Landale, Bolden and star power: 5 takeaways from NBA Vegas Summer League Day 2

Jul 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Jonah Bolden (43) looks to control a rebound during an NBA Summer League game against the Boston Celtics at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not just on the strip where the action never stops in Vegas, as Day 2 of 2018 NBA Summer League has come and gone. From the Aussie hoops perspective, three Australians saw action today in Day 2, namely Jock Landale (Atlanta Hawks), Emmett Naar (Phoenix Suns) and Jonah Bolden (Philadelphia 76ers).

Here are more thoughts on the Aussies’ play in Day 2.

1. Jock Landale’s rebounding can earn him an NBA contract

Questions surrounding Landale’s ability to withstand the freakishly athletic big men in the NBA, resulted in him slipping through the recent draft without getting snatched up.

In the face of those concerns, Landale continued his impressive Summer League run with the Atlanta Hawks, in Sunday’s matchup with the New York Knicks. It was on the glass that he was able to do his best work, reeling in nine rebounds in just 20 minutes.

Three of those nine rebounds came on the offensive glass – credit to the youthful big man for consistently putting his body in the right rebounding spots. There will always be a position for back up big men in the NBA that are willing to battle in the paint and on the boards. So far, Jock has made a good impression.

But, there’s more than just rebounding, if Lansdale is to truly punch that NBA ticket.

2. Landale needs to work on that 3-point shot

The issue with Landale as it stands right now, is his lack of explosiveness. He can finish if given time and space, but he lacks the raw power to get up and dunk on NBA-caliber athletes. This is where he will need to make his mark elsewhere, and demonstrate his ability to consistently extend his range to the 3-point line, if he is to be a solid NBA stretch five.

Landale’s only two points came on a wide open dunk, and he missed all three of his attempts from beyond the arc. He did connect on 30 percent of his triples in college, so he has the capability to be productive out there. Getting those numbers to translate and hopefully improve to the range of 35 percent will be crucial to his NBA future.

3. Jonah Bolden’s aggressive start

In speaking with The Pick and Roll at shootaround, before Philly squared off with the Lakers, Bolden talked about wanting to improve on his first up performance in Vegas.

“I’m going to do my best to try and better my performance from yesterday,” Bolden said. “That game is behind me, but it’s going to stick there to remind me I can do better.”

When pressed further, he pointed to being as aggressive as possible. True to his word, Bolden scored five quick points in the first quarter. Three of those points came on an and-1 effort, as he finished through contact from Lakers first round pick Mo Wagner.

Whilst struggling to find the range on his jump shot, attacking the basket will be the best way for Jonah to put points on the board while he works through a rough shooting patch.

4. Bolden has potential as a distributor

We often speak about players needing a point of difference to set them apart. For Bolden, the obvious trademark in his game is his ability to get up and down the floor and influence the contest with his elite athleticism for size.

However, early in Summer League play, Bolden is showing a nice ability to distribute the ball on offence, something that’s not always a common trait among big men.

In the first quarter of today’s game, he set up two wide-open looks from three that his teammates weren’t able to cash in on.

He then delivered this perfect pass to Isaiah Miles, who didn’t need to break stride on his way to the basket for an easy transition dunk. Don’t underestimate the difficulty of this pass, many guards struggle to execute this type of play without either over or under cooking the trajectory. Impressive stuff.

5. Las Vegas Summer League truly brings the basketball world together

Attending any given NBA game gives you the chance of possibly getting up close and personal with a star player or even a celebrity fan. But if you attend Summer League, you’ll find that the experience is taken to another level.

With the Las Vegas hosting all 30 NBA teams for the 2018 edition of Summer League, the fans have come out in force. Just walking the concourse between the Thomas and Mack Center and Cox Pavilion, gives you the idea of how far and wide the fans have come to see this event.

In one 30-second span today, I passed fans respectively sporting a Seattle Supersonics Gary Payton jersey, a Phoenix Suns Steve Nash jersey and then a New Jersey Nets Vince Carter jersey. Three surefire Hall of Famers, whose prime left us a long time ago.

That’s just the fans. As I was wandering around the Atlanta locker room, waiting for Jock Landale to emerge, Michael Porter Jr, Jarret Jackson Jr and DeAaron Fox were cracking jokes right next to me. Yesterday, I found myself standing between a Mark Cuban interview and someone who turned out to be none other than ‘The Logo’ himself, Jerry West.

The atmosphere is as fun and relaxed off the court as it is intense on the court. It’s an eyeopening experience being at Summer League, and one that I can’t recommend enough for basketball lovers down under.

What’s up next?

Day 3 of the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League will see five Aussies in action.

  • Mangok Mathiang and the Charlotte Hornets take on the Miami Heat – 7am (AEST)
  • Jock Landale will be back on court as the Atlanta Hawks meet the Portland Trail Blazers – 7:30am (AEST)
  • Mitch Creek and Duop Reath of the Dallas Mavericks will face the Milwaukee Bucks – 9:00am (AEST)
  • Deng Adel and the Houston Rockets will square off against the Golden State Warriors – 9:30am (AEST)

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