Breaking down the Bucks’ summer-league stint in Las Vegas
Strictly speaking from a wins and losses standpoint, the Milwaukee Bucks had little to show for their recent stay in Las Vegas. The Bucks went 1-5 in summer-league play, averaging just 83.8 points per game in the process.
Of course, NBA summer-league action isn’t about wins and losses. It’s about recent draft picks finding their footing in the NBA, and franchises perhaps unearthing the rare diamond in the rough.
In that respect, the Bucks may have discovered an asset or two. With that in mind, let’s delve deeper into the Bucks’ summer-league results.
Most valuable player: Sean Kilpatrick
Kilpatrick, 25, had a wild 2014-15 regular-season, toiling in locales like Delaware and Santa Cruz in the NBA D-League before getting an unexpected cup of coffee with the Minnesota Timberwolves. There’s a decent chance Kilpatrick, a 6-foot-4 University of Cincinnati product, won’t make the Bucks’ regular-season roster.
Regardless, Kilpatrick impressed in Las Vegas.
The guard led Milwaukee in scoring, averaging 18.2 points per contest, and shot 45.7 percent from 3-point territory. Kilpatrick scored in double figures in every summer-league game, highlighted by his 26-point performance in a 97-93 win over Houston on July 15. He also protected the ball respectably, averaging 1.67 turnovers per contest.
Most surprising player: Kevin Jones
Jones has been a steady, night-in, night-out producer dating back to his time at West Virginia, where he played in a whopping 139 career games, typically logging heavy minutes. And Jones, a 6-8, 251-pound forward, looked like his old, reliable self in Las Vegas.
Jones started all six of the Bucks’ contests in the desert, averaging 13.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. He shot 52.2 percent from the field, and had four games of 15 or more points, including a 20-point, nine-rebound effort in the aforementioned win over Houston. Jones also had five summer-league games with six or more rebounds.
Underdog worth watching: Jorge Gutierrez
Gutierrez, a 26-year-old guard, has toured the basketball map as a pro, toiling in his native Mexico as recently as 2012 before spending time in the D-League and on 10-day NBA contracts with both the Nets and Bucks. He seemed to play with the requisite sense of urgency in Las Vegas.
Gutierrez was a willing distributor in summer-league play, averaging 6.2 assists per game to go along with his 6.5 points. He also shot 42.9 percent from beyond the arc and averaged 2.7 steals per contest. Gutierrez, who also led the Bucks’ summer-league outfit in turnovers (4.2 per game), seems likely to see at least a little time in Milwaukee in 2015-16.
Best flash of potential: Rashad Vaughn
If your eyes immediately scrolled down to find Vaughn in this article, it’s understandable. Vaughn, the 17th overall pick in last month’s NBA Draft, simply caught everyone’s eyes with his play in Las Vegas. The rookie shooting guard wasn’t flawless during summer-league action — he shot 25 percent from 3-point territory, for one thing — but, overall, he largely held his own.
Vaughn, a native of New Hope, Minn., averaged 17.2 points per game and 3.2 rebounds while in Las Vegas. He played an average of 29.7 minutes per game, and scored in double figures in each summer-league outing, including a 23-point effort against Houston.
And just think: Vaughn won’t even turn 19 years old until Aug. 16. The 6-6 rookie has undeniable upside, to be sure.