Everyone excited about some playoff action?
It's not your typical NBA playoff action obviously, but with a win over the Denver Nuggets Summer League squad on Thursday evening, the Dinos advanced to the next round of the Vegas Summer League playoffs. They face the Phoenix Suns tonight at 6 PM EST in what should be an intriguing match. The Suns haven't lost yet in Vegas and have some NBA-calibre players on their line-up which should pose issues for Toronto tonight.
In fact that's one thing that I've always noticed about Summer League - the best teams in Vegas are usually some of the worst in the NBA's regular season.
It's no shock when you think about it as the talent on your Vegas squad is usually an indictment of the talent on your parent team. If you've tanked of late or are rebuilding in some fashion, you likely have lots of inexperienced blue chip youngsters. This usually translates into Vegas success, but not NBA regular season wins. The Toronto Raptors' Vegas club a few years back with DeMar DeRozan, Sonny Weems, Joey Dorsey and Ed Davis, is a good example of this.
Likewise, the Phoenix Suns' team Toronto is facing tonight sports top draft picks like Kendall Marshall and the Morris twins, Marcus and Markieff, recent All-American Archie Goodwin, top NCAA prospects such as Alex Oriakhi and Arinze Onuaku and even a few vets like former Raptor draft pick, PJ Tucker.
As a result this should be a good challenge for a Toronto team who's starting five has also been very strong, playing their best game so far on Thursday with newly signed point guard Dwight Buycks at the helm.
Of interest, how Jonas Valanciunas fares against more mobile and seasoned players like the Morris twins, (although my bet is that Oriakhi gets the bulk of this defensive assignment) how Buycks fares against the defensively challenged Marshall, and how Terrence Ross plays period. While Ross had a decent scoring game on Thursday, a lot of that came from free-throws and he still struggled shooting the ball and creating for himself off the bounce. A big step forward by Ross this season would go a long ways towards helping Ujiri decide how best to address his glut of wings, but as of now, it's hard to see that happening.