Quick Lessons Learned from the 2014 #NBASummerLeague

by Matthew Stollak on Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I'm back from the now annual trip to the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas with most of the 8 Man Rotation (Steve Boese, Kris Dunn, Lance Haun).  The trip was filled with good food, conversation, music (in the form of Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails in concert) and, of course, basketball.  So, what can be gleaned from a 3 day trip watching exhibition basketball?  You can read Steve's take here and Kris' take here.   Here's mine:

"You'll be pleased" is the new "Fine."
Over burgers at Bobby Flay's Burger Palace, discussion turned to reference checks and performance reviews.  A little less than two years ago, K.D. wrote that "neutral is the new negative," meaning that if the person giving the reference is only sharing basic info, the candidate is not likely to be a star at your organization.  Further, like "awesome," "fine" has become overused and lost any authenticity when it comes to praise.  If a person says an applicant or performer is "fine," are you buying that he or she is of quality?  So, what did the group settle on as an authentic phrase of praise?  "You'll be pleased."  For example, to Atlanta Hawks superfan K.D., "You'll be pleased with 1st round draft pick from Michigan State, Adriean Payne."   

EVERYONE is looking to make an impression
Not only are players looking to become one of the chosen 450 to make an NBA roster, coaches are trying to move up the ranks, and refs are trying to make the big show.  But, even behind the scenes, moves are trying to be made.  You have the overenthusiastic announcer trying to show off his chops, "Dennis Horner from the Corner!" 
"P.J. Hairston with the flush!"  You also had the singer of the national anthem.  Who was he?  Not sure?  Did he do a competent job?  Yes.  Was he paid?  Probably not.  But, like the HR blogger being told that writing on a blog will give him/her valuable "exposure," I'm positive someone somewhere gave the singer advice that such a performance will lead to gigs down the road.

EVERYONE thinks they know talent
Rodney Hood, formerly of Duke, and now part of the Utah Jazz...not a fan.  Here's his stats for the 5 summer league games he played:

Game 1: 3-of-13 from the floor, 1-of-10 from 3, nine points
Game 2: 11-of-16 from the floor, 7-of-10 from 3, 29 points
Game 3: 1-of-9 from the floor, 0-of-2 from 3, three points
Game 4: 7-of-11 from the floor, 1-of-3 from 3, 19 points
Game 5: 2-of-8 from the floor, 1-of-3 from 3, seven points 

Needless to say, I pointed out his shortcomings rather loudly during his mediocre game 5 performance.  Who took exception?  The trio of 10-year-old boys in front of me who knew he was the best player on the court.

If the three takes regarding the 2014 Summer League are not enough, feel free to listen to the 27-minute HR Happy Hour podcast summing up the weekend here 

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