-up and off-the-dribble situations. And since the Kings already have a couple of truly versatile guards, they may just be looking to add cheap shooters this off-season as they head towards next summer.
Wayne Chism | PF | 6’9” 246 lbs | Tennessee
Chism is a guy that uses his quickness to catch players off guard inside. He’s not particularly athletic and since he’s around 6’9” he’s not exactly towering over the competition at the next level. So he has to use his quickness and reach (7’0”) to make plays on both ends of the floor. He doesn’t mind shooting the three when given the chance but that doesn’t mean you want him to shoot it (32% in college). What works for Chism is the fact that he rarely quits on plays and you don’t really expect him to do as much as he does. He has good strength inside to go with that reach.
Likelihood of making the Kings: I would say he almost has no chance. The Kings frontcourt is especially loaded after the draft and Chism doesn’t seem to be dynamic enough to get noticed in a way that would make Geoff Petrie want to add him to the roster. Maybe if he works hard, he’ll get a training camp invite.
Connor Atchley | PF/C | 6’10” 225 lbs | Texas
Atchley is not a guy who is high on the center prospects list for many teams. He has good height and length to play inside but he’s a little light on strength. He played in the D-League last season with the Iowa Energy and the Dakota Wizards and really wasn’t that bad. His Per-40 minute averages of 16.1 points and 9.5 rebounds are very respectable. He gets pushed around on defense a little because of his lack of strength and he has a difficult time scoring with his back to the basket because of the same reason. But he’s decent enough to carve out a minor career for himself.
Likelihood to make the Kings: I’d say it’s an improbable feat for Atchley to make this Kings team. He just isn’t the type of player that stands out and even if he did in the summer league, the Kings really have no use for him.
Lee Cummard | G/F | 6’7” 190 lbs | BYU
Here are the things I can tell you about Lee Cummard. He has a child. His old AIM handle was “leesalty.” He can flat-out shoot the rock. At BYU, he never shot under 51.7% from the field, made 85% or more of his free throws in two of his three years and shot well over 40% from three in his three-year career. Give him daylight and he’ll bury you with a long-range shot. He’s an okay athlete but might get abused physically at the next level. He mostly a spot-up shooter and probably can’t create his shot in the NBA.
Likelihood to make the Kings: I’d say it’s not going to happen. Even though the Kings need outside shooting, Cummard probably isn’t a gifted enough athlete to justify bringing him aboard. If he was able to handle himself a little better athletically on defense, his ability to shoot the ball would make him a strong candidate for at least a D-League affiliate. But he has a lot to improve on if he wants to play professional basketball in the United States.
Devan Downey | PG | 5’9” 170 lbs | South Carolina
You may remember Devan Downey from the time he lit up the Kentucky Wildcats and upset them in the SEC. Downey destroyed first round picks like Eric Bledsoe and the number one overall prize of the 2010 draft, John Wall. Downey is really small for an NBA point guard but he also might just be one of those guys that plays to the level of his competition and finds a way to get things done. He’s a pretty good scorer in a variety of ways. The problem with him wanting to play at the next level could be the fact that he’s much more of a scorer than a point guard and there isn’t a huge market for 5’9” shooting guards. Regardless, he should be a fun watch this summer.
Likelihood to make the Kings: It probably isn’t likely because there are better and bigger point guards out there. But if Downey can prove he’s adept at running a team then maybe he can earn himself a training camp invite and another chance to prove himself.
Ryan Thompson | SG | 6’6” 220 lbs | Rider
(WARNING: NSFW Audio Track)
Ryan Thompson is actually a lot more than just JT’s little brother. RT (not Regional Transit) can play and is a really good outside shooter. Even though he struggled with his shot in his senior year, he shot over 42% from three in both his sophomore and junior season. The nice thing about Ryan though is he’s not just a guy that settles for the jumper. He attacks the basket quite a bit and shows a well-rounded offensive repertoire. His biggest drawback has been his ability to get quality scoring opportunities when defenders overplay his right hand. His defense is okay but with better shape, his lateral quickness could greatly improve.
Likelihood to make the Kings: I actually think if he can prove he’s an NBA three-point shooter then he has a great chance at making training camp with the Kings. A lot of people will claim it’s because of his namesake but that will just be an ignorant assessment. Ryan has the potential to be a teammate/opponent of his brother someday.
Tyrese Rice | PG | 6’1” 190 lbs | Boston College
Rice reminds me a lot of Darrick Martin in the way he attacks offensively. Their jumpers are even kind of similar. Rice has a lot of moves and does a great job of scoring the basketball. His game oozes streetball and I don’t mean that as a knock. He just seems to have a certain flair to everything he does on the court. The problem though is he’s not a very exceptional athlete and he’s pretty small compared to most athletic point guards in the league. He needs to prove he can run a team because most of his teammates at the next level will be able to handle the scoring load.
Likelihood to make the Kings: Not very high. Yes, the Kings could use another guard on the roster but if they take on a third point guard, this guy is going to have to be able to defend and distribute. Rice seems much more like a scoring guard first.
Steven Hill | C | 7’0” 245 lbs | Arkansas
Steven Hill is a lot more agile and athletic than the hair and headband let on. He has explosive leaping ability for a guy his size and great length to go with it. He can score with his back to the basket and had a brief stint with the Thunder in 2009. Hill didn’t show a great ability to rebound but he’s improved that over the last two years in the D-League. He’s a very solid defender that challenges shots well.
Likelihood to make the Kings: Again, the froncourt is very stacked but that doesn’t mean he can’t play in the NBA. He just needs to go to a team that has more of a need for size.
Jason Ellis | SF | 6’7” 200 lbs | Boise State
I’ll be honest: I’ve never heard of this guy. And there isn’t a lot of information on the internet for him. His biggest accomplishment might be having the same name as a professional skateboarder. He rebounded well in his four years at Boise State with a career average of 7.9 in 27 minutes per game. At this point, it definitely seems like I’m just filling space here so I’ll move on.
Likelihood to make the Kings: I just don’t know who this guy is. Maybe he can make the team but I’ve never seen him play. I will say that there isn’t a single guy that has made the Kings in the last 10 years that I haven’t seen play before they signed. That doesn’t bode well for Jason Ellis.
Donald Sloan | G | 6’3” 205 lbs | Texas A&M
Donald Sloan became a fairly high-volume scorer (17.8 ppg) in his last year as an Aggie but it also might be because he took nearly 13 shots per game. Sloan isn’t much of a playmaker in terms of guard play but he’s a very electric athlete. His outside shooting has been pretty suspect in his college career and his defense leaves something to be desired. But he should be good for a highlight or two this summer.
Likelihood to make the Kings: Kings need shooters at the shooting guard position and Sloan doesn’t really fit that bill. Also, he’s very undersized at 6’3” and that’s going to automatically turn teams away unless he plays at an unreal level for him. He will not make this Kings team but I expect him to be entertaining for the crowd.
Tyren Johnson | SF | 6’8” 204 lbs | Louisiana-Lafayette
No joke, this is the only “highlight” video I could find for him. I don’t know if that says more about his playing career or beat-making abilities. Tyren is a decent-enough athlete who probably won’t be able to play the 3 or the 4 but will have to find a way. He has three-point range but I would advise against him shooting that shot. He showed good rebounding and playmaking ability his senior season. He also turned the ball over a lot. He’s going to either have to get quicker or much stronger to find a position in this league.
Likelihood to make the Kings: Even though the Kings could use another wing player, I think the stigma and reality of Tyren being a tweener for the 3 and 4 inhibit his chances of getting a training camp invite. He can change that by playing his tail off in the six games this summer and performing well in practice. Otherwise, I think he’ll have to stick to the beat laboratory.